Classic Christmas Recipes

Try these holiday dessert recipes for a chocolate roll, cranberry steamed pudding with rum sauce, snowball cookies and date-nut crunches.

| October/November 1999

  • 176-076-01-holidaycoockies
    Stock up on tins when you see them on sale, and use them to gift your homemade holiday desserts.
  • 176-076-01-cranbery
    Delight your guests as you grace your holiday table with classic desserts. But be warned: They won’t last long!

  • 176-076-01-holidaycoockies
  • 176-076-01-cranbery

Somewhere between my grandmother’s wedding silverware and an odd assortment of vintage tablecloths lies my collection of family heirloom recipes. Oil-streaked ink on yellowed pages gives me a glimpse of how, decades ago, my relatives provided more than food for their families; they created fond childhood memories.

My grandmother’s chocolate roll was my favorite classic Christmas recipe. We would relish our delicious chocolate slices after Christmas dinner, knowing there wouldn't be second helpings. (I suspect that my grandma looked forward to those few remaining slices the next day as her small reward for preparing such a feast.) My husband, on the other hand, fondly remembers his grandma's recipe for chicken 'n dumplings, a Sunday tradition that began during World War II.

Just recently, my mother and I sorted through a box of family cookbooks and recipes dating hack to before the turn of the century. As I read my great-grandmother's favorite recipes and began comparing past and present methods of food preparation, it struck me that nowadays we sure have it easy. Back then, cookbook recipes contained few directions and great grandma had to rely on cooking tips from relatives. Much of the food was smoked, pickled and canned because it was difficult to keep it fresh in an icebox (thank goodness for Ziploc bags!). There was no such thing as an oven temperature until the first kerosene stove outdated the wood burner during the 1920s. Baking a pumpkin pie? You'd have to cook the pumpkin, since there weren't any canned goods. And men were seldom caught in the kitchen, unless to eat.

Well, we've come a long way, baby. Like old silver, classic recipes are a part of our heritage. Our ancestors prepared them with love to nourish their families, leaving us with memories that we'll pass on to our children. But in order to enjoy them today, a few alterations are necessary for the sake of healthy living.

Chocolate Roll Recipe

(Serves 6.)  

I tried — and failed — to bake a chocolate roll from my grandma's 1930's settlement cookbook. Maybe it was the vague directions, or perhaps it wasn't her recipe after all. My next tack was to combine three recipes, one of which was from a 1972 Good Housekeeping magazine that I found at a garage sale.

12/29/2015 5:48:16 PM

You have some really delicious sounding recipes here. We would like to try them out. I have never heard of a Cranberry pudding recipe before but if it is like a cake then maybe it would be similar to a cranberry bread? Anyway, we would just like to let you know, you can get a FREE copy of "Our Survival Essentials " during our FREE Promo days Dec 30, 31st 2015 and Jan 1st 2016, So remember to grab your free copy during the next three days

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