Grandmother's Holiday Recipes

Family celebrations include pecan pancakes, a date dessert, and buttermilk sugar cookies.

| Fall 2017

  • Old vintage mixing bowl and wooden spoon on a table with flour and eggs.
    Photo by Getty Images/Diane Labombarbe
  • Nanni'es Special Pancakes are topped with nuts and banana slices, and covered in maple syrup.
    Photo by Getty Images/rojoimages
  • Angel's Delight is a bar-type dessert that combines dates and nuts.
    Photo by Patricia Plake
  • Buttermilk Sugar Cookies in the shape on gingerbread men are a must for the Christmas holiday.
    Photo by Getty Images/WillieDavis

If you're looking for some new dishes to try this holiday season, I invite you to celebrate with a few of my family's favorite recipes, made legendary by my grandmother.

My beloved grandmother was famous – well, almost famous – for her Southern-style pancakes. Most of the people in the valley where she lived in Arkansas, in the 1930s, knew of “Nannie’s" pancakes, because she made them for every church gathering, supper or breakfast, for 30 years. They were, without a doubt, everyone’s favorite breakfast dish, no matter the time of day.

Another favorite recipe from my grandma is Angel's Delight. I've never tasted anything that even closely resembles this delectable treat. It was a tradition in our family for her to make this concoction every Christmas, and her handwritten recipe card is yellowed and stained from many years of keeping the tradition alive.

My grandmother also made sugar cookies for the holidays, and they were above and beyond delicious. When we were kids, my brother, sister, cousins, and I had a great – and messy – time decorating them. This recipe card is also old and faded, and barely decipherable, so it's a good thing I made a copy of it many years ago.

Nannie's Special Pancakes

It's important that all the ingredients are measured accurately – no rounding off or guessing. Plan to have everything ready ahead of the pancakes, which will cook quickly and need to be served while they're hot.

Before cooking the first pancake, test the griddle for the correct temperature. To test, sprinkle a little cold water on the griddle. If it sizzles, drop about a dime size amount of batter on the griddle. Wait one minute before turning it over to see if it's light brown. If it's not, increase the heat of the griddle and do another test. On the other hand, if the bottom is too brown, reduce the heat, wait a minute, and repeat the test.

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