Holiday recipes and memories

A couple of weeks ago, @Elon asked you to share your favorite holiday recipes and holiday memories. From funny stories involving siblings and friends to how to make "Goat Balls," here's what you told us.

Holiday Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Scones


Holley’s Holiday Memory

I was born at 12:05 a.m. on Dec. 26. That Christmas day, my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and a myriad of family friends all delighted in helping my mother count contractions. I was the first grandchild on both sides of my immediate family and so it was a very exciting event. My poor mother was in labor with me all day long. In honor of my yuletide arrival my parents named me Holley. Then, when I grew up, I married a man who’s last name is Berry.

Since that time, I have been Holley Berry and during every Christmas holiday from that point on,everyone I come in contact with takes great delight in teasing me about my name. You should try getting through customs during the holidays with a passport that says Holley Berry. I attract more attention than people on the terrorist watch list. And everyone I meet fancies themselves a comedian.

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons half-and-half
1 large egg
1.2 bag milk chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Powderered Sugar Glazze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk

Spiced Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

To make the scones:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork or food processor, cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, half-and-half and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a one-inch thick rectangle (about nine inches long and three inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have six triangular slices of dough. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 14-16 minutes. Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
To make the plain glaze:
Mix the powdered sugar and two tablespoons of milk together until smooth.
When scones are cool, use a brush to paint plain glaze over the top of each scone. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
As the white glaze firms up, make the spiced icing. Combine the ingredient for the spiced icing together. Drizzle this thicker icing over each scone and allow the icing to dry before serving (at least an hour). A squirt bottle works great for this, or you can drizzle with a whisk. 

Holley Berry, Administrative Assistant – University Relations


Holiday Cake Recipe

1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar
lemon juice
4 large eggs
Lots of nuts
1 bottle of vodka
2 cups dried fruit

Sample the vodka to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the vodka again. To be sure it is the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.

Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again. At this point it’s best to make sure the vodka is shtill OK.

Try another cup …. just in case. Turn off the mixerer. Break two leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick fruit off floor.

Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers pry it loose with a sdrewscriver. Sample the vodka to check for tonsisticity.

Next, sift two cups of salt. Or something. Who careshz. Check the vodka. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts. Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find. Greash the oven and wee in the fridge.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees F and try not to fall over. Don’t forget to beat off the turner. Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the vodka.

Fall into bed.

Cherry Mistmas!

Marnia Gardner, Program Assistant – International Studies, History, Geography, Sociology and Anthropology


Spiced Pork Chops (4 servings)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
1.5 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon dried basil
1.5 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon paprika
Pinch pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine above ingredients and dredge pork chops on both sides. In a skillet, brown the chops in 1-2 tablespoons of cooking oil on both sides. Place in a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

1 cup of ketchup
1 cup of water
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Combine above; pour over chops. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for an hour or until tender.

Easy and very tasty!

Pat Jones, Program Assistant – English and Human Services


Stephanie’s Holiday Memory

When I was a little girl growing up in the southern part of Alamance County, my best friend and I loved to cook. We loved to make up new recipes. Since we lived so far from town and could not get to a store easily, we decided we were going to make our own candy.

We both put in the things we loved to eat in a large bowl: chocolate chips, peanut butter and confectioner’s sugar. We added sweetened condensed milk to make it all “stick” together. With enough sugar we were able to roll them into small balls similar to Play-Doh. We were trying to think of a name for them. We couldn’t come up with anything. My friend’s older sister made fun of us constantly walked by and calmly referred to our new candy recipe as “Goat Balls.” We were mad and asked her why she said that. She said that they “looked like the neighbor’s goat’s manure and probably tasted like it too!”

After an hour or two in the refrigerator we brought them out to try. They were delicious! They tasted almost like an inside-out Reese’s Cup. We affectionately named them “Goat Balls” and I make them for my family at Christmas every year. 

“Goat Balls” or inside-out peanut butter cups

1 small bag of chocolate chips
2 cups of peanut butter
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
Enough confectioner’s sugar mixed in to make it stiff enough to roll into small balls (like Play-Doh)

Mix altogether with your hands. Roll into balls and place in airtight container. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy!!!

Note: I strongly suggest drinking a tall glass of milk with these. They are rich!

 Stephanie Hicks, Human Resources Specialist



 More Holiday Memories

Two traditions for us are: At Thanksgiving, we always watch Christmas Vacation and at Christmas, we now watch Love Actually.

George A. Taylor
Professor of Political Science



My best holiday story is about my twin sister, who in her early 20s nabbed a dream job because of her high intelligence and superior business savvy. She was off consulting with dot-com business in Australia and flew home to Washington, D.C., to check on her apartment before flying to small-town South Carolina to meet up with the family for the holidays.

Upon arrival — it was either Dec. 23 or 24 — she quickly unpacked her suitcase in the living room and pulled out the black sweater she had bought for my mother for Christmas. She often expected that I (the creative one) would help her wrap Christmas presents, so I was anticipating the delegation. The sweater, however, was dripping with some sort of unidentified liquid. She looked at my father and I in horror–my mother was not paying attention. She said:

“I packed a pecan pie in my suitcase. This is mom’s sweater.”

Without flinching or speaking, my father grabs the sweater and leaves the house. He’s a professor at the local liberal arts college (i.e., he’s intelligent too), and most people in town know him. He arrives at the local dry cleaner — sweater dripping with goo — where they know him by name, and asks if they can clean the sweater in time for Christmas. They ask what happened.

“My daughter packed a pecan pie in her suitcase.”

We learned that the pecan pie was home-baked in D.C., topped with a simple layer of tin foil, and wrapped in the sweater for “protection” during air travel.

I don’t think I have the recipe for the pecan pie.

Julie Lellis
Assistant Professor of Communications