Forget Black Friday, Let’s Celebrate Cookie Friday! (Christmas Sugar Cookies)

In America, many people spend the day after Thanksgiving shopping. We call it Black Friday, and it is THE best day to stock up on Christmas gifts by hunting for the best bargains of the year. However, because we are a family who tends to avoid crowds at all costs, we began our own Black Friday tradition. Instead of Black Friday, we participate in Cookie Friday.IMG_7640

The day after we stuff our faces with turkey, we gather as many neighborhood kids as we can rustle up (a.k.a., my minions), and begin getting in the Christmas spirit by decorating sugar cookies. Not just any sugar cookies, mind you. The best sugar cookies you have ever tasted. Thick, chewy and soft. Topped with sweet icing and a lovingly painted design. Well, I do have kids painting these delectable morsels, so I will admit, not every design is lovingly painted. Having as many boys as I do in the house, I should have realized cookies in the shapes of people were bound to get creatively turned into something…ahem…inappropriate. The first year of Cookie Friday led the way to a new tradition quickly adopted by every male participant. The bikini. Not exactly Christmassy, but they sure do get points for creativity.IMG_1986

The yearly gathering for Cookie Friday happened in our home every year for 12 years. None of my immediate family members were allowed to even whisper the word “shopping” until nearly every cookie was decorated. It became a very special tradition not only for us but for our kid’s friends as well. Come to think of it; perhaps I was acting as a babysitter so that other parents could go shopping. Hmmm…maybe I planned that all wrong. That being said, Those 12 years were very special. We welcomed old and new friends, and slowly watched them grow up. But through it all, no matter how old the neighborhood kids got, they always came together on Cookie Friday to usher in the Christmas holiday together.

Since we have moved to Shanghai, Cookie Friday has been put on hold. It is too difficult to execute here. But I’ll be honest, although it was a lot of work (I baked hundreds of cookies, hence the need for my minions), it is one of the things I miss the most about being home.IMG_5111

I hope this recipe makes its way into your family traditions. It is a family recipe that has been passed down through generations. Gather around, call all the kids, put on some Christmas carols, and enjoy making memories of your own. And, if a bikini-clad sugar person makes its way into your traditional Christmas Sugar Cookies, consider yourself all the luckier. 😉


Christmas Sugar Cookies


3/4 C butter
1 C sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt


Mix butter, sugar, eggs, & vanilla. Blend in flour, baking powder, & salt. Chill at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Roll dough 1/2” thick. Cut with festive cookie cutters and place on ungreased baking sheet.


400 degrees for 5 minutes.
Make sure the cookies are only slightly browned on the bottom. They taste better when they are thick and chewy.


2 C confectioners sugar
2 egg whites

Beat to spreadable consistency. Separate into small bowls. Add food coloring. Paint cookies with frosting. Get creative. Top with sprinkles and a big heaping of love.


Fall Favorite Apple Crisp

Every year the fall season arrives with a healthy dose of nostalgia and delicious things to eat.

IMG_0716_0038I will admit I go completely pumpkin and apple crazy this time of year. I just can’t get enough! Pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice lattes, applesauce, apple cider. You name it if it includes either of these two ingredients I am all in. Add some cinnamon and you have me sold in an instant. Yes, I am a sucker for anything fall-ish, especially if it involves food. Ok, if you know me at all, you may argue that I am a sucker for anything that involves food any time of year, and you are correct. But throw together some pumpkin, cinnamon, and sugar and I am in love.IMG_1819

IMG_1972Perhaps one of the reasons fall holds such a dear place in my heart is due to the family traditions we have established over the years. Since we have moved to Shanghai many of these traditions are not possible to continue and I miss them dearly. But I suppose it would be challenging to find an apple orchard or pumpkin patch tucked amongst the buildings of this massive metropolis.

Family trips to an apple orchard were always my favorite. We would pile in the car and drive waaay out to find the perfect orchard. One such orchard continues to hold a dear place in my heart. Clearview Farm in Sterling, Massachusettes. You can’t get any more picture perfect than this little farm. Set down a country road on the outskirts of a lovely little New England town this farm sells apples, pumpkins, and produce. The owner, Diane Melone, is a descendant of Mary from the popular children’s rhyme “Mary had a Little Lamb”. Yes, Mary was a real person, and her lamb did actually follow her to school! Honestly, I can’t make this stuff up. Every year we would drive through a rainbow cacophony of trees, over hill and dale until we arrived at Clearview. Once on the farm, we would grab a wagon and make memories picking apples, enjoying the weather, and loving the precious simple time spent together.

A typical view on the way to Clearview Farm.

When we picked all the apples we could possibly carry, we would pile back in the car and take them home. Once there, I would look at them wondering why in the world we had picked so many, and even more importantly, what the heck was I going to do with all of them?IMG_3485

One year my daughter’s preschool class went on a field trip to, you guessed it, an apple orchard. When they returned they made apple crisp. Her sweet teachers sent home the recipe and it instantly became a yearly favorite in our house. Yes, 20 years later I am still making the same recipe with a few tweaks here and there. It is delicious, super easy, and one that I hope will make its way into your fall family traditions as well as help you use up some of those apples you picked on your family trip to your favorite orchard.

Fall Favorite Apple Crisp

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings (if you’re lucky)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. CombineIMG_5091

  • 3 cups apples, sliced thin
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. water
    Pour into an un-greased pan

3. Prepare ToppingIMG_5104

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
    Combine. Sprinkle on top of apple mixture.

4. Bake

30-45 minutes or until browned and bubblyIMG_1474

We like to eat our apple crisp warm with a healthy scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm!

For more fall tips, please click this link: Fall in Love With Fall. An American’s how-to guide for making the season a success.

I would love to hear if you make this recipe, and let me know some of your fall favorites as well. After all, one can never have too many ways to cook apples and pumpkins!