Our Favorite Holiday Recipes at AdventureWomen

It’s that time of year again where we pull out all the stops to get ready for the holidays. This includes baking “trade secret” unique recipes we’ve collected over the years from family and friends. As we get ready for the 2018 holidays, we’re excited to share some of our favorite holiday recipes with you.

Although Thanksgiving is over and most of us have had enough turkey to last us all year, there are a few dishes that are as good in December as they were in November. Katie’s favorite holiday recipe is French apple pie. Without fail, for as long as she can remember, she makes a pie on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Annie E’s “go-to” pie recipe is a cognac-laced pumpkin pie with “all the trimmings”. Eliza shares her ideas for giving food as gifts over the holidays, Kristen, her recipe for ricotta cheese cookies, Erica shares her German ‘cinnamon-star’ cookies, and for Annie C., her favorite holiday indulgence is pecan puffs. We round out our holiday recipes with a delicious take on a savory breakfast casserole.

From the kitchen at AdventureWomen to yours:

Holiday Pie Recipes

Katie’s French Apple Pie


  • 2 cups cold, cubed butter plus 1.5 tablespoons of shortening (or more butter if you’d like!)
  • 5 cups of flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon of sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons of ice water

Mix dry ingredients, then cut butter and shortening into the flour mixture with a pastry blender. Gradually add a tablespoon of water at a time until the dough comes together. Form into a disc and refrigerate at least a half hour.

Apple mixture:

  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 5 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • Slice and peel 7 to 8 medium Macintosh apples; mix until juicy.

Crumb topping:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine butter and sugar; add flour and cinnamon until mixed.

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the crust, pour in the apple mixture, and spread the crumb topping. Cover the crust with foil to prevent browning. After 40 minutes, remove the crust foil and cover the crumb topping. Bake another 10 to 20 minutes until pie bubbles.

Annie’s Pumpkin Pie with All the Trimmings

Note: Makes 2 pies


  • 2 cups pumpkin (canned)
  • 6 beaten eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup cognac
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped preserved ginger
  • 1/2 tsp mace
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  1. Beat eggs and add to sugar, pumpkin and heavy cream. Add cognac, salt and spices.
  2. Chop up preserved ginger into little pieces. Add to pumpkin mixture.
  3. Place in pie shells (pre-bake if you have time with pie weights).
  4. Back at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool.
  5. Add whip cream topping before serving.

Gift Ideas Perfect For Foodies

Eliza loves to scour the internet for delicious foods that can be given as gifts over the holidays. She has created English muffins, granola encrusted nuts, whole grain cinnamon swirl bread, and maple apple pear butter. This year, she’s making toffee and the German cookies called Zimtsterne.

Eliza’s Recipe for Toffee

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted)


  1. In medium-heavy saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and salt together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk or wooden spoon until the temperature approaches 250F, at which point you should stir constantly until it reaches 300F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook it to the hard crack stage.
  2. Pour immediately onto a cookie sheet — it spreads more evenly with a offset or silicon spatula. Pour the chocolate chips over the toffee and let them melt, then spread the chocolate evenly over the candy base.
  3. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the chocolate.
  4. Let the toffee set for about 2-3 hours or chill 30 minutes in the fridge.
  5. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Zimtsterne: Erica’s favorite “cinnamon-star” German Cookies

Erica likes to make and give out these classic German cookies, Zimtsterne (Translated to cinnamon-stars), as gifts. They are fun and tasty, and contain no flour.


  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
  • 7/8 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger


  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees and line a large baking tray (or 2 smaller) with baking parchment. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk until foamy. Add the lemon juice and whisk again until they hold soft peaks.
  2. Slowly mix in the icing sugar and continue whisking until the mixture is stiff. Remove about a quarter of the meringue mixture and set aside to use for the topping. Put the almonds, cinnamon, ginger and lemon zest in the bowl with the meringue and mix to form a stiff, slightly sticky dough.
  3. To form the stars, put the dough on a piece of baking parchment lightly dusted with icing sugar and dust the top of the dough with sugar, too. Place a second sheet of parchment on top of the dough and roll out to about .25 inches thick (the dough is a little sticky, so the parchment makes it easier to roll). Peel off the top sheet of parchment and use a 2-inch star cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as possible. Place them on your prepared baking tray.
  4. Using the reserved meringue mixture, spread a small amount onto the top of each cookie, covering the entire top – you may need to add a few drops of water to make the meringue a little easier to spread. Put the tray in the oven and bake for 12-15 mins until meringue is set but not browned. Allow to cool fully before storing in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

*Recipe adapted from Good Food Magazine, December 2013.

Decadent Holiday Desserts

Kristen’s Ricotta Cheese Cookies

From one of our AdventureWomen Ambassadors, Kristen


  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 16 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups flour
  • Icing: Confectioners’ sugar, milk, and sprinkles


  1. In a very large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat all ingredients except the flour until well combined.
  2. Add flour and mix until well combined.
  3. Cover and chill the dough for 2-3 hours or overnight. These can be prepared with dough at room temperature, but it’s much easier to work with when chilled.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Roll the dough into small balls and place about 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Don’t let them get brown.
  7. After baking, the cookies will be soft at first. They will firm up as they cool. Using spatula, move cookies to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.
  8. Once cool, prepare icing, frost, and enjoy!

Annie’s Pecan Puffs (aka “snowballs”)

Rich, devastating and oh so simple from AdventureWomen Ambassador, Annie C.


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (a nut grinder works best)
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Beat butter until soft; add sugar and mix until creamy. Stir pecans and sifted flour into the butter mixture. Roll into small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  3. While still hot, roll cookies in confectioners’ sugar. To glaze, put the cookie sheet back in the oven for a minute. Cool and enjoy!

Savory Holiday Breakfasts

We would be remiss if we did not include one savory item. This breakfast casserole is perfect for when you want to enjoy a relaxing morning, and you can customize it based on preferences. Do the prep the night before, refrigerate overnight, and bake the next morning. Voila! Stress-free breakfast for one – or eight!

Holiday Breakfast Casserole

  • Loaf of bread (your choice!)
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 6-8 eggs
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard


  1. Cook 1 pound of bacon and chop into small pieces.
  2. Butter 6-8 pieces of bread; cut off the crusts and then cube. Distribute bread, bacon, and cheese in greased 13×9 pan.
  3. Beat 6-8 eggs in a medium/large bowl; incorporate the milk, salt, pepper, and mustard. Pour liquid over the dry ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next morning, bring the casserole to room temperature while preheating the oven to 350. I usually sprinkle extra cheese on top for browning. Bake for 45 minutes until just set. Let rest 5 minutes, cut, and enjoy!

Your turn, Adventure Women! We would love to hear from you. What are some of your favorite family holiday recipes?