My parents were German immigrants, and my father was a professional baker, so my childhood memories of Christmas include Springerle, Pfeffernüße, and Stollen. I’ve never baked any of them myself, but Trader Joe’s always carries Pfeffernüße and Stollen starting in November, so I buy three packages of each. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them.
However, there is one traditional goody which I do bake for Christmas breakfast every year, which my children ask for as they come through the door later in the day:
Marsha’s Easy Cinnamon Rolls
1 stick of butter, melted
¾ C. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ C. chopped nuts
1 bag frozen dinner rolls
¾ package butterscotch pudding (the kind you cook, not instant)
Mix together: melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Use a well-greased angel-food or Bundt cake pan. Place nuts in the bottom of the pan and distribute frozen rolls around the pan. Sprinkle the pudding mix over the rolls. Pour the butter/brown sugar/cinnamon mixture over the rolls and cover the pan with a clean dishtowel. Let the pan sit on the counter overnight. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and carefully turn over onto a large plate.
Disclaimer: my children will always remember 1999 as the Christmas Mommy almost burned the house down. I made these buns for the first time in an angel-food pan and didn’t think to put the pan on a cookie sheet. As it baked, the brown sugar coating leaked out of the bottom of the pan and dripped onto the oven floor. Reasoning that it would be bad to cook the Christmas turkey in a sugary oven, I started the self-cleaning feature of the oven. Within minutes, the sugar ignited, the house filled with smoke, and flames shot out of the oven! My husband saved the day by turning off the cleaning cycle, and scraping the burnt sugar out when the oven cooled. The moral of the story: Put the pan on a cookie sheet!
The other Christmas food tradition that my husband and I have is potato pancakes for dinner on December 23. They’re labor intensive, or I’d make them Christmas Eve. (Since we go to church Christmas Eve night, we eat take-out pizza for dinner.) Greg’s dad always made potato pancakes for Christmas Eve dinner, and Greg hated them. He described them as “gray,” and said they tasted horrible, which surprised me, because the only potato pancakes I ever had were delicious, made by Hanna, an au pair from Germany who worked for/lived with a family in our neighborhood. So I make them similar to the way Hanna did, from hand-grated potatoes with chopped onions and red and green peppers (to make them look Christmasy), fried crisp, served with applesauce. Greg loves them.
What about you? Is there a special family recipe that you always make for Christmas? Take the ARHtistic License Christmas Recipe Challenge—post the recipe on your blog, and share a link to your post in the comments below. Or if you don’t have a blog, just share a link to an online recipe or describe the food in the comments section. Then share on social media with the hashtag #ALCRC so others can find it. And, everybody who likes to try out new holiday recipes (or eat them), check back here frequently between now and New Year’s to see what others post. Happy eating! And happy holidays!