Mime’s Sand Tart Recipe: My Family’s Christmas Tradition

Decorated Sand Tarts in Christmas Tins

Decorated Sand Tarts in Christmas Tins

Part of what makes the holidays special are the family traditions, things you look forward to all year long. Many families enjoy making Christmas cookies and have a cherished cookie recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. Every year, my family makes sand tarts—thin and crispy butter cookies decorated with colored sugar or cinnamon-sugar. These festive cookies are always a hit and never last long.

My great-great grandmother, who everyone called Mime, would begin making sand tarts right after Thanksgiving. Making sand tarts is a labor of love, especially when making a large batch of cookies to share with family and friends. You have to roll out very thin sheets of dough to cut the cookies. You need the dough just soft enough to roll it, but still hard enough to get it to the necessary thinness. This takes time and is quite the arm workout after a while, but the results are worth the effort. read more

A Danish Christmas Eve

Roast Pork with Crackling and Brown Potatoes

Roast Pork with Crackling (Flæskesteg) and Brown Potatoes (Brunede Kartofler)

This year Corey and I experienced a traditional Danish Christmas Eve. It was a special occasion, full of merriment and cheer, and we enjoyed hearing about Danish myths and traditions and participating in the festivities.

Nisse Folklore

Nisse in Barn with Animals and Gifts

Nisse in Barn with Animals and Gifts

One noticeable decorative difference was the numerous Nisse—gnome-like spirits who dwell in barns, helping the farm on which they live. But they can be mischievous too: if they feel mistreated or don’t get what they want, they may cause trouble. read more


Glühwein, German mulled wine, German spiced wine

Glühwein (glow wine) is a German hot spiced wine, typically served during the winter months and is especially popular around Christmas time. Corey and I were first introduced to Glühwein this December when we went to the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago. The Chriskindlmarket offers a variety of tradional German fare, such as currywurst, sauerbraten, schnitzel, bavarian pretzels, sauerkraut, and variety of German beers.

Glühwein, Christkindlmarket Mug

The signature drink at the Christkindlmarket has to be the Glühwein, which is served in a cute boot-shaped mug. When we first entered the market almost everyone of drinking age, was holding a mug of Glühwein and I knew if I didn’t try anything else I would have to try the German mulled wine. Glühwein will warm the body and the citrus and spices add a pleasant touch to ordinary red wine. It is the perfect drink on a cold, winter night. read more

Colored Dough Decorative Cookies

Colored Dough Decorative Cookies, Christmas cookies

I love Christmas and I love all the delicious sweets that surround the holiday. Hot cocoa, apple cider, sugar cookies, eggnog, gingerbread men, candy canes, sandtarts, etc. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is making Christmas cookies. This year I learned a revolutionary technique, at least revolutionary for me! Instead of using icing or sprinkles to decorate your cookies, create decorative patterns using colored dough. Such a marvelous concept. It takes you back to your playdough days, where you roll out snakes and balls. For once, you can encourage your kids to play with their food! Take this simple recipe for dough and let your imagination go wild. This recipe can apply to all holidays and themes, just change the cookie cutter shapes and dye the dough whatever color you want. Voilà! Instant hit. read more