Stories / Guides and Tips

Staff Picks: Holiday Desserts

JBF Editors

JBF Editors

December 09, 2015


One advantage of working in an office teeming with food-obsessed colleagues is that there’s a never-ending supply of culinary inspiration, which is especially handy around the holidays, when entertaining is in full swing. Below, some JBF staffers share the festive desserts that make an annual appearance in their own homes.

The James Beard Foundation's Victoria Jordan Rodriguez




Panettone Bread Pudding

“Panettone is a tradition in many Italian–American households, but up to five or six years ago, ours went untouched until January, staying in its pretty box while we polished off my mom’s cookies instead. Once we discovered the incredible bread pudding that you can make with this sweet, brioche-like loaf, a new tradition was born!”

—Victoria Jordan Rodriguez, Director of House Operations and House Events



The James Beard Foundation's Susan Ungaro




Magic Christmas Bar Cookies

“Ever since my children were little, making these super-easy bar cookies (I first found the recipe on the label of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk) has been part of the Ungaro family holiday tradition. It wouldn’t be Christmas without these treats!” Get the recipe.

—Susan Ungaro, President



The James Beard Foundation's Colleen Vincent




Caribbean Black Cake

“Every Christmas my mom makes pans and tins full of this delicious, rum-soaked cake, which is a carryover from her West Indian upbringing. Friends and family flock to my mom’s house so they don’t miss out.”

—Colleen Vincent, Manager of House Marketing and Reservations



The James Beard Foundation's Sandra Matias




Ginger Cookies

“Baking these warm, slightly spicy ginger cookies is a special holiday event in my family. My kids love to eat them, and best of all, we have so much fun together while making them.”

—Sandra Matias, Accounting Manager



The James Beard Foundation's Jen Roberts




Cinnamon–Pecan Brittle

“I love making candy around the holidays, and I often make this brittle from a recipe in the Culinary Institute of America’s Chocolates & Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner. It was a popular seller for me at a few winter farmers’ markets when I had my own cake business, and it makes a perfect holiday gift. And although it doesn’t happen with much frequency, any leftovers are great broken into small pieces and mixed into homemade ice cream.”

—Jen Roberts, Awards and Database Manager