FAQ for Christmas

Holly-Day Recipes for Christmas and Hanukkah

Ginger Bread Bowls

You will need:
Your favorite Gingerbread Dough Recipe
An Oven-proof bowl (aluminum or glass)
Wide Aluminum foil or cooking oil spray

Cover the outside of bowl with foil or spray lightly with cooking spray.
Roll dough into a circle that will cover the exterior of the bowl.
Shape dough over outside of bowl, creating a bowl shape.
Trim dough even with bowl's edges.
Cut small shapes out around rim of dough or all over bowl using tiny cookie cutters.

Place bowl, still inverted, into 325 degree oven ~ bake 20-25 minutes.
Remove bowl CAREFULLY from baked gingerbread bowl.
Line with a festive cloth and fill with cookies, treats, potpourri, whatever!

Chocolate-Almond Bites

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped
sifted confectioners sugar

This shortbread variation is delicious with coffee.
Makes 48 to 60 bites.
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: between 20 and 25 minutes.

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a baking sheet.

Step 2:
Onto a sheet of wax paper, sift the flour with the cocoa. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until pale and creamy. Beat in the flour mixture, then the almonds.

Step 3:
Shape heaped teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and arrange on baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm. Cool briefly on the sheet before removing to a rack.

Step 4: While still slightly warm, dredge the biscuits with confectioner's sugar. Store in an airtight container. They will keep for 5 days


2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
about 50 whole cloves
1 cup confectioners sugar

These delicious almond cookies are a traditional treat in Greece. Bake them ahead and freeze. They thaw quickly, so don't set them out before you need too.
Makes about 50.
Total time: 1 hour.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two baking sheets.

Step 2:
In a food processor, place the butter, sugar, egg and egg yolks, flour, salt, and almonds and process for 30 seconds or until just combined.

Step 3: Roll the mixture into balls about the size of a walnut and place a clove in each. Arrange on 2 baking sheets. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Step 4:
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and transfer the cookies to a rack. Leave to cool slightly, then dredge generously with confectioners sugar. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 1 to 2 weeks. To freeze, layer the cookies, without the dusting of confectioners sugar, in a freezer container, separating each layer with waxed paper.


4 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
2 Eggs
3/4 cup matzah meal (flour or bread crumbs can be substituted)
salt and black pepper to taste
vegetable oil

Shred the potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Press out all excess liquid.(if using a food processor, use the chopping blade for 2 or 3 seconds after pressing out liquid to avoid stringy fly-aways). Add eggs and mix well. Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (you may not need the whole amount, depending on how well you drained the veggies). Add a few dashes of salt and black pepper. (don't taste the batter -- it's really gross!). Don't worry if the batter turns a little orange; that will go away when it fries.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat. Form the batter into thin patties about the size of your palm. Fry batter in oil. Be patient: this takes time, and too much flipping will burn the outside without cooking the inside. Flip when the bottom is golden brown.

Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce. They reheat OK in a microwave, but not in an oven unless you cook them just right.

If you'd like to try something a little different, add some bell peppers, parsley, carrots, celery, or other vegetables to the batter to make veggie latkes! You may need to add a third egg and some more matzah meal for this. For a zesty twist, add some diced jalepeņo peppers to the batter! This should definitely be served with sour cream!


2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped pecans
3/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar

Nutritional Information
1 cookie:
Calories 81
Saturated Fat 3g
Total Fat 6g
Protein 1g
Carbohydrate 8g
Fiber 0g
Sodium 33mg
Cholesterol 11mg

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. For more, just double the recipe.
Preparation time: 45 minutes.
Cooking time: 25 minutes.
Cooling time: 15 minutes.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 325° butter two baking sheets. Onto a piece of wax paper, sift the flour and salt. In a medium-size bowl, with an electric mixer on high, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the vanilla.

Step 2:
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture, then the pecans. Dust your hands with a little of the confectioners sugar and roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on the baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes or just until light brown.

Step 3:
Transfer to racks to cool for 15 minutes, then roll in the confectioners sugar. These cookies keep well in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Do not freeze them.

Bread Sweet Italian Bolo Pareve


For Sponge:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 envelopes (4 tsp.) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 105 degrees)

For dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water
grated zest of 1 lemon
grated zest of 1 orange
4 eggs
4 Tbs Olive Oil
2/3 cup raisins
2 Tbs. anise seed

To make the sponge, place the flour in a small bowl. In another small bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water, then add the mixture to the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place until frothy and doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

To make the dough, in the work bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, warm water, salt, citrus zests, eggs and olive oil. Beat to mix well. Add the sponge and beat on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add the raisins and anise seed and mix gently.

Turn into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Punch down and fold the dough over onto itself a few times. Divide the dough in half. Using your palms, roll half the dough into a log 20 to 24 inches long. Place on a prepared baking sheet and connect the ends of the log to form a circle.

Repeat with the other half of the dough and place on the other baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 3 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely. To store, cool first, then wrap in a plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. Recipe by Zillah Bahar

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon (optional)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine (at room temperature)
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the glaze:
2 cups sifted confections sugar
3 tablespoon low-fat (1% milkfat) milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
paste or liquid food coloring (optional)

Nutritional Information
1 serving:
Calories 127
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 2g
Protein 2g
Carbohydrate 22g
Fiber 0g
Sodium 73mg
Cholesterol 15mg

Sugar Cookies

Makes about 36 cookies.
Preparation time: 40 minutes.
Chilling time: 1 hour. Cooking time: 24 minutes.

