Home Baking Recipes for the Holidays

Ellie Harmon, Contributing Writer

The winter holidays are a part of the year when everyone comes together to share gratitude towards one another and spread joy to all. For some, the holidays can be hard financially and the pandemic has unfortunately put even more people in this position. Luckily, we have each other, and sharing words of kindness can have a huge impact on someone, even if you may not realize it. Through the warmth that a home cooked meal creates, there are memories to comfort us.


Amelie Jamanka, a junior at CRLS, shares an online recipe for sweet potato casserole that she and her family use around Thanksgiving. The dish resonates with her because it is something that her family has always cooked for the holidays. Her whole family would take part in the creation of the dish and there were occasions when her little cousins would help place the marshmallows on top. She has always looked forward to having her family around her for the holidays and the casserole is a reminder of that. 

Sweet Potato Casserole: 


5 sweet potatoes, sliced

¼ cup reduced fat margarine 

½ cup packed brown sugar

3 tablespoons of orange juice 

1 one pinch of ground cinnamon 

1 10.5 ounce package miniature marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and mash. Place mashed sweet potatoes in a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend with the margarine, brown sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon. Spread evenly into a 9” by 13’ inch baking dish. Top with miniature marshmallows. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until heated through, and marshmallows are puffed and golden brown. 


Shirine Daghmouri ’23 shares this family pecan pie recipe of her close friend Elena Serpas ’23. This recipe is from Elena’s great grandmother and is given the title “utterly deadly,” in the South. Shirine says the recipe was included in a notebook that includes more than 100 recipes. This book is dated back to December 25, 1988. Shirine explained that her family does not have traditional recipes per se; Elena’s, on the other hand, does. A memory that Shirine has attached to this recipe is when Elena shared her family’s photo albums. She finished by vocalizing that she had not tried the pecan pie before, but she believes that “it’s the best pie that exists!”

“Utterly deadly” pecan pie:


1 unbaked pie shell

½ cup sugar

¼ cup butter

1 cup white Karo (corn syrup)

3 eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup pecans


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add cream butter, and sugar in a bowl. Add Karo and mix well. Add eggs one at a time beating after each. Stir in salt and pecans. Pour all into the pie crust. Bake in the preheated oven for one hour or until golden brown.


A third recipe is a Stollen bread that sophomore Julia D’amato’s grandfather adapted. The memory that resonated with her is from every Christmas morning. She says, “When my aunt used to come and stay, she’d make us Stollen bread and we’d eat it after opening presents.” She  adds, “Baking Stollen bread is a German tradition passed down from my immigrant grandfather and has stayed in our family as the visual representation of the Christmas spirit ever since.”

Stollen German bread: 


10 cups flour

2 cups lukewarm milk

1 tsp salt

2 tbsp yeast

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

½ tsp nutmeg

1 lb butter, softened

¾ lb raisins, soaked in warm water for a few hours, then drained

¼ cup rum

½ lb chopped almonds

1 Grated rind of lemon zest

½ cup each orange peel and citron, cut fine


Mix yeast and milk, and stir in 2 cups of flour. Let rise. Cream butter with sugar and add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add lemon zest and salt. Combine the two mixtures, then add flour and nutmeg, and knead. Sprinkle flour over the dried fruits. Mix and add to the dough with nuts and run. Let rise until it doubles in bulk. Toss on a floured board and divide into three or more loaves. Spread top with melted butter, press down the center, and fold over double. Brush melted butter over top, let rise until double, and bake at 350°F for 45 minutes. When cool, cover with plain icing.


Charlie Bonney, a senior at CRLS, shares his mother’s cranberry bread that she makes every year. He says, “It is always a sign that the holidays are approaching when this cranberry bread comes out of the oven.” The vibrant color of the cranberry bread gives Charlie the perfect Christmas morning feeling. Him and his family have a tradition to eat this bread while opening all of their presents on Christmas morning. 

Cranberry bread:


1 vegetable oil

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 cup granulated sugar 

1 orange 

1 large egg

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 cups fresh cranberries


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Pour 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil into a large loaf pan or divide between 3 small loaf pans. Use a paper towel to spread oil all around the inside of the pan(s), set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar, stir to combine thoroughly. Rinse and dry orange.  Using a peeler, peel the orange part (not the white) off the orange. Chop orange peel until fine.  Alternatively use a fine grater to grate off the peel.  Put chopped or grated peel in a medium bowl. Cut orange in half and juice.  Measure orange juice and add water to make 1 cup, add to bowl with peel. Add egg and melted butter to orange juice and beat until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stir until just combined, add cranberries and stir until distributed through the batter.  Pour batter into pan(s), dividing evenly as best as you can if you are using 3 small pans. Place pan(s) in the center of the preheated oven and bake for one hour for a large pan or 40-45 minutes for small pans until batter is just set,  top is beginning to turn golden. Cool for five minutes in pans then remove and cool on racks.