Holiday Traditions: Cookie Day

Our annual cookie day was this past weekend. My family has been getting together the Saturday after Thanksgiving for over forty years.

Each year, we spend more and more time catching up, eating and drinking wine, and less time baking. It’s great fun! I love the camaraderie, in spite of all the strong personalities, viewpoints and lifestyles coming together.


jam thumbprints

dipped pretzels

mint bars


chocolate mint surprise

peanut butter bonbons

rolo inside

sugar cookie cutouts

kung fu cookies

pecan cookies


triple chocolate chunk

candy bar spritz

pretzel kisses

Usually a different person each year volunteers to host Cookie Day, someone who has enough kitchen space and countertops for us to spread out, someone who is willing to let us take over and make mess.ingredients

The rule for the little kids is you can eat up to 100 cookies! One year, someone tried… and got sick. ~hehehehehe~christmas subway art

The ladies (and little kids) usually have soup for lunch while the guys go to a bar. At the end of the day, we take turns filling our tins with cookies to take home and enjoy throughout the rest of the holiday season.

Do you have any holiday traditions in your family or extended family?


From My Kitchen: Monster Cookies

I love having fresh-baked cookies in the house, more so than any other dessert. I don’t know where I got this recipe for Monster Cookies, but it makes what I think is the perfect cookie, soft and chewy.

Monster Cookies

1 package chocolate chip cookie mix

1 package peanut butter cookie mix

1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats (I use Quaker oats)

1 cup butter, softened

3 eggs

2 cups MnMs

Stir all ingredients but the MnMs until a dough forms. Stir in the MnMs.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-13 minutes on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Cool for two minutes on the cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling rack.

This recipe makes so many cookies, it filled up three containers!

I know that sounds great, but for a household of two people, that is a boat-load of cookies to eat. I will probably have my husband take some to work to share with his coworkers. Er, maybe, I’ll just put some in the freezer for a later day.

From My Kitchen: Bars and Cake

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone for all the love on the release of my new sewing patterns! It feels good to have my first pattern out there, so stay tuned as I feverishly finish many more in the works that I can’t wait to share with you.


I am starting a new column here on my blog to share with you things I’ve baked or cooked lately that we loved, since I really love to bake and cook, or recipes I’ve found that I want to try.

I made Raspberry Oatmeal Bars recently. They remind me of apple crisp, one of my favorite desserts. I might add that they are also good for breakfast!

I followed Amanda’s recipe, which can also be found at I was happy to be able to use homemade raspberry jam I froze last year after an abundant raspberry crop in our backyard.

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 8 inch square pan, and line with greased foil.

Combine brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and rolled oats. Rub in the butter using your hands or a pastry blender to form a crumbly mixture. Press 2 cups of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread the jam to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, and lightly press it into the jam.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.


I think the highlight of our baking endeavors was the confetti cake we made in our giant donut cake pans on Saturday night. I say we because we made it together: I baked the cake and Dave frosted it. He likes to do that part.

It was a last-minute, spontaneous decision, so we used a box mix.

A small piece was just perfect after our nightly walk under the stars.

Have you baked anything delicious and decadent lately? Thanks for stopping by!

Neapolitan Cake

I have always loved Neapolitan Ice Cream, but I hardly ever have it. So I thought it would be fun to try making Neapolitan Cake.

Here is the recipe I used, from Betty Crocker:

1 box of Betty Crocker Super Moist White Cake

1 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

10 drops Red food color

1/4 cup chocolate-flavored syrup

Chocolate Frosting (I don’t like making frosting, so I usually buy a tub from the grocery store.)

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Grease and lightly flour 12-cup fluted tube cake pan, or spray with baking spray with flour. (I couldn’t find my bundt pan so I used my Giant Donut Cake pans, which are basically two small bundt pans.)

2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and egg whites with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour about 1-2/3 cups batter into pan. (Since I used two pans, I split up this amount into each pan.)

3. Into small bowl, pour 1 1/3 cups batter; stir in almond extract and food color. Carefully pour half pink batter over white batter in each pan. Stir chocolate syrup into remaining batter. Carefully pour half chocolate batter over pink batter in each pan.

4. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted 1 1/2 inches from side of cake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn pans upside down onto cooling rack or heatproof serving plate; remove pans. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

5. In microwavable bowl, microwave frosting uncovered on High about 15 seconds or until frosting can be stirred smooth and is thin enough to drizzle. Spread over top of cake, allowing some to drizzle down side. Since I used two pans, I did a layer of frosting in between the two cakes and just spread the frosting over the two layers.

