Standard-Examiner staffers share their favorite holiday recipes
Best Butter Cookies
SARAH WELLIVER/Standard-Examiner Staff

Standard-Examiner staffers share their favorite holiday recipes

When the holiday season comes around, the delicious food isn’t far behind. Every family has their favorite recipes, and the Standard-Examiner staff is no exception.

We asked our newsroom staff to share their favorite holiday recipes and what makes them so great. Here’s what they had to say. 

What’s your favorite holiday recipe? Share it with us in the comments. 

Best Butter Cookies

  • 1 cup real butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt 

Cream butter in icing bowl. Gradually add powdered sugar and ix until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined. Sift together flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; gradually add to cream mixture and combine into ball. Roll out on lightly floured board to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 4 to 6 dozen. Wait until cool and then decorate.

“This is the recipe my mom has always used for Christmas cookies. It’s a tradition, and also they’re delicious!” — Sarah Welliver, visuals editor

Garlic Bubble Bread

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 loaf frozen bread dough, thaw

Combine melted butter, garlic powder and garlic salt in a bowl. Cut dough into 1-inch pieces to dip in the butter mixture. Layer in a greased loaf pan.

Cover and let rise until doubled, or about an hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

“It’s not the holidays without delicious, delicious carbs to fill your belly. Bubble bread is easy to make and a guaranteed hit. It’s a perfect compliment to lasagna, chili, spaghetti, or on its own.” — Jessica Kokesh, digital producer

Cherry Heart Salad

  • Large package cherry Jello
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon Red Hots
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups grated apple

Dissolve Jello in 1/2 cup boiling water. Mix with Red Hots dissolved in 2 cups of boiling water.

Cool. Add crushed pineapple and grated apple. Chill 12 hours. 

“There are a lot of people who put strange things in Jello, but this recipe actually tastes good.” — Kyle Hansen, digital projects manager

Pea Crostini

  • 1 10-ounce package of frozen peas, thawed
  • 1-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 baguette (but crackers will do)

Pulse peas, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper in a food processor. Add olive oil in gradually and continue to pulse until well-mixed. Add more salt or pepper as needed. Garnish with just a couple chopped cherry or grape tomatoes.

If you want to be fancy about it, slice a baguette and toast on both sides under a boiler or in a toaster oven. Or be like the rest of us and just use your favorite kind of cracker.

“Pea Crostini is essentially hummus made with green peas. It tastes amazing, and next to everything else that will be served at your holiday Christmas parties it’s pretty low-calorie. Even if you’re not a fan of peas in general, give it a try. The cheese and garlic make it so much better than the vegetables your parents made you eat as a kid. I love this spread any time of the year, but when garnished with tomatoes the brilliant green and red make it very Christmas-appropriate.” — Anna Burleson, reporter

Briana’s Boozie Bourbon Balls

Briana's Boozie Bourbon Balls
BRIANA SCROGGINS/Standard-Examiner Staff

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 to 1 cup Maker’s Mark or Bulleit bourbon
  • 1 stick of softened salted butter
  • 2 pounds of powdered sugar
  • Wilkins milk chocolate (dark, mint or white chocolate also make great options)

Soak pecans in booze overnight. Cream powdered sugar into one stick of softened butter.

Add soaked pecans. Slowly add rest of powdered sugar and mix. Chill dough in refrigerator. Roll into balls, then freeze the balls to make dipping easier.

Melt chocolate. Dip balls in chocolate. Let chocolate harden.

“I love this recipe so much. Anything with bourbon reminds me of being home in Kentucky. I used to make them by the dozens to send to friends and family, but most of them wanted the recipe, so now I no longer bother sending them. They are very rich and very strong. Perfect for cold winter nights! I hope you enjoy them!” — Briana Scroggins, visual journalist

Ooh Aahs

  • 2 large Hershey almond bars
  • 1 9-ounce container whipped cream
  • 1 box vanilla wafers

Melt almond bars in double broiler and cool. Fold into whipped cream. Crush cookie crumbs and drop almond bar-whipped cream mixture by teaspoons onto crushed cookie crumbs. 

Roll into balls to coat. Refrigerate until set.

“My wife, Jamie, has made these things for Christmas for years. Plates of them disappear almost instantly. If you eat one, you want 10. They’re evilly delicious and extremely rich.” — Mark Shenefelt, reporter 


  • 2 cups grated potatoes, compactly packed 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Oil for frying
  • Sour cream and/or applesauce for topping

Note: The recipe calls for baking potatoes. It is also good with a mix of baking potatoes and yams. 

Grate the potatoes, mix with the salt and baking soda and put in a colander with a weight on top to squeeze out the liquid from the potatoes. Warm up a skillet with around a quarter inch of oil. Mix all ingredients together. Drop by spoonfuls into the hot frying pan and flatten the latkes into pancake shapes. When golden brown, turn over. Dry on paper towels or strips of brown paper bags and serve immediately.

The latkes are good fresh, but don’t reheat well. If you want leftovers, you can store the batter for several days in the fridge and fry them up before each meal.

“Latkes are fried potato pancakes that are traditional for Hanukkah. They are delicious while warm and topped with sour cream and applesauce.” — Benjamin Zack, visual journalist

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Mix together:

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I don’t add these)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups Quaker Oats

Press all but 2 cups onto the bottom of a greased cookie sheet.

Melt over low heat:

  • 1 large package milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup (or entire can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Pour over oatmeal mixture on cookie sheet. Crumble remaining mixture over fudge topping. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

“The Saal family has been making this recipe for many years now, and it never ceases to please at holiday gatherings. It’s got one of my favorites in it — fudge — plus it has the word ‘oatmeal’ in the title, so you can fool yourself into pretending that it’s good for you. It isn’t.” — Mark Saal, reporter and columnist

Loretta’s Christmas Breakfast Ham

  • One spiral ham
  • Whole cloves
  • Pineapple chunks

Stick whole cloves evenly spaced around ham. Use toothpicks to stab pineapple chunks into ham. Bake at 325 degrees using ham’s instructions for cook time.

“I’ve made this every Christmas since 1979 and it’s expected.” — Loretta Park, reporter

Mama’s Crock Pot Corn

  • 16 ounces frozen corn
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cook on high for 2 to 4 hours or low for 4 to 6 hours. Stir occasionally. 

“This is a staple at every gathering for my family. Everyone is obsessed with it. A lot of people probably make this as a casserole, but the crock pot makes it extra creamy and delicious — plus it’s easy! Just put it all in the crock pot and turn it on.” — Makenzie Koch, digital producer

JaNae’s Green/Black Bean Casserole

  • 2 15-ounce cans green beans
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans
  • 2 10.5-ounce cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or your favorite cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of French fried onions

By microwave: Drain beans. Mix all ingredients except onions in a 9-by-11-inch glass pan. Microwave for five minutes and stir. Cook another five minutes and stir again. Add onions on top and serve.

By oven: Heat to 350 degrees. Drain beans. Mix all ingredients except onions in a 9-by-11-inch glass pan. Cook for 20 minutes. Add onions and cook another five minutes. Serve.

“I love this recipe because it brings back a very fond memory from earlier this year. Because we were having a visitor from Canada, my daughter also invited her friend from Chile and we celebrated what we were calling “International Thanksgiving” two weeks before Thanksgiving. To my surprise while getting ready, I found that I didn’t have enough green beans for green bean casserole so I added the black beans and it was a hit. I also used to use cheddar french friend onions on this recipe but they quit making them so I started adding shredded cheese.” — JaNae Francis, reporter

What’s your favorite holiday recipe? Share it with us in the comments.