Cooking up the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us and to celebrate, The LC staff has gathered some of our favorite recipes to share with you! Plus, enjoy our ‘Holiday Essentials’ playlist perfect for any dinner party or get together during the holiday season.

Chai Spiced Cookies
Easy King Crab Legs!
Watergate Cake
Pumpkin Roll
Maple Smashed Sweet Potato Bake with Spiced Pecan Streusel
Polish Cookies
Nate Newton’s Corn Casserole
Mexican Wedding Cakes
Dinner Rolls
Candied Yams
Bisquick Sausage Cheese Balls
German Pancakes
Sour Cream Cookies


Chai Spiced Cookies | Submitted by Robin Stitzel

One of my holiday traditions is to spend an entire Saturday with three friends, and we make WAY too many cookies! We have a blast, and have cookies to share for the holiday season. I found the recipe for the Chai Spiced Cookies many years ago, and it has become a standard at the holidays. They are delicious, especially with a hot cup of tea or coffee!


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 egg yolks


  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and 1/2 cup powdered sugar with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Stir in remaining cookie ingredients.
  2. Shape dough by tablespoonfuls into balls. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 1 1/2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until very lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack; cool 5 minutes.
  4. In medium bowl, mix coating ingredients. Working in batches, gently roll warm cookies in coating mixture. Cool on cooling rack 5 minutes. Roll in mixture again.

Yields 4 dozen.

Easy King Crab Legs! | Submitted by Luke Burhenn

I love Alaskan King Crab Legs for New Years and/or Christmas Eve.


  • Approx .75–1 lb. Alaskan King Crab legs per person
  • 1 jar Ghee / Clarified Butter
  • 1 lemon


  1. Thaw crab legs overnight in fridge
  2. Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
  3. Place crab legs on sheet tray and cover loosely with foil (you can pre-cut / score the legs for easy opening once warm)
  4. Heat for 10-12 minutes, until shell is hot and meat is warmed through
  5. Meanwhile, heat Ghee/ Butter until clear and fully melted
  6. Cut lemon into wedges
  7. Crack open crab legs and enjoy lightly dipped in butter with a squeeze of lemon!

Watergate Cake | Submitted by Holly Contreras

My grandma makes “Watergate Cake” for Christmas every year. She had it written on a scrap of paper for years before I digitized her recipes a few years ago so I have no idea what the origin of the recipe is. It has no written directions, but I’ve tried my best to give some instructions/tips. I also can’t guarantee it will work here in High-Altitude Colorado, this recipe is optimized for Sea-Level Texas, but I’m sure it can work with some adjustments. I have not tested it here at this elevation.


  • 1 box (15.25 oz) white cake mix
  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 cup “salad oil”(vegetable oil or any neutral oil)
  • 3 whole large eggs
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup club soda


  • 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz)instant pistachio pudding mix
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Optional topping
Maraschino cherries

Important Notes
If possible, make sure the cake mix does not include pudding mix! A few brands of cake mix (like Betty Crocker) add pudding mix to make it more moist, but we are adding our own so it isn’t needed. When making the frosting, make sure the cake is fully cooled and do not make the frosting ahead! It WILL solidify into a clumpy mess because of the pudding mix. For added holiday flair, you can top the cake with maraschino cherries for the red & green aesthetic!


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix cake mix and pudding mix in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and add eggs and oil. Whisk until everything is thoroughly hydrated and no clumps remain.
  4. Add the pecans and fold together.
  5. Add in the club soda and mix gently until the liquid is incorporated (The mix is very wet; don’t panic).
  6. Pour mix into two 9-in cake pans or a single 9x13in pan.
  7. Bake at 350 for 30-35 mins or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  8. Remove from pans and cool completely.


  1. Quickly mix all ingredients together in a bowl until incorporated.
  2. Spread the frosting evenly across the cooled cake(s) quickly before it solidifies.
  3. If preferred, don’t mix the pecans in the frosting and instead use them as a topping.

Pumpkin Roll | Submitted by Eddie Modec

From Alicia Poreda-Modec (Eddie’s Mom).