Step 1:
In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg (if using), and salt. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium, cream the granulated sugar and butter, beating until fluffy, scraping side of bowl often.

Step 2:
Add the sour cream, egg, and the 2 teaspoons vanilla, beating well. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture just until flour disappears. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces. Wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until thoroughly chilled and easy to handle.

Step 3:
Preheat the oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough to 1/4-inch thickness and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. With a spatula, transfer the cookies to ungreased cookie sheets, placing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks. Repeat with remaining dough.

Step 4:
To prepare the glaze, in a medium-size bowl, stir together confectioners sugar, half of the milk, the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and a little food coloring (if using). Gradually stir in enough of the remaining milk to make the mixture of glazing consistency. Spread the top of each cooled cookie with some of the glaze. Allow glaze to dry completely. Store cookies in an airtight container (do not freeze glazed cookies).

Turkish Delight

4 cups sugar
4 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/4 cups cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater
red food coloring (optional)
1 cup confectioners sugar

This appealing candy is easy to make at home. Rosewater can be found at specialty food stores. When the sugar syrup boils, coat the inside of the saucepan with a brush dipped in water to prevent sugar crystals from forming.
Makes 80 pieces.
Total time: 2 hours.

Step 1:
Oil a 9-inch square pan. Line with plastic wrap and oil the plastic wrap.

Step 2:
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, 1 1/2 cups of the water, and the lemon juice. Stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, without stirring, until the mixture reaches the soft-ball stage (240°F on a candy thermometer). Remove the pan from the heat.

Step 3:
In a second large heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1 cup cornstarch and the cream of tartar. Gradually stir in the remaining 3 cups of water until no lumps remain. Stir constantly, until the mixture boils and is a thick, gluey paste.

Step 4:
Slowly pour the hot sugar, water, and lemon juice syrup into the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often to prevent sticking, for about 1 hour, or until the mixture has become a pale golden color.

Step 5:
Stir in the rosewater and tint as desired with food coloring. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Cool to room temperature and let stand, uncovered, overnight to set.

Step 6:
Sift the confectioners sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup cornstarch onto a large cutting board. Turn the Turkish delight out and cut into 1-inch squares with an oiled knife. Roll pieces in the sugar mixture to coat well. Store in an airtight container with sheets of waxed paper, dusted with the sugar mixture, separating every layer.

Traditional Christmas Cake

2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces total) butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups each currants, golden raisins, dark raisins
1 1/3 cups soft dried figs, chopped
1 1/4 cups dates, pitted and chopped
1 cup chopped stoned dried prunes
1 3/4 cups chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
2/3 cup plus 4 tablespoons brandy
2 teaspoons instant espresso, mixed with 1 tablespoon water

This rich cake can be made at the last minute before Christmas--it doesn't need to mature, although it keeps well, too.
Makes 30 servings.
Total time: 4 hours 45 minutes, plus cooling time.

Step 1:
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease a round 9- or 10-inch cake pan, and line bottom and sides with several layers of waxed paper.

Step 2:
In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high, beat the butter and sugar until thick and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, salt, and spices, then fold into the creamed mixture. Add the fruit, almonds, 2/3 cup brandy, and espresso, folding in well.

Step 3:
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan, leveling the surface. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 275°F and bake for 3 1/2 hours longer or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Step 4:
Remove the pan from the oven, cover with first a kitchen towel and then a thick bath towel so that the cake will cool slowly.

Step 5:
When the cake is cool, prick the top with a skewer and drizzle with the extra brandy. Wrap in waxed paper and store in an airtight container. Keep in a cool place for up to 3 months.

Holiday Roast Turkey With Old-Fashioned Corn Bread

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large yellow onion (chopped)
5 cups crumbled corn bread
5 cups toasted fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth
1 large egg (lightly beaten)
1 fresh or frozen and thawed turkey (12 pounds)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Nutritional Information
1 serving with gravy:
Calories 649
Saturated Fat 7g
Total Fat 22g
Protein 78g
Carbohydrate 31g
Fiber 2g
Sodium 705mg
Cholesterol 316mg

Old-fashioned cooks sometimes added eggs and baking powder to their corn bread stuffing to give it a fluffier texture. The stuffing in this recipe is a delicious example.
Makes 12 servings.
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Cooking time: 6 minutes.
Roasting time: 3 hours.
Standing time: 15 minutes.

Step 1:
In a medium-size saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from the heat. In a very large bowl, combine the corn bread, bread crumbs, baking powder, poultry seasoning, and pepper. Stir in the onion mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together broth and egg. Stir into the corn bread mixture. Toss to coat well.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 325°. Rinse turkey, drain and pat dry. Remove neck and giblets. Stuff and truss turkey. Place, breast-side-up, on a rack in a large roasting pan. Brush with oil. Insert roasting thermometer in turkey thigh without touching bone. Spoon remaining stuffing into a lightly greased 2-quart casserole; cover and refrigerate.

Step 3:
Roast turkey for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until thermometer registers 180°, basting often and covering with foil to prevent overbrowning if necessary. Bake the covered casserole of stuffing alongside turkey during the last 30 minutes of roasting, adding an additional 2 to 3 tablespoons chicken broth if stuffing is dry. Let turkey stand for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.

Step 4:
Meanwhile, cook neck and giblets for giblet gravy. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the pan drippings from roast turkey for giblet gravy. Prepare gravy. Carve turkey, discarding skin. Serve turkey and dressing with gravy

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