Christmas Cookie and Recipe Swap

Monday’s Facebook Live included a recipe swap of international holiday-time traditional and favourite recipes. I’ve included several of them below — they were donated by the readers who attended the session, and they’re from all over the world.

Before we got to the recipes, though, we covered a few other aspects, including drooling over Audrey’s images, which included the books she won from me:

and her amazing and unique Christmas wrapping, made of teeshirts and penny candy, of which there are multiple photos on the Reader’s Hangout:…

We also talked about how going back to places you remember fondly can often turn out disappointing.

But the primary reason we were there was for the recipe swap.

And my, there’s some mouth-watering ones!

Kathy’s Pecan Shortbread

Kathy says: I always double this recipe. This recipe has been made in my family for as long as both my mom and I can remember.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 TBSP sweet cream
  • 1 cup finely cut pecans (food process until very fine)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for rolling cookies after baking


  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Sift together the flour and salt into a small bowl.
  3. In a larger bowl cream together butter and sugar.
  4. Add the sweet cream and mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture and combine well.
  6. Add vanilla and nuts.
  7. Form into small balls and place on cookie sheets.
  8. Bake until just barely starting to brown, 20-35 minutes or more depending on the size of the balls you made.
  9. Roll in powdered sugar while still warm.

Jhommie’s Pork Humba

Jhommie says: These are traditional Philippine dishes. We cook these food for special occasions and holidays.. I hope everyone will try it and enjoy.. 🙂


  • 1 pound pork (pork belly, pork hocks, and pork ham cut into cubes, about 2×2 inches)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 pieces star anise
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Marinate pork in soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, ground pepper salt in a bowl.
  2. Heat a large pan on the stove. Add the marinated pork and stir until it brown (cook over medium heat).
  3. Add the star anise and brown sugar. Add water, then cover the pan and let boil on medium for 25 minutes (add water as needed) or until pork totally absorbed the sauce and produces its natural oil.

Merrie’s Potica

Merrie says: My mom’s family is from Slovenia and one of the recipes that my great-grandma and grandma always made for Christmas is Potica (pronounced po-teet’-za). It’s a raised doughnut roll.


  • 1/2 Cup warm milk
  • 2 cakes yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 6 Cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 pound butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1/3 Cup sugar minus 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 Cup sour cream (Room Temperature)


  1. Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add sugar and let stand in a warm place until foamy.
  2. Place flour in large bowl and add salt, sugar, soft butter, beaten eggs and sour cream.
  3. Add yeast mixture and mix well.
  4. Knead until dough is pliant, which is about 10 minutes.
  5. Divide dough into three parts, grease each ball and place in separate greased bowls.
  6. Cover with wax paper and cloth and set aside to rise in a warm place for 1/2 hour.

Nut Filling:

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground walnuts
  • 1 cup white raisins (optional)
  • 1-1/2 Cups sweet cream
  • 1 Tablespoon orange rind
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 pound sweet butter
  • 1 Tablespoon brandy
  • 1/3 Cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon rind
  • 3 egg whites, beaten stiffly with
  • 1-1/2 Cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar


  1. Scald cream and pour over walnuts.
  2. Add butter and let it melt in the hot mixture.
  3. Add honey and sugar, mix.
  4. Add lemon rind, orange rind, vanilla, brandy and slightly beaten egg yolks; mix again.
  5. Fold egg whites into nut mixture and set aside.
  6. Roll out dough on lightly floured cloth to 1/4″ thickness.
  7. Spread 1/3 of the nut mixture over the rolled dough leaving about 4 inches of dough at one end empty. This makes a better top crust.
  8. Sprinkle 1/3 of the raisins over the walnut mixture and add a dash of cinnamon and handful of sugar over the top of the mixture.
  9. Roll as a jelly roll starting at the filled end.
  10. Seal the ends with a saucer dipped in flour.
  11. Place in a well-greased loaf pan with wax paper on ends of pan. Prick the dough with a toothpick. Cover with wax paper and a cloth; set aside to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes.
  12. Brush top with egg whites to which you have added just a little water.
  13. Remove the waxed paper prior to baking.
  14. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 1/2 hour.
  15. Lower heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 1/2 hour.
  16. When baked, leave the potica in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a rack to cool.

