Tag Archives: Bristol

Bristol Family Sugar Cookie Recipe

Bristol Sugar Cookies with Hashtag Cookie Cutter from Maiden South | Oysters & Pearls

I’ve been saving this recipe for a while.  This recipe has been handed down through my dad’s family for a long, long time.  It’s very old fashioned, and seriously awesome.  My dad used to make these exact sugar cookies with my sister and me every single Christmas growing up.  Since I’ve been out on my own, I’ve been making them every Christmas, too.  They’re the perfect consistency for cookie cutters, and the dough is the best tasting sugar cookie dough around.  They earn RAVE reviews every time I make these cookies, so I figure it’s about time I share the recipe here.

I baked these hashtag cookies for our Meet the Maker event with the Sturdy Brothers at Maiden South a couple of weeks ago.  You can find that cookie cutter, along with lots more, at the shop. :)

#maidensouth #eatallthecookies

Bristol Family Drop Sugar Cookies | Oysters & Pearls

I would also like to add that I adore the name Winnie.

Bristol Family Sugar Cookie Recipe
by Oysters & Pearls


Have all ingredients at room temperature.

– 2.5 cups all purpose flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 3/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter
– 1/2 cup shortening (I use Crisco)
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 large egg.
– 2 tablespoons whole milk.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sift or whisk together the first three ingredients and set aside.

Cream together butter, shortening, sugar, and vanilla.  Once incorporated, add the egg.  Cream until fluffy.  Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet.  Add the milk by the tablespoon and continue to mix until fully incorporated.

You can either drop by the teaspoon on a baking sheet, or roll out onto a floured surface and use cookie cutters.  Add sprinkles or bake without.  My favorite way to make them is to roll teaspoon sized balls in your hands and then roll in sugar or sprinkles, flatten on the baking sheet and bake.

Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes, adjusting the time as necessary depending on how thin you rolled out your dough.


Bristol Sugar Cookies with Hashtag Cookie Cutter from Maiden South | Oysters & Pearls

Until Next Time

BBQ, Catfish, and Grapes

If I named all my post titles after all the literal things I did, it would make for really random posts. This one is a great example of that. I am trying to get back into the habit of my little Monday life/weekend updates. I apologize if some of the Instagram pictures are a bit redundant for some folks!

Saturday I volunteered for our Humane Society at the Smoke Under the Oaks BBQ Festival. It was hot, but the BBQ was delicious and we hopefully raised some dollars for an excellent couple of causes.

Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society Fundraiser | Oysters & Pearls
This year they had a “People’s Choice Award,” where you could buy a plate that held a little scoop of every competitor’s pulled pork. It was pretty awesome.

Smoke Under The Oaks BBQ Festival People's Choice Award Plate | Oysters & Pearls

After my shift was up, we loaded up the dogs and headed to Bristol. After a gnarly storm passed over, we hit the river for a little fishing.

Baby Catfish on the Apalachicola River | Oysters & Pearls

Small Catfish on the Apalachicola River | Oysters & Pearls

Apalachicola River | Oysters & Pearls

Apalachicola River, Just South of Bristol, Florida | Oysters & Pearls
Just caught a few of these little guys! Enough for a catfish dinner though.
Sunday was very low key. Wheat and my dad went fishing again, and I picked the first shirt-full of grapes of the season!

Shirt Full of Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls

Muscadine Grapes | Oysters & Pearls
It wasn’t the most exciting (or productive, which about killed me) weekend, but it was a good one!


Southern Makers: Tupelo Honey from Deep South Honey

In case y’all haven’t gotten enough of bees this week (I never will), I thought I would share some thoughts on the pride of the Florida Panhandle and my home town: Tupelo Honey.

The Keeping of Bees  Oysters & Pearls.jpg

I have a bit of sad news.  The tupelo honey harvest was less than stellar this year.  The water rose too high and beekeepers couldn’t get their hives close enough to the tupelo blooms.  On top of the that, between the polar vortex and a late, paltry bloom, the tupelo trees didn’t really fulfill their end of the bargain, either.  I had big plans to share the details on my friend’s honey business, but alas, he doesn’t have enough to sell directly to my readers.  However, I decided it was worth sharing the pictures anyway, because I hail from the land of Tupelo and it’s an important industry in my hometown of Bristol, Florida and the surrounding areas along the Apalachicola River.  So with that introduction, meet my buddy Andrew Finch of Deep South Honey.


