The holidays and food are closely intertwined. From a Christmas ham to a Bûche de Noël to latkes and brisket, the sights and smells of our favorite holiday food can conjure up many happy memories. To celebrate this (and, okay, as an excuse to talk about food), we thought it’d be fun to share our favorite recipes from the holiday season. Whatever food you cook this time of year, happy holidays from DLG! – Joseph
Ashley – Christmas Cookies
Growing up, the Christmas season was always a joyous time of year for my family. From the first Christmas I can remember, my sisters and I were fanatics about ensuring we left out frosted cookies cut in Christmas-themed shapes and hot chocolate for Santa, and a carrot for Rudolph. Every year our mom baked these cookies, with our “help” using cookie cutters to shape the dough prior to baking, and frosting and decorating the cookies once baked. To our delight, every Christmas morning we awoke to only cookie crumbs and a gnawed-on carrot stub where we had left our goodies out the night before. To this day, these homemade frosting cookies evoke happy childhood memories for me—I hope they bring you some holiday cheer as well!
- 2/3 cup soft shortening (1 stick + 2 2/3 tablespoons);
- 1 ½ cups sugar;
- 2 eggs;
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract;
- 3 ½ cups flour, sifted;
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder;
- ½ teaspoon salt;
- 4 teaspoons milk.
- Preheat oven to 400°F;
- Cream first 4 ingredients until light & fluffy;
- Sift next 3 ingredients in a separate bowl;
- Add to creamed mixture, alternating milk with sifted mixture (begin and end with sifted mixture);
- Mix well;
- Chill at least 1 hour;
- Remove ½ dough;
- Roll to 1/8” or 1/4" thickness on floured wax paper;
- Cut out and lightly place on greased pan;
- Cook 8 minutes until edges are lightly browned.
- ½ cup softened shortening;
- 4 cups confectioner’s sugar;
- 3-4 tablespoons milk.
- Cream together shortening and sugar;
- Gradually add milk until right consistency.
Elizabeth - Potato Latkes (the boxed kind!)
Growing up, my parents used to prepare potato latkes (aka potato pancakes) for me and my brother. Being busy working parents they went with the boxed kind from companies such as Manischewitz. I loved the greasy crusty outside in contrast with the warm creamy potato inside. One year my mother tried to get sophisticated with the recipe and made the latkes from scratch. She spent hours shredding the potatoes and onions that formed the fried pancakes. When served these latkes, my brother and I complained. “We want the boxed kind,” we ungratefully protested. I’m embarrassed to remember how we whined but admittedly, to this day, I still prefer the boxed kind.
- 1 box of latke mix;
- 2 eggs;
- 1 cup of water.
- Mix all ingredients together;
- Form balls of batter;
- Fry in vegetable oil until crispy;
- Eat and enjoy with sour cream or applesauce.
Joseph – Sticky Buns
The only consistent food item we have every Christmas—for as long as I can remember—is sticky buns on Christmas morning. Even though my mom doesn’t eat these anymore since she avoids wheat, gluten, and sugar (those are the core ingredients), she very generously makes them for people who can eat them—and there’s usually a long line. There’s nothing quite like waking up Christmas morning knowing that there are presents for you under the tree and a sticky bun (sometimes two, depending on how many people are home for the holiday). Pro tip: these are delicious reheated. Just cut them in half, put a slab of butter on them, and microwave for twenty seconds. Then have a glass of whiskey and sit back and let the sugary goodness wash over you.
- 3/4 cup milk, scalded;
- 1/4 cup honey;
- 1 teaspoon salt;
- 1/4 cup softened butter;
- 2 packages active dry yeast (whole wheat “friendly”);
- 1/2 cup warm water;
- 1 egg, beaten;
- Mix together:
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour;
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour.
- In a large bowl, combine milk, honey, salt, and butter. Stir until butter is melted;
- Dissolve yeast in warm water;
- Add egg and yeast to milk mixture;
- Add 2 cups of flour mixture. Stir, then blend in remaining flour. Cover, let rise (about 30 minutes).
- 3/4 cup butter;
- 1 cup brown sugar;
- 1 tablespoon white sugar;
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon;
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup;
- 1 tablespoon hot water;
- Nuts and/or raisins optional.
- Combine in all topping ingredients in saucepan and melt over stove. Stir until totally blended;
- Pour into 13” x 9” pan;
- Stir down dough ingredients. Spoon over topping ingredients in the 13” x 9” pan, making twelve buns/portions;
- Let rise until double (about 30 minutes);
- Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown;
- Let cool 1 minute;
- Invert pan onto foil-covered board or cookie sheet;
- Try to share.
Matthew – Pumpkin Pie
I love pumpkin pie. Each year around this time, when I first spot one in the grocery store, I'm reminded the holidays are here again. I have recently developed a favorite recipe, which I prepare for family gatherings, and it's always a big hit. I earn extra points for effort! It’s Ginger Pumpkin Pie! It involves some cheating (to save time!) and some original thought (extra flavors!) This pie will be the envy of all other pumpkin pies in the room, for sure.
- One 15 oz. can of Farmer's Market organic pumpkin pie mix (this mix contains mashed pumpkin and cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon already mixed in);
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk;
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten;
- 1 9" graham cracker pie shell;
- Fresh ginger root;
- Cinnamon sticks;
- Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees;
- In a large bowl, slowly whisk together the pumpkin pie mix, evaporated milk, and eggs.
- Slice off a generous chunk of fresh ginger, and carefully peel the skin off using a knife. Then, grate the heck out of that ginger;
- Next, grate 1 teaspoon of cinnamon sticks;
- Next, using a mortar and pestle, pulverize a teaspoon of cloves until it becomes a powder. (You can remove the stems first to make this easier!);
- Then, add the fresh grated ginger, grated cinnamon, and pulverized cloves to your pumpkin mixture;
- Place your piecrust on a baking sheet and then carefully pour your pie mixture into the shell. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 for an additional 35 minutes;
- Cool the pie on a nearby windowsill (like the good ol' days!) and enjoy!
Protima - Chestnuts
I am not a cook so I cannot honestly provide a recipe I created; however, I can follow the recipes of others…
Chestnuts represent the holidays to me in all their varied forms: roasting on an open fire like the song is the simplest and easiest way to enjoy them…and the aroma…oh my goodness! I also enjoy a good chestnut soup. But my favorite has to be the classic marron glacés or candied chestnuts.
If you have four days they are apparently really easy to make. You simply have to add the cooked chestnuts to a sugar syrup flavored with vanilla and let them soak up the syrup which can take a few days through a process of heating and soaking. Once the sugar syrup has been absorbed, you have to bake the chestnuts to dry them. Voilà!
Okay, I have never done it. Who has that kind of time! It’s faster to buy them especially when I can also get them soaked in cognac! But this year I found a recipe for chestnut pudding which seems fast and easy and looks delicious. Here goes nothing!