Chicago artists and designers share favorite family holiday recipes

Terry’s Mom’s Kourambiethes Greek Short Bread Cookies (YASOU)

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10 ounces blanched almonds \

1 pound softened sweet unsalted butter

2 egg yolks

3 to 4 C + 1/4 C sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 shot glass of cognac

2 to 2 1/2 C sifted Swans Down cake flour

All-purpose flour as needed to help shape the cookies if a little sticky

Greek Ouzo to splash on cookies


Preheat oven to 350F. lightly toast the almonds over low heat in the oven (they should turn light brown), Do not burn.  Chop/crush set aside.

In a large bowl with electric mixer set at high speed, beat soft butter, egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the confectioners' sugar, and baking powder until smooth and creamy, 6 to 9 minutes.  Add almonds and cognac mixture and beat for another 4 to 5 minutes until smooth.

Add 1 3/4 cups of the sifted cake flour to the butter mixture and knead by hand. Add remaining flour in 1/4 cup increments until just enough flour has been added to make a silky, smooth dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.  Knead for 5 to 8 minutes. 

Take a little piece of dough about the size of an unshelled walnut and shape it into a mounded conical round, oblong, or oval. Repeat with remaining dough. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, of until the cookies are a pale yellowish golden color (not golden brown or chestnut hues; that would be over baked.)

Remove cookie sheet from oven and place the cookies on a wire rack, splash lightly some ouzo on them with your hands.  Cool slightly, and then sift 3 to 4 cups of confectioner's sugar over the cookies until they are completely doused. Store in tins.

Manvee's One Pot Biryani (TerraKlay) 

1 1/2 C of Basmati rice
1 medium onion thinly sliced
1 medium potato, cubed
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 C frozen mixed vegetables
2 T vegetable oil
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
Ginger finely grated to taste
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp tumeric powder
2 cardamons
1 stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
1 T butter
1/2 T salt
3 C water
1 1/2 T Biryani masala
Lime (as garnish, squeeze to taste)



Heat pan + oil; Add cumin seed, cardamon, cloves + cinnamon stick. Add the onions + sauté for about 1 minute, then add garlic and ginger. Reduce the heat and add all the vegetables starting with the potatoes. Add the turmeric powder and biryani masala and salt. Add the rice, mix well and add the water and butter. 
Let it come to boil and reduce heat to lowest setting. Cover and let cook for 18 minutes. Turn heat off and let sit for another 5 -7 mins without opening the lid. Squeeze the lime, fluff the rice and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Benedicte's Grandmother's Norwegian Krumkaker (Bella & Olive)

Tools needed: Krumkaker iron and cone form
½ C unsalted butter
¾ C granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C whole milk
3 T water
¾ tsp fine salt
2 T cornstarch
1 ½ C all purpose flour
Optional: whipped cream and fresh berries
1.Place butter in a medium skillet (preferably not nonstick or cast iron so that you can more easily see the color change) and heat over medium low heat, swirling the pan frequently. Once the butter has melted, continue to cook over medium low, swirling the pan frequently, until the butter has a nutty aroma and is golden brown in color. Don’t walk away from the stove! Brown butter can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds. Transfer brown butter to a bowl to cool.
Whisk salt, cornstarch and flour together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Combine granulated sugar and eggs in a large bowl and whisk until fully combined and no lumps of sugar remain. Slowly whisk in cooled brown butter and vanilla extract. Keep whisking until the mixture is emulsified and cohesive.
Add milk and water and whisk until fully combined. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Rest batter for 30-45 minutes at room temperature.
Working with 1 tablespoon of batter at a time, bake cookies on a krumkake iron, either an electric model or one that goes on the stove, according to manufacturer’s instructions. It may take a few tries to get the hang of how your iron works so be patient. 
Remove the hot cookie from iron and place it on a clean kitchen towel. Quickly, while the cookie is still hot, carefully roll the krumkake around a cone-shaped form. Use the towel to help start the rolling process if the cookies are too hot for your fingers. The sooner you begin rolling the better. The cookies will almost immediately start to harden as they cool and become difficult or impossible to roll into a cone shape. Let the rolled cookie rest with the form inside, seam side down on the clean towel, while the next cookie is baking. Remove the cone form and transfer krumkake to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining batter. 

Daisy's Holiday Cheesecake (Little Buddha) 


1 can of condensed milk

1 8 oz package of queso fresco

2 large eggs


Blend condensed milk, queso fresco and eggs in a blender. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake at 375 degrees for 30-45 min. Chill, top with fresh berries, serve, enjoy!

Shelby’s Mom’s Chocolate Mint Dessert (Shelby Roller Studio)


Cake Layer

4 eggs

1/2 C softened butter

1 C flour

1 C sugar

1 16 oz can Hershey's syrup

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9x2 inch pan. In a large bowl, combine eggs, butter, syrup, flour, and sugar; beat until smooth. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes. Cool Completely.

Mint Cream Center

2 C confectioners' sugar

1/2 C softened butter

1 T water and 3 drops green food coloring

3/4 tsp mint extract

Combine all ingredients and beat until smooth. Spread on cooled cake; cover and chill for at least one hour.

Chocolate Topping

6 T butter

1 C semisweet chocolate chips


In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt butter and chocolate chips, stirring to incorporate. Remove from heat and stire again until mixture is smooth. Pour chocolate topping over the chilled cake. Cover and chill for one hour. Cut into bars.

Tonya's These Can't Be Vegan Blueberry Muffins (Shop Small Chicago) 

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Makes 6 - 8 muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Spray muffin tin with oil
1 1/4 C oat milk
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 C flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 T cornstarch
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 T lemon zest
1 1/2 C blueberries (or more to taste!)
Make the vegan "buttermilk" by combining oat milk with apple cider vinegar and set aside. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients flour, sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Add the "buttermilk", oil, vanilla, lemon zest and blueberries and mix just enough to combine ingredients. Do not overmix. Fill about halfway to top of muffin tin. Bake in hot oven for 20 mins until lightly brown or toothpick draws clean. 

Enjoy! Happy Holidays!