  • 3 Eggs
  • ⅔ cup Pumpkin (canned)**
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¾ cup Flour

Cream Cheese Mixture

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons Butter (softened)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all above ingredients together thoroughly. Line a jelly roll pan or raised cookie sheet with wax paper. Grease wax paper lightly. Pour mixture on wax paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through. When done remove from oven and allow to cool only slightly.
  2. Take a dish towel about the size of the pan, lay it out flat, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Turn out cooked pumpkin roll on dish towel. Peel off the wax paper slowly and roll the pumpkin layer up long ways in the towel. Let cool ½ to 1 hour in refrigerator.
  3. Prepare cream cheese mixture by thoroughly mixing all ingredients together shortly before taking roll out of refrigerator from cooling.
  4. Unroll and spread cream cheese mixture on roll, covering evenly.
  5. Reroll and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before eating. You may also freeze the roll and thaw when ready.

**1 can of pumpkin will typically yield 3 pumpkin rolls, just triple all other ingredients**

Maple Smashed Sweet Potato Bake with Spiced Pecan Streusel | Submitted by Liz Good

I found this recipe when my family was on a sweet potato kick and I was asked to bring something for a holiday meal. I liked the idea of combining the potatoes with pecans and maple syrup. It was a huge hit and has been my go-to since. I’ve learned over time, it is best to just make a half batch or divide into two pans to take to multiple events. This recipe makes tons of food.  

Sweet Potatoes

  • 6 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup real maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Spiced Pecan Streusel

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour PLUS
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Sweet Potatoes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  2. In a large pot of water, bring sweet potatoes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 25 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain well.
  3. Transfer potatoes to a mixer and add butter and salt. Mix until butter is melted. In succession, add milk, syrup and beaten eggs, beating potatoes between additions and scraping down sides of bowl.
  4. Mix potatoes until smooth.
  5. Transfer potato mixture to reserved baking dish and smooth the top.


  1. In a small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, flour, pecans, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt well.
  2. Sprinkle evenly over potatoes.

Bake, uncovered, in a preheated oven for about 25 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are hot through and streusel is toasted and crunchy.

Polish Cookies | Submitted by Hannah Rock

My family on my mom’s side is polish and my grandma used to make these simple cookies for every holiday meal. My sister and I make them sometimes now (can be done gluten free) as a way of bringing our heritage out for the holidays.


  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 1 shot brandy
  • lard or oil for frying


  1. Beat eggs, egg yolks, salt and butter until thick and lemon colored.
  2. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar and brandy.
  3. Slowly mix in flour.
  4. Knead the dough for 3–5 minutes. The dough should be thick and will be a bit sticky.
  5. To roll, you will be working with small balls of dough. Keep the rest of the dough in the bowl, covered with a clean, damp dish towel.
  6. On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out very thin – 1/8th of an inch.
  7. Take a sharp knife and cut the dough into strips about 2″ wide. Then cut the other way on a diagonal to make pieces of dough that are about 2″ x 4″.
  8. Cut a small slit (1″ or less) in the center of each piece. To form the cookie, take one end and place it through the slit. Very gently pull the end of the dough through the slit to form a bow-shaped cookie.
  9. In a large pot or deep skillet, heat about 3–4 inches of lard or oil until very hot.
  10. Test the oil by putting in a small scrap of dough; it should sink to the bottom and then immediately float to the top. When this happens your oil is ready.
  11. Fry the cookies in small batches. Fry for about 30 seconds and then use tongs to gently turn the cookies over. The cookies should be barely golden brown.
  12. Drain on paper towels. Cool.
  13. Dust with lots of powdered sugar.

Nate Newton’s Corn Casserole | Submitted by Taylor Roberts

I grew up eating Nate Newton’s Corn Casserole recipe at almost every holiday meal. As I’ve learned over the years, it’s not a typical dish most people make for “traditional” holiday meals, but now I make it every year and bring it along to any friend or family holiday function for everyone to enjoy—it doesn’t feel like the holidays without it!

(If you’re not familiar, Nate Newton played for the Dallas Cowboys and helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in the 90s. During a radio interview before one of the Super Bowl games, Nate gave out this recipe. It now lives forevermore in a family recipe book from my childhood!)


  • 1 (8 1/2 oz.) pkg. corn bread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small (8 oz.) can cream corn
  • 1 small (8 oz.) can kernel corn, drained
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 stick butter or margerine


  1. Melt butter in 8x8x2 inch baking pan.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and pour into dish.
  3. Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serves 6.

