Have you heard of Instacart? It is a grocery delivery service in select areas around the country and it is surely growing in popularity with each delivery its personal shoppers make. Whole Foods offered me the opportunity to give the online grocery shopping a try and I could not be more impressed! The Instacart website is easy to use: you can shop by department or search specifically for an item by name. Photos of the items are included so you know exactly what you are ordering. Shopping by department let me feel as though I was walking through the aisles on my usual shopping trip (but without the joy of my son asking me to buy extra cookies and treats every two minutes). You might wonder if the entire grocery store’s offerings are included online. Well, no, not quite, but that doesn’t mean you can’t purchase your specialty item online. There is a section where you describe the item you want to buy– include the brand, a description, even a photo of the empty container sitting in your kitchen and your Instacart shopper will call you to let you know your options. Delivery costs $5.99 for one hour delivery, $3.99 for two hour delivery and is free with purchases over $35. Check out Instacart’s FAQ page here for more information.
After my first successful Instacart order I decided to look at the prices more closely– was a paying a lot more for products to be delivered from Whole Foods rather than shopping there myself? I compared my order which had about 15 items– mostly supplies to make these beautiful cut out sugar cookies– and I went through the aisles looking for each item. Every single item was the same price on my Instacart order as it was in the store. (FYI- Instacart does not guarantee this– they have their own pricing for items on sale via their website.) There were even a few items that were on sale in the store and I was given that lower price on my order. Incredible! Yes, you are going to have an extra expense of the tip for your shopper when they deliver your order but guess what– it is SO worth it. Will I use this service exclusively? No, I just can’t give up the pleasure of wandering the aisles aimlessly now and then looking for ingredients and getting inspired by the bakery section, the fresh fruits and vegetables, and the overall Whole Foods feeling, but it is a service I will use again.
These cut out cookies are made with a Whole Foods recipe provided by Chef Elyse at the newly opened Bradburn Whole Foods. She gave a wonderful demonstration on cookie decorating and I can’t wait to share more of her tips here. The first bit of her cookie-decorating wisdom I put into action in my own kitchen was her suggestion of icing cookies with royal icing then dipping them into sparkling sugar (or sprinkles if you can’t find sparkling sugar). This is a quick way to dress up cookies without worrying about a pastry bag. Fast, easy and pretty– perfect! I used her technique to make these cut out cookies in three shapes– snowflakes, circles and stars.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- flour, for rolling out the dough
- In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk gently. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and milk, continue to beat until thoroughly combined.
- On low speed add the flour and mix until just barely incorporated.
- Divide the dough into two flatted circles; place in a zip loc bag and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Lightly flour your surface before rolling out the dough to 1/4 inch thick.
- Use cookie cutters to make shapes. Re-roll dough as needed.
- Bake on parchment lined sheets for 9-10 minutes or until edges barely brown.
- Cool on wire racks.
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This post is sponsored by Whole Foods. I participate in the Whole Foods Brand Ambassador program. All opinions are my own. Products from Whole Foods were provided to me free of charge but no monetary compensation was given.