Question of the Issue: What’s Your Favorite Holiday Treat?

UConn Foundation
UConn Foundation

4 min read

We couldn’t resist asking a few UConn friends what tickled their tummies over the holiday season, when Grammy’s recipes are pulled out of the cabinet and a fine sheen of powdered sugar seems to dust everything.

Here are some of our favorites.

Susan Herbst, President, University of Connecticut

Easy. Mexican wedding cookies because they are refined and delectable…the only non-chocolate cookie that needs no chocolate!

Elsie González, Office for Diversity and Inclusion

My favorite holiday treat is Puerto Rican coquito! It’s our version of eggnog, but it is coconut flavored with anise, cinnamon, ginger, and rum. Batches are made soon after Thanksgiving and in the house through the New Year! It makes a cheerful holiday season

Pamela Schipani, Executive Director of Residential Life

Home-made peanut brittle! I used to watch my mom make it every year and now I make it for my family and friends.

Ray Reid, Head Coach, Men’s Soccer

My wife’s whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce. I try to stay away from it all year, but at this time of year I can’t resist.

Julia Werth ’17, Editor of The Daily Campus

Stuffed dates. Every year my dad and I make them together on Christmas, just as he and his mother did. They aren’t something I eat any other time of year, so biting into them tastes purely of Christmas.

Anne Diamond, CEO, UConn John Dempsey Hospital

I love this time of year for all the sights and sounds of the holidays. In our family, we celebrate Hanukkah, two favorites are latkes (potato pancakes) with either sour cream or applesauce. Half the fun is making them and the other half is eating them. The second favorite is sufganiyah, which is a round jelly doughnut. The best part about these holiday treats is the fun of making them with family and friends. We also light the menorah for eight nights, the lights of the candles against the dark winter night warms your heart and the smell of the cooking from the kitchen bring a smile to all.

Terrence Cheng, Director, Stamford Campus

Christmas cookies, unnecessary amounts of chocolate, and some time off!

Jeffrey Crouse, Assistant Dean and Chief Operating Officer, Neag School of Education

Spiced pecans and almonds my wife makes every year.

Mo Cotton Kelly, Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations, UConn Foundation

My own homemade sugar cookies. I typically give them as gifts and rarely indulge myself however, this year I helped myself to a few and since been pairing them nicely with a cup of coffee.

Dennis Pierce, Director, Department of Dining Services

My mother was Ukrainian and for the holidays I found myself in the kitchen in our home in New Hampshire helping her make Polish cookies called kolaczki. They are made from a cream cheese dough that bakes up buttery and flakey. They are filled with either apricot, plum, almond paste, or poppy seeds. Recently in some bad rainy weather, I knocked out about 12 dozen of these for my kids and some for gifts. Each bite brings back memories of my childhood. Maybe that was my start in my food service career.

Josh Newton, President and CEO, UConn Foundation

The thing I look forward to this time of year is pumpkin pie!

Chris Hyers, Chief Communication Officer, UConn Health

My wife is the classic Christmas baker, so the choice is hard, but I can admit I have a Scotcharoo problem. The peanut butter, chocolate and rice crispy bar can be consumed breakfast, lunch, dinner or the middle of the night. It’s a Midwestern classic, and I want them right now (which is why she has to make multiple pans…they seem to evaporate)

Faith Celeste McCarthy ’18, Forward on the UConn Women’s Soccer team

Warm roasted chestnuts: They’re a simple treat, easy to prepare and cook, and they don’t taste quite the same any other time of year.

Annemarie Seifert, Director, Avery Point Campus

Anything I make with my six-year-old nephew, Michael, and four-year-old niece, Alexandra. Because it is the time we spend together that makes it my most favorite and sweetest treat.

Shawn Kornegay, Publicity & Marketing Administrator, Neag School of Education

Tamales — ever since I’ve been married to my husband, 25 years in February, we’ve enjoyed eating tamales as part of a Mexican feast on Christmas Eve. We’re from California, and this is common out there. His family makes them from scratch, and now I make them the weekend before Christmas to enjoy on Christmas Eve and throughout the holidays.

Rob Landolphi, Culinary Operations Manager, Department of Dining Services

As a child, I would spend Christmas with my Grandma Anna in Brooklyn, New York. She would spend hours in the kitchen preparing all types of Italian delicacies that would cover the table come Christmas Eve. One of my favorite treats were her struffolis, a little Neapolitan honey cookie. These marble-sized dough balls are fried quickly to give them a light delicious cake inside and a crunchy outside layer. Then they are covered with honey, sprinkled with powdered sugar and sometimes red, white and green nonpareils. When my grandma passed away, I was given her hand-written cookbook with her secret recipe for struffolis. These favorite cookies will now be enjoyed for many holiday seasons to come.

Stefanie Dion Jones, Director of Communications & Digital Strategy, Neag School of Education

Homemade pierogis! My aunts and cousins get together every year and make them in mass quantities for our big Polish Christmas Eve dinner.

Send your answer to the next question of the issue: What is your favorite sports memory? Your response may appear in the next issue of Inside UConn Nation, which hits inboxes in March. Be sure to include your full name, class year (if applicable), and hometown!
Submissions are closed for this question. See if your memory made it into the next issue of Inside UConn Nation!

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