Thank you all SO much for all your warm support yesterday! And hello to all you newbies that just found CC through the feature- I’m thrilled to have you!

As promised, today I want to take you guys behind the scenes of the cookie swap with Ina. In between shots with the photographer (the esteemed Quentin Bacon), we were pretty much given free rein of the barn space. The space is stunning and feels like you’re living within a Restoration Hardware catalogue, but about a million times better. I went to town snapping shots of her kitchen and pantry!

The kitchen space is her own test kitchen- not just a set. The pantry is filled with actual items and equipment she uses everyday. The fridge has all her homemade stocks and ingredients she actually cooks with. It’s all real! I totally snooped.

The kitchen itself is amazing. She’s got the most beautiful gas range I’ve ever scene, and each side of the stove is flanked with matching refridgerators, Cuisinarts, and Kitchen Aid Mixers. A dream! The ceilings are quite high and with an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows, the entire space is bathed in light.

We also got to explore her beautifully manicured gardens. I couldn’t get over the amount of lavender! From here we caught a glimpse of her actual house and more of the rolling landscape. It’s crazy to think back to all those afternoons growing up, sitting on the couch doing my homework, and staring at this house in the credits of her show. And to now be viewing face to face- what!?!?

The day was best summed up when Joy kept repeating, “Yep this is real. This is happening. No big deal- typical Thursday.” I really did have to keep pinching myself throughout the whole thing to remind myself this was actually happening. Then there was the point at which I used her bathroom- that made things feel pretty darn real.

Lastly, here is the recipe for the ginger cookies (you can get all the cookie recipes online here). This is a great dough to make ahead and then freeze into logs during the holidays. Then when you’re ready to bake the cookies, just pull the dough out 10 or so minutes early to let it soften before slicing and baking.

Apple Cider Ginger Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup apple butter
  • 1 large egg
  • red sanding sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and dried ginger. Set aside.

Place butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg, vanilla extract and apple butter, and beat on medium speed until just combined.

Add the dry ingredients, to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat on low speed until the dough begins to come together and the flour disappears. Stop the mixer and finish incorporating the ingredients with a spatula. Once all the flour is thoroughly mixed in, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (or up to overnight).

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough into your hand, roll into a ball, then roll the ball around in granulated sugar to coat. If you like thicker cookies, place the ball of dough directly on the baking sheet. If you like thinner, but still chewy, cookies, flatten the balls into a small disc in your hand. Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes, just until lightly browned around the edges. Cool on the pan for 7 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  1. Meredith

    What a fantastic day!

  2. Linda Delaney

    WOWSA! Just reading yesterday and today’s posts. Have did you ever keep this secret??? This is HUGE!!! So v.v.v. happy for you and super proud too. BTW, your solo picture w/ her is precious. Truly a keeper. I too have often wondered what it would be like to be in her kitchen/lawns/home, etc. And to think she actually ate a cookie YOU made. Totally mind blowing!!! Congratulations!

  3. Wow, so excticing!!! I’m so happy for you! This must have been an amazing afternoon, with not only Ina, but all the other fantastic ladies that attended! I would have been starstruck!

    PS your cookies sound delicious and I can’t wait to try them : )

    Danielle xo

  4. This is so totally amazing! It must have been so hard to keep under wraps for so long. What fun photos, and your cookies sound amazing!

    P.S. I just LOVE Ina Garten, too. Love, love, love.

  5. I’m just getting around to reading about your time with Ina and I’m so jealous!! 😀 She sounds like the most fabulous person and that’s so amazing you had the chance to hang out with her! Awesome cookie recipe too, I’m so going to try these while I’m on holiday!

  6. I’m so jealous! I love Ina! When I host holidays at my house, I ALWAYS make her recipes and my family is so impressed with what I make and I’m always impressed with how easy and impressive her recipes are.

    I can’t wait to try these cookie recipes!

  7. Congrats! How did you set up the meeting with her? Did someone you know, know her already? Thanks for posting your blog. It is inspiring for me.

  8. Wow. WOW. What an experience! I absolutely love Ina Garten’s house and especially her kitchen… a dream home! It must have been such a thrill to be there and meet her!

  9. Jessica

    Love seeing the cookie exchange on Joy’s site, which brought my friends and I to you. We just made your cookies today for our holiday baking afternoon. They are AMAZING. But, we’re wondering how you kept yours from completely flattening out (we did not flatten them before baking)? I’m guessing the problem is that we rolled all the dough and it got too warm. Do you usually try to keep the dough chilled until you’re ready to put them in the oven?

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