Christmas Delight

A blog about the joy I find in all things Christmas

Favorite Recipes & Such

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One of my favorite parts of Christmas is the time I’ve spent being underfoot in the kitchen, watching as all the women in my family conduct magic. I’m learning to make some of our favorite holiday recipes (My personal favorite you ask? Pumpkin chocolate chip bread–if I get a request, I might release that recipe, though it’s not in this post!)

The women in my family making Christmas dinner in 2007. (photo: Alissa Hale)

These first three are from Cathy Burson, whose Tradition Spotlight was featured last week:

Pumpkin Pie
(Very light, fluffy pie–secret is the hot water)

1 can pumpkin
1 15 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1 c. hot water

Mix all together, pour into an unbaked pie crust and bake at 375 for 50 to 55 minutes.

Sweet Potato Casserole
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 teas. vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3 cups cooked and mashed sweet potatoes

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Beat eggs; add sugar, butter, vanilla, milk, and sweet potatoes.  Pour into 1-quart buttered casserole.

Topping:  Mix brown sugar, butter and flour until it looks like cornmeal.  Spread on top of sweet potato mixture.  Cover with pecans and pat down with hand.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

Chicken and Cornbread Dressing

Stew whole hen. Debone and cut up chicken.  Strain broth.  Crumble 1 cake of cornbread and about 3 biscuits or slices of bread.  Add one cup of celery that is chopped fine and one large onion, also chopped fine.  Add about 4 cups of broth (adjust to make mixture soupy).  Beat 4 eggs and add to mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Add 2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning.  Layer chicken on bottom of pan and pour dressing on top.  Cook at 350 for about 1 hour or until set.

Pizzelle Recipe
My best friend has grown up making these, they’re so yummy-they’re shaped like snowflakes!

The Pizzelle Chef is a pizelle grill used to make pizzelle cookies. This is the box from an old machine/recipe booklet from the 70s– I unfortunately couldn’t find a website for the company today. (photo: Vitantonio Manufacturing Company)

The Pizzelle Chef is a pizelle grill used to make pizzelle cookies. This is the box from an old machine/recipe booklet from the 70s– I unfortunately couldn’t find a website for the company today. (photo: Vitantonio Manufacturing Company)

6 eggs
3 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 cup of margarine
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbs vanilla or anise (Tip: You can also use almond extract)

Beat eggs adding sugar gradually. Beat until smooth. Add cooled melted margarine and vanilla or anise. Sift flour with baking powder and add to egg mixture. Dough will be sticky enough to be dropped by spoon onto hot pizelle grill.
After one minute remove cookie with fork. Dust with powdered sugar. Cool on wire rack.
Makes approximately 60 cookies.

Christmas Chocolate Roll

My absolute favorite Christmas treat, from my maternal grandmother, is chocolate roll.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the one Grammie has made in the past, but this is similar to what her chocolate roll looks like. (Picture:

As Grammie said, “It came from my mother-through a woman whose children I used to babysit. I just hung on her every word, she could knit, she could do everything. I watched her make this, and she brought it to me with a new sweater on my birthday.”

Requires a 15 X 10 jelly roll pan.  Grease with Crisco, line with wax paper, then grease the wax paper.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream Filling: (Make early in the day and chill several hours or make the night before and refrigerate so that filling is cold and stiff)

½ cup sugar
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2cups of milk
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Cook in a double-broiler or a heavy-duty pan.  Over low heat, stir first 4 ingredients together.
2.  Cook over low heat for ten minutes to thicken, stirring milk mixture constantly to prevent scorching.
3.  Pour a small amount of the hot milk mixture very gradually into the beaten egg and stir together.
4.  Then pour this egg/milk mixture back into the pan with the rest of the hot milk mixture and cook until thick, 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
5.  Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla; stir well.
6.  Cover with foil or with a plate to prevent a film from forming on top as it cools.  After mixture is cool, place in fridge to chill several hours or overnight.

