O Christmas Treat, O Christmas Treat

Help yourself to an online alumni recipe exchange

By Rita Buettner  |  Photos by Treasa Beyer Matysek and Rita Buettner

For this year’s Christmas at Loyola Advent calendar, we invited our alumni food bloggers to share a few holiday recipes—and I offered to post one, too. After all, we’ve been talking a lot about food here at Loyola magazine; we just published a food issue this summer.

When I couldn’t think of any recipe I had that was particularly Christmasy, I called my mother.

“Do we have any family holiday recipes?” I asked.

There was silence.

“Maybe your father’s cookies?” she said, thinking of my father’s spritz cookies—which we always called “electric cookies” because he used an electric-powered cookie press. “But he makes those year-round.”

“Your pumpkin pie?” I asked. “Pumpkin cookies? The punch?” Same problem. We consume all of those at other times of the year. They aren’t strictly holiday recipes.

Suddenly I realized I had never had holiday staples such as egg nog, fruitcake, or even plum or figgy pudding.

What could I possibly offer? And then I remembered.

Two years ago, when we were planning the first Christmas at Loyola site, I decided to make a recipe to post on St. Lucy’s feast day, Dec. 13. My sister, Treasa Beyer Matysek, ’05, helped me and we embarked on an evening baking session.

At the end of it, we had produced one item that would have been a complete failure if we hadn’t laughed so much while making it, and another—a Santa Lucia Crown—that was lovely, though a bit labor-intensive for those of us who consider Italian ice a perfect dessert.

I haven’t made the Santa Lucia Crown since, but Treasa and I often talk about what fun we had—and how beautiful it was when we finished. It’s not overly sugary and has the sweetness of a European dessert, such as a panettone, and it goes well with a cup of tea. It also looks rather impressive.

And the Santa Lucia Crown sure beats a bowl of figgy pudding—or it would if I ever tased figgy pudding.

You can find out how to make it here.

Meanwhile, here are some holiday recipes from food blogging Greyhounds who truly create wonders in their kitchens. Pick one, try it, and let us know what you think.


Zacusca, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Fried Chicken Livers, from Greg Bissonette, ’05


Braised Lamb Shanks, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Grilled Leg of Lamb Stuffed wth Apricots, from Greg Bissonette, ’05


Pretzel Turtle Bites, from Dawn Hayden Witman, ’03

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookie Sandwiches, from Cailin Gibbons, ’10

Cinnamon Roll Cookies, from Dawn Hayden Witman, ’03

Chocolate Chip Carrot Cake, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Flourless Chocolate Cake, from Greg Bissonette, ’05

Skinny Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, from Erin McDermott, ’11

Have a recipe you’d like to share? Send it to magazine@loyola.edu, and we’ll add it to our online recipe box.

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