I post recipes here the way that I make them, so of course you should feel free to adapt these to what your family likes!
To make this blog user-friendly, I put tags for each major ingredient of each recipe, as well as for type of dish, and ethnicity, so you can go to the list on the side here (scroll down) and search for specific things.
If you like a recipe, please comment! If you have a yummy adaptation, please leave that in the comments as well!

Great Grandma's Sugar Cookies

We had been making this recipe for years. It was extremely rich and we loved eating the cookies, but the dough was soft and could be difficult to work with if not chilled well enough (we had to put it back in the fridge between batches). When I was in my late teens, my mother came across another sugar cookie recipe and said "hey, this is almost the same as great-grandmas, except that instead of 1 cup of butter, it has 1 cube..." ...and then the light came on. Somewhere along the line someone had written "1c" instead of 1 cube, and ever since then we'd been doing a double portion of butter in the cookies. Since then I have opted to use 3/4 cup of butter--halfway in between the two. It maintains the rich flavor of our old recipe, but is much easier to work with.

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
a dash of almond extract if desired
2 1/2 cups flour

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Add flour.
Chill thoroughly (at least an hour). Keep firm in order to handle (any portion you are not working with should be put back in the fridge). Roll out about 1/4" thick and cut with cookie cutters. Place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet with space between cookies (dough will spread a little). Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Cookies can be frosted, but I prefer to sprinkle them with colored sugar (or sprinkles) before cooking...they are rich enough without frosting, and sugar is just as pretty without the mess!

Meltaway Christmas Cookies

My mother had been making these for years, and told me that she liked them as a Christmas cookie. With sugar cookie snowmen in competition, I could never understand why she felt this was a holiday treat... After I was married I made them one day and my husband said "this is what they make at Christmas in Norway!" Aha!
makes 5 doz

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour

Heat oven to 400*. Mix thoroughly butter, sugar, vanilla. Stir in flour. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet (I roll little balls). (Cookies don’t spread.) Bake about 10 min, until set but not brown. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.

Cardamom Bread

A braided Christmas tradition from Scandinavia.
I grew up with this from my Danish ancestors...imagine my delight to learn that my husband had grown up with an almost identical recipe--from his Finnish ancestors! While our recipes are the same, our methods of eating are different: the Danes frost it and put on maraschino cherries (as pictured) and then tear off chunks from the braid, while the Finns slice it, toast it, and eat it with butter. We all eat it strictly at Christmas--my family saves it for Christmas morning, but my husband's family enjoys it throughout the holiday season.
makes 2 large (or 6-8 small) loaves

8 cups flour
2 cups scalded milk
2 Tbs yeast
1/2 cup warm water (for the yeast to grow in)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp cardamom (powdered form, not the whole pods!)

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. Mix milk, butter, sugar, egg, salt, cardamom, and a little of the flour and beat until smooth. Add yeast and mix again. Add the rest of the flour and beat well. Knead for about 10 minutes. Cover dough and let it rise until double. Place on a floured board and knead until smooth. Divide into 6 even-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 'snake' and braid together into 2 loaves, tucking the ends under.
Put loves on a large greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 375* until golden brown--about 20 minutes for large loaves (less for smaller loaves).

If you are new to bread making, check out my bread making tips!

Sweet Pumpkin Pie

I got this recipe from my sister, who got it off a kitchen towel. Seriously, she did! Could I make that up?!

15 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (or homemade)
1 graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 425'F. Beat together pumpkin, eggs, spices and milk. Pour into shell. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350'F. Bake 35-40 minutes longer until done

[sister's notes]
I covered just the sides (crust) with foil before baking, so they were protected and the middle was exposed.
I baked it a lot longer than it said, until it stopped wiggling in the middle.
It was so darn yummy, I didn't even need whipped cream!

Peppermint Pie

There's a real irony to the fact that I like this pie...because I hate marshmallows! But somehow, when it's peppermint...well, nothing can be wrong with the world when I can smell peppermint!!

Makes 1 8" pie
If you want to make a 9" pie, or a deep dish, you need to double the recipe!

graham cracker crust (or a chocolate crumb crust!)
24 large marshmallows (or 3 cups minis)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 drops peppermint extract (doubled = 1/4 tsp)
6 drops red food color (doubled = 1/4 tsp)
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 Tbs crushed peppermint candy (this is great for leftover candy canes! Be sure to really crush them up though)

Heat marshmallows and milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, just until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, peppermint extract, and food color. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon.
Beat whipping cream in a chilled bowl until stiff. Stir marshmallow mixture until blended, and then fold into whipping cream. Pour into crust. Refrigerate at least 12 hours. *Just before serving, sprinkle with crushed candy.
Alternately, make it as bars instead of a pie. (I actually like this better, because I think the proportions of crust to filling come out nicer. Press the graham cracker crust into the bottom of a 8 or 9" square dish (make sure it's greased!). Don't put the crust up the sides--just on the bottom. Make a single batch of filling, and spread it over the crust. Put it in the fridge to set up overnight. Cut into squares. The first one will probably be hard to lift out (you might have to eat it ☺) but the rest should come up nice and pretty, something like cheesecake squares... :)
*if you sprinkle the candy on too early, it will sink into the pie rather than staying on top! If you do it more than an hour before serving, the colors from the candy will bleed onto the pie and the whole thing just looks a bit sad...
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