This recipe makes 3 poticas.

Note: My grandma made one big potica and curled it around in a 13″x 9″ x 2″ pan instead of making three little ones. If you do this, the dough will take up almost the entire top of the table when rolling it out. My grandpa used to help her roll it out and they used the rolling cloth to roll it into the baking pan.

You can also use other fillings with this dough: Poppy seed, sweetened cottage cheese, nut filling made with pecans instead of walnuts, etc.

My kitchen is too cold to make this recipe successfully. My grandma’s kitchen was small, hot and steamy when she baked and it makes a huge difference to how successful this recipe turns out.

Catarina’s Fried Pumpkin Cakes (Filhoses de Abóbora)

Catarina says: While I’ve lived (and enjoy the cold weather and snow) in Germany for a few years, my heart–and stomach–are Portuguese. So here is the recipe I suggested tonight.

Filhoses de Abóbora are Portuguese Fried Pumpkin Cakes. It doesn’t get much better than that. The combination of the sweet crunchy fried dough with a pumpkin scent and flavor, coated in sugar and cinnamon, makes for an unbelievable dessert. They are actually quite simple and easy to make.


  • 1.5 kg de-skinned and de-seeded pumpkin (you can use butternut squash as well)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon powder (for covering )
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (for covering)


  1. In a saucepan cook the pumpkin with the water and salt.
  2. Once the pumpkin is soft and tender, remove the pumpkin and let it strain most of its liquid. If you have a cheese cloth it is best for straining the liquid. If not use a regular strainer. This should take 3-4 hours.
  3. In a blender, add the pumpkin, rum, and sugar and blend it until it is a smooth and even consistency.
  4. Once done, pour it into a bowl and add the flour and mix it in well.
  5. Use a tablespoon and begin to knead the dough into balls for frying. If the dough does not have a strong enough consistency, add some more flour and knead it in accordingly.
  6. Pour a one inch layer of oil into a frying pan and begin frying the balls. Usually it takes about 1-2 minutes on both sides until they are golden brown.
  7. Fry them individually until they are golden brown, then set aside on paper towels to dry.
  8. Once they are all done and fried, cover the fried cakes with the mixture of sugar and cinnamon.

Merry Christmas!


Kathy’s Nutty Chocolate Caramel Bars

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen bars.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Pre-heat oven to 3500


  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 cups (12-ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped Walnuts
  • 1 cup (12.25-ounce jar) caramel ice cream topping


  1. Combine 2 cups flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add butter; stir until all ingredients are moistened. Reserve 1 cup crumb mixture; press remaining mixture into bottom of ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  2. Bake In preheated 350 degree F oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts. Combine caramel topping and remaining 1/3 cup flour in small bowl; drizzle over chocolate and walnuts. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Return to oven; bake an additional 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Jhommies’ Cheese Puto


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 36 pieces cheddar cheese, cubed


  1. Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix together water, evaporated milk, egg, and butter in another bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
  4. Spoon batter into 1-ounce muffin tins until 3/4 full. Steam for 10 minutes.
  5. Place a piece of cubed cheese onto the top of each puto and steam an additional 1 minute until the cheese is slightly melted. Remove from steamer and cool.

And there we go.

Do you have a favourite holiday recipe? You’re welcome to share on the Reader Hangout (here), and check to see if any others have been posted by other readers, too.

You can watch Monday’s FB Live replay here, and also on YouTube, here.

We will be meeting again next Monday, even though it’s Christmas Eve and everyone in Australia and New Zealand will already be unwrapping presents. It may be a short session…but I’ve said that before and had to wrap up 90 minutes later! (although usually, we hit around the 60 minute mark!).

Come and join the fun, and get some new-to-you recipes for the holiday season…among other things!

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