This cake turned out so delicious that we devoured it!

For my next baking experiment, I might try making these Neapolitan Bars, which call for devil’s food cake, white or vanilla cake, and strawberry cake. It’s fun to experiment like this, especially when things turn out so good. (I don’t show you the flops because what fun would that be.)

Today, I’m Making…

… Homemade Granola, using this recipe, as usual. For this batch, I threw in some additional ingredients, including flax seed, wheat germ, brown sugar, dried apricots and dried cranberries, making it more filling and quite tasty.

… Homemade Caramels, using this recipe. This was my first try making caramels, so we’ll see how they turn out.

It’s been fun to try some experiments on a Friday afternoon!

Just Call Me Cookie Monster

We already ran out of cookies from our family Cookie Day, so I had to make more.

First, I made these chocolate crinkle cookies, which are mouth-watering. They are exactly the way Nichole described them, crunchy on the outside and like a brownie on the inside.

Next, I made sugar cookies because they are Dave’s favorite. They are my least favorite holiday cookie, so to be totally honest with you, I didn’t feel like doing cut-outs!

Finally, I made a batch of my favorite cookies – gingerbread people. Notice, I took the time to make these into cut-outs – LOL!

There were some characters in the pan, like the one on the left below, whose eye fell out, but luckily he caught it. Must have had too many cocktails at the holiday party. Or the one on the right below with the hairy chest, winking at you!

Then, our neighbors showed up with their annual Christmas box full of layers of the most adorable and beautifully decorated cut-out cookies!

As you can tell, we LOVE cookies in our house. I hope these last a little longer than the previous cookie stash!

Cookie Day

Every year since I can remember, my family has gotten together to celebrate Christmas with our annual Cookie Day. UPDATE: I added the recipes to my Favorite Recipes tab above.

(Chunky Triple Chocolate Cookies)

We pick a day around Thanksgiving when we all get together, cousins, aunts and uncles, for a marathon of cookie baking. Well, okay, the guys go out for lunch and watch a lot of football. But some of them help with the baking and decorating. It has been a great tradition for all these years.

(English Toffee)

One year we made over 20 different varieties! Our recipe book has grown into a 3-ring binder. This year, I think the family made 12 different varieties.

(Peanut Butter Blossoms)

When I was a kid, my mom used to keep the cookies in the freezer so we wouldn’t eat all of them before Christmas arrived. We snuck them out of the freezer anyway! Imagine her surprise when she wanted to set out a plate of cookies for a party. (seriously, I’m sure she knew about our shenanigans all along!)

(Chocolate Mint Sandwiches – recipe pending)

I think I might have a couple left, but they are definitely not going to last until Christmas!

A Productive Saturday

I love productive Saturdays. Of course, it helps me stay focused when it’s cloudy and rainy outside.

While Dave raked leaves, I painted a few extras sets of checkers for some new checkerboard sets in my shop. I sold a few sets last year during the holiday season, so I wanted to restock for my upcoming craft show and the gift-giving season.

I like to mix up the king side with crown stamps for some sets and leaf stamps for other sets, which go along with my Patchwork Trails brand.

Then I was feeling motivated to make a batch of pumpkin cookies, the melt-in-your-mouth kind!

EDIT: here is the recipe for the pumpkin cookies, if you’re interested:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 can pumpkin

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Vanilla baking chips (as many as you want)

Milk chocolate baking chips (I used minis)

1 container cream cheese frosting

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease baking sheets.

2. Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin and eggs; beat until smooth.

3. Add flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until well blended.

4. Stir in baking chips.

5. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

6. Bake for 12-16 minutes. Cool for one minute on cookie sheet, then remove to cooling racks.

7. Spread frosting on warm cookies.

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To keep all that domestic momentum going, we enjoyed chicken pot pie for dinner.

We started with a recipe from the Midwest Living magazine, December issue, which called for puff pastry sheets on the top but we also added a layer of pie crust to the bottom. It was divine!

EDIT: here’s the Pot Pie recipe, if you’re interested:

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

3 cups cooked, diced chicken or turkey

3 cups frozen mixed vegetables

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons herbs (parsley, thyme and/or oregano)

1/2 package of Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheet (1 sheet), thawed

1 pie crust

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Whisk egg and water in small bowl.

3. Heat butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and broth, stirring until mixture thickens. Add chicken and vegetables. Pour into pie crust.

4. Unfold pastry sheet and place over filling. Press pastry to rim to seal. Brush pastry with egg mixture and sprinkle with herbs.

5. Bake for 25 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.

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I’m off to my sewing room now to play. Hope you had a productive day too!