Eagle Eye Holiday Recipes



A festive fruitcake cooling on a rack beside a dozen Speculaas trees pointed towards a pair of yellowed Lussekater buns adorn in lights representative of the holiday season.

No matter what you believe or how you celebrate, there is no disputing that December is one of the most wonderful times of the year. Ice and frost glazing every surface, vibrant reds and greens take priority in holiday arrangments, and burning fires radiate a warm, golden glow on chilly, star-filled nights.

And of course, the food.  Below we share three traditional sweet treats in honor of three lesser-known Advent holidays and traditions.

In Central Europe, one of the most important Advent holidays is Saint Nicholas Day.

On this day the boys dress up in bishop’s robes and ask for donations to give to the poor, as when Saint Nicholas of Myra was a young man he inherited his parents’ vast fortune and spent that money to aid the poor and ill. Gifts are exchanged with lyrics attached and clogs are left outside with carrots, apples, and treats for Saint Nicholas’s team of horses.

At night Saint Nicholas will leave well-behaved children gifts under their pillows and sticks or coal for misbehaved kids.

In some areas, Saint Nicholas is accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht who shakes bags of ashes or lashes children who haven’t prayed. In the Netherlands, Saint Nicholas is known as Sinterklaas and is accompanied by Schwartze Peter who will put naughty children in bags and return to Spain to be judged by Sinterklaas and in Pennsylvania Dutch tradition Belsnickel will go around preparing children for the arrival of Saint Nicholas by gifting nuts and sweets to good kids, but lashing the bad ones.

So be good children…for goodness sake!

A traditional Dutch recipe for Saint Nicholas Day food is the Speculaas Cookie.


1 cup of flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of Speculaas spice mix

3/8 cup of brown sugar

1/3 cup of butter

1-1/2 tbsp of milk

Form a well with the powdery ingredients and fill with the dairy ingredients. Knead the ingredients together until consistent. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least a half-hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and roll out the dough and shape, cut or mold it. Bake for fifteen minutes.

In Scandinavia, one of the major Advent holidays is Saint Lucia’s Day.

On this day children dress in white robes and carry candles, lanterns, and baked goods as Saint Lucia would carry food down to Christians hiding in the Roman catacombs. When Saint Lucia would go into the Roman catacombs she would wear a wreath of candles, so a girl would be crowned with a similar wreath. Additionally, the boys will wear cone or star hats and sing with the chosen girl.

An iconic Swiss sweet of Saint Lucia’s Day is the Lussekatter.


6 oz of melted butter

2-1/2 cups of milk

3/4 tsp of turmeric or saffron

1 cup of sugar

1.7 oz of yeast

1/2 tsp of salt


Beaten egg


Combine the milk, butter, turmeric, sugar, salt, and yeast in a medium bowl. Slowly add enough flour to make it workable and knead for five to ten minutes. Let the dough rise in a covered bowl for a half hour. Then knead and shape the dough. Let the dough rise again for another half hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Glaze the dough with the beaten egg and press raisins into the center. Bake for 5 to 20 minutes.

In the United Kingdom, Christmas is celebrated slightly differently than here in the US. Instead of milk and cookies for Santa, it is a mincemeat pie and brandy. They still do caroling in the UK but in Southern Wales, a tradition of dressing like Mari Lwyd, a horse skull in a pale cloak, and singing for food is still practiced.

A traditional holiday food from the UK is the Fruitcake.


1-1/2 cups of red candied cherries 

1-1/2 cups of green candied cherries 

3 cups of candied pineapple

1 pound of walnut halves

10 oz of golden raisins

1 cup of shortening

1 cup of sugar

5 large eggs

4 tbsp of vanilla extract

3 cups of flour

3 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp of salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and combine the fruits and nuts. In a separate bowl cream, the sugar, and shortening and slowly combine all the remaining ingredients. Slowly pour the batter over the fruit mix and stir. Transfer to a greased and floured 10” tube pan and bake for two hours.