Mexican Wedding Cakes | Submitted by Victoria Erickson

This is a family favorite and my very favorite cookie! They remind me of my family coming together on Christmas Eve when we’d break out the cookies before our big traditional Mexican family feast. (Why wait for dessert?) We nicknamed them cough balls since the powdered sugar makes you cough if you inhale at the wrong time.


  • 1 cup butter
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup chopped walnuts


  1. Mix all ingredients and roll by hand into small (¾” diameter) balls.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins.
  3. Roll in additional powdered sugar while hot and repeat when cool.

Yields 3 dozen.

Dinner Rolls | Submitted by Katie Houser

Here is my go-to recipe for dinner rolls:


  • 1 ½ cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Fill a large bowl with 1 ½ cups of warm water.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast and 2 tablespoons of sugar to the water and let it dissolve for 5 minutes.
  3. After 5 minutes, stir the water, yeast, and sugar together.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 cups of all-purpose flour. Use a mixer until combined.
  5. Take pauses while mixing to add a total of ½ cup of flour to the dough. You can stop mixing when the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is sticky to the touch.
  6. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until smooth.
  7. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and chill in the fridge for roughly 60 minutes.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cooking dish (ideally 9″x13″) with cooking spray.
  9. Remove risen dough from fridge and divide into roughly nine pieces. Knead into smooth circles and place in the cooking dish.
  10. Brush the rolls with melted butter and sprinkle with salt. Let the buttered rolls rise for an additional 15 minutes.
  11. Bake the rolls for roughly 13-14 minutes. They are done when the top has browned slightly – you can also test it by checking the inside of the middle roll for any undercooked dough.
  12. Brush the tops with a small amount of butter again right after removing them from the oven. Let sit for 10 more minutes before serving.

Yields 9 rolls.

Candied Yams | Submitted by Deedee Hosler


  • Yams
  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Marshmallows

Easy, buy the can(s) from the store and follow the instructions on the can. 

Bisquick Sausage Cheese Balls | Submitted by Matt Schlief

It’s easy! You can follow the recipe on the Bisquick box. Or you can make it your own and try different add-ins like bacon. I personally don’t do the fresh parsley. I also found that chorizo doesn’t work out so well as a substitute.


  • 3 cups Bisquick™ Original Pancake & Baking Mix
  • 1 lb uncooked bulk pork sausage
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese (16 oz)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or ½ teaspoon parsley flakes
  • Barbecue sauce or chili sauce, if desired


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease bottom and sides of 2 rimmed 15x10x1-inch baking pans.
  2. In large bowl, stir together all ingredients except barbecue sauce, using hands or spoon. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place 1/2 inch apart on pans.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through bake time, until brown. Immediately remove from pan; transfer to serving platter. Serve warm with sauce for dipping.

German Pancakes | Submitted by Sarah LaBarre

My mom made these for Christmas breakfast every year.


  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 Tbs butter


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. As oven preheats, place the butter in a 9×13 baking dish and put in oven for the butter to melt.
  2. Place the eggs, milk, flour, salt and vanilla in a blender; cover and process until smooth.
  3. Pour batter into the baking dish with the melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and puffy
  4. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with syrup and powdered sugar or fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar.


  • To keep German Pancakes from sticking to the pan, make sure you let the butter completely melt in the pan before pouring the batter in.
  • If you want to have more peaks in your pancakes, try swirling the batter when you pour so it mixes more with the butter! If you pour directly into the middle then the butter will push to the sides and that is where you will get your raised peaks!
  • I always prepare my batter in a blender! It’s so much quicker and easier to wash than a mixing bowl and it combines the batter better as well!

Sour Cream Cookies | Submitted by Alison Baumgartner

This cookie is always the hands-down favorite and a little celebrated Betty Crocker recipe from the 1950s. Add buttercream frosting and sprinkles, and you’ll not see these longer than an hour before they are hungrily swallowed down.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Mix sugar with shortening until completely incorporated.
  2. Add eggs. Mix, then add sour cream and vanilla extract.
  3. Add salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix in, and then slowly add flour until completely incorporated.
  4. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Spoon drop batter onto cookie tray with each cookie about 2 inches around.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Best to take it out before right before it browns.
  8. Cool, frost, decorate and enjoy.