My favorite Christmas recipes

14 December 2016

I’ve been following along with Victoria’s fun Christmas link-up, and wanted to pop in today to share a few of my favorite Christmas recipes! Though out of the five I’m going to share, all but one is a dessert, or almost a dessert… I promise I do eat real food in December :)

I’ll move from the oldest holiday favorite to the most recent addition, which means starting with peanut butter balls. Possibly the most homely of treats, but my Mom’s are legendary. So much so, that I can’t give you the recipe :) When my sisters and I were in high school, she would make dozens and dozens and dozens to give to friends, family, teachers, mailmen, coworkers, Coast Guard cadets, and anyone else who stopped by and looked hungry. She even made 300 (!!) for our wedding, making batches over the course of a few weeks and freezing them until the big day. Moms are the best.

monkey bread

Every Christmas morning we eat monkey bread – ooey, gooey, possibly slightly raw, always delicious. Here’s our version – no fancy caramel sauce or raisins need apply. Cut four cans of biscuits in quarters. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Shake biscuit quarters in cinnamon sugar. Arrange in a 13×9 pan (better than a bundt pan – helps it to cook more evenly!). Melt some (?) butter and pour over the top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


John’s Mom started making chewy chocolate-gingerbread cookies back in high school, and I was immediately hooked (as was the rest of his family). They’ve since become a staple of the holidays, and were also served at our wedding! Bonus: they freeze well, so we usually get to take a container home with us whenever we visit :)


The year we got married, I started making this toffee recipe and handing out the goods to our garbage men, mail lady, post office peeps, oil change guys, etc. – maybe my version of PB balls. June’s teachers have been added to the list this year! It really is delicious, and easy – just follow the peanut butter trick.


Finally, for the last few years, Jenny’s beef ragu has been the centerpiece of all sorts of special occasions, including Christmas dinner 2015 when we hosted John’s family. Aside from being deeeeeelicious, it makes your house smell marvelous.

I would love to hear: what are your favorite Christmas foods? (Almost) all sweets like me, or something more substantial? :)

Linking up with Victoria and Sarah!


Photos from their sources except for monkey bread and ginger cookies (photo by Tanja Lippert from our reception)

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December 14, 2016 9:42 am

All I can think as I read this is “WHY have I never eaten a peanut butter ball??!!?!?!” So glad you joined us for the linkup, I wish we could have had this conversation about holiday recipes in person with a big mug of cocoa! :)

Sarah Elizabeth
December 14, 2016 11:22 am

All of these recipes sound so good! We made monkey bread last year, but I’m trying my hand at cinnamon rolls from scratch this year. I love your tip about changing the pan for the monkey bread – the even cook has always been so tricky!

Those cookies sound delicious! I’ll have to try my hand at making them!

December 14, 2016 11:27 am

Uhm I shouldn’t have read this while I was hungry. Oops! sounds delicious my friend!

Sarah Shaneyfelt
December 14, 2016 7:42 pm

Monkey bread is something I’ve never made but I would like to! I actually think I’ve only had it a few times, but I really liked it when I did. Thanks for linking up with us today!

December 14, 2016 8:58 pm

All of this food looks amazing!

December 14, 2016 9:43 pm

Hi em! Can you share the peanut butter ball recipe? Xoxo

Mary Ellen Osborne
December 16, 2016 3:36 pm

Your mom shared her peanut butter balls recipe with me and it is now an Osborne family favorite. I have also shared it, but I always credit your mom.

sue burns
December 16, 2016 11:14 pm

Hi Emily,
I had the pleasure of trying your Mom’s peanut butter balls recently, and they definitely are amazing! She brought them to a Deacons meeting! Have a wonderful holiday :)

December 22, 2016 9:13 am

Peanut butter balls — major contributor to my annual holiday weight gain…