Andrew Finch, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

I grew up with Andrew Finch.  A Chattahoochee native, Andrew has been keeping bees for a few years.  Constantly striving to grow his hives and his business, he has upwards of sixty hives now.  He is passionate about his bees and tupelo honey, and he has become a great resource for a novice such as myself.  He has learned from some of the Wewa beekeeping giants, but he says he learns something new every day.

 Snow on the Frame - Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

“Snow on the frames!”

That’s what Finch (as we grew up calling him) said as soon as he cracked open the first hive on the day I visited him in one of his bee yards.

That snow-white wax is a sure sign of tupelo blooming.

Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls Honey Bee, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls


I know I talk about tupelo honey a lot, and for good reason.  I mentioned it’s a huge industry in my hometown of Bristol, Florida, along with Hosford, Wewahitchka (aka Wewa) and many other places along the Apalachicola River.  In fact, it’s about the only industry besides timber.  But it’s an industry because of its special qualities.  Tupelo honey tastes amazing.  It’s delicate and light in color and flavor.  And that flavor?  It’s unmistakable.  It’s the only honey that won’t granulate (aka crystallize).  It’s the perfect table honey.  Obviously, I’m biased because I was raised on it, but lots of other people think so, too.  Ever seen the movie Ulee’s Gold?

It was filmed from Hosford to Wewa, with real local beekeepers as stunt doubles for Peter Fonda, and it made our sweet Tupelo Honey pretty famous.

Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls Honey Bees, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls Honey Bees Making Tupelo Honey; Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls


I’ve been asked before if Tupelo Honey comes from Tupelo, Mississippi.  Most people don’t know what makes Tupelo… well, Tupelo.  Honey is named for the nectar source the bees were feeding on when they made the honey.  Hence Orange Blossom Honey in Central and South Florida, or Wildflower Honey on the Plains, or Pumpkin Honey, or Avocado Honey, or Blueberry Honey, or any one of the many, many varietals of honey.  To get pure varietals of honey, beekeepers must put their bees at the nectar flow just as the species begins to bloom and then remove them just as quickly.

Snow on the Frame, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

Tupelo Honey comes from the White Ogeechee Tupelo Tree (nyssa ogeche), which was imported from China many moons ago, and thrives in the river swamps of the Florida Panhandle.

Tupelo Tree, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls  Tupelo Tree, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

Those little poof balls turn into barely visible white fluff, which may see a little anti-climatic to you and me, but not to the bees.  If you venture out into the swamp when the tupelo is in full bloom, you’ll hear what beekeepers call the “tupelo roar.”  Literally all you can hear around you is the buzzing and humming of millions of honey bees.  Tupelo Trees produce an extremely high nectar flow, and the bees will focus all their energy on this single source of nectar until the bloom is over.  Once it is, the beekeepers must pull the frames or move the bees, lest their precious Tupelo gets tainted with any other source of nectar.
Tupelo Blooms, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

Tupelo Tree, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

It’s pretty amazing how much honey these bees can make while the Tupelo is blooming, and if conditions are right, they’ll make a whole lot of it.

Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls Honey Bees, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

 Tupelo Tree, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls


I know that everyone is partial to certain types of honey, but I thought I would explain a bit of my love affair with Tupelo.  Keep an eye on Deep South Honey – Finch will update the site if he can sell any directly to you, and has plans to grow his business.  Otherwise, I thought I would include some Tupelo Honey Resources for your browsing pleasure, whether you’re a beekeeper or just a honey-enthusiast.

Honeyville, Deep South Honey | Oysters & Pearls

Deep South Honey

Deep South Honey on Instagram

Tupelo Honey Festival in Wewahitchka, Florida

Tupelo Beekeepers Association

Robbing the Bees: A Biography of Honey–The Sweet Liquid Gold that Seduced the World

The Bee House – Beekeeping Supplies

Smiley Honey

L.L. Lanier & Sons Tupelo Honey

 Until Next Time