Chocolate Roll (cake part):
½ cup of flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 squares of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate (2 oz.)
2 tablespoons of sugar
¼ teaspoon of baking soda
3 tablespoons of cold water

1.  Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together; set aside.
2.   In a large bowl, crack the 4 eggs, then beat in ¾ cup sugar.  Add in flour mixture and stir well.  Add vanilla and blend well.
3.  Melt unsweetened chocolate squares in pan on low heat (do not microwave–it will burn). Remove from heat and add the 2 tbsp. sugar.  In small bowl, mix ¼ tsp. baking soda into 3 tbsp. cold water.  When melted chocolate mixture is cool, stir in water/soda mixture until it is thick and light-colored.
4.  Immediately fold chocolate mixture into egg/sugar/flour batter.
5.  Pour into greased/lined jelly roll pan and bake at 375 for 12 minutes.  Cool.
6.  Spread a clean, lint-free, cotton cloth on counter. Cloth should be 2-3 inches longer than your jelly roll pan.  Sprinkle cloth with flour or powdered sugar to keep cake from sticking.
7.  Turn cooled cake onto cloth; peel off wax paper.  Allow cake to continue to cool and “set.” While waiting, prepare a long serving tray for serving chocolate yule log–dimensions:  18 inches long; 11 inches wide.  Line tray with foil or parchment paper and sprinkle with flour or powdered sugar.
8.  Take chilled filling from fridge and stir.  Carefully spread filling onto cake, beginning in the middle and working out to the sides of cake until 1 inch from edges.
9.  To roll cake:  Have prepared long tray ready.  Using the towel edges to support the cake, begin to carefully roll the cake, jelly-roll fashion, starting with one of the long sides.  Roll log with seam side down; carefully lift roll, supported by the cloth, onto the tray.  Support the sides of the roll with several same-sized, long, straight glasses placed along each long side to help the roll “set” as it chills in the freezer.  Place tray in the freezer and chill until cake is firm.
10.  Remove cake from freezer and frost with Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Frosting:
2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened chocolate
3 Tbsp. butter
dash of salt
2-3 Tbsp. boiling water
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1.  Melt unsweetened chocolate in heavy pan on very low heat.
2.  Add two tablespoons of butter; melt and stir together.  Remove from heat.
3.  Have small bowl of boiling water ready. Begin adding confection sugar until it’s melted in.
4.  Add boiling water, about two tablespoons at a time, stirring very well.
5.  Continue adding as much confection sugar as needed for thick, but spreadable consistency. (probably about half a sack— two to three cups).
6.  Beat in vanilla.
7.  Using a tiny brush, brush off extra sugar/flour off roll.  Spread a very thin layer of frosting on  top of roll and around the sides.  Then frost ends, using a sufficient amount to completely cover/seal the ends of the cake roll.
8.  Using the rest of the frosting, completely frost cake roll smoothly, then decoratively swirl a pattern into the frosting with a knife to make cake resemble a log.  If frosting begins to set too quickly, dip in water and continue.
9.  Cover chocolate yule log loosely with foil, keeping foil from touching the cake and place in refrigerator or freezer to chill (depending on when you desire to serve it).
10.  Can garnish with a sprig of holly with berries when serving.
11.  To Serve:  Cut crosswise to reveal jelly-roll filling.  Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. (Tip: Put a little sugar in the whipped cream with a dash of vanilla. )

You can use holly branches with berries on it to decorate. Use a knife to draw lines on it like it’s an old log.
It will freeze wonderfully well, very versatile.
“An Old Yule Log, just for you to put on the fire at midnight.”

Tradition Spotlight:

My roommate Jenna is this week’s spotlight!

“My brother always wakes me up super early, and then we call downstairs to our parents that we are ready. We have to wait until our parents have the house ready. We sit at the top of the stairs as our parents light the fire, put out snacks and turn on Christmas music. Then our parents (still!) make us walk down the stairs holding hands, while they video tape us. Of course Jackson & I have to make sure the reindeer food we left out is gone.

Then we start in order of age, youngest to oldest, of who opens stockings first. Then we open gifts from Santa, then the rest of the gifts. As we get toward the end of the gifts, we eat snacks. Then we make Eggs Benedict with hollandaise sauce. We always eat a ton, then relax and watch movies, then have a roast beef dinner.”

PS-62 days until Christmas!


Author: Natalie Alissa Hale

I'm a PR student at The University of Texas at Austin and an assistant event coordinator. Christmas is the only time I get to see my entire family all year, so it's always been my favorite time of year. I start counting down from 100 days (Sept. 16) every year! My family traditions mean the world to me. These are a collection of both my and others' traditions as well as other fun topics surrounding Christmas! View my "About" page to learn more!

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