Recipes For the Holidays

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Scones

These sweet scones can be the perfect treat for a holiday party or a unique recipe to share as a gift. With simple instructions and only 30 minutes combined prep and cooking time, they appear and taste far more complex than they are. So break out your baking gear and get ready to enjoy these sweet, seasonal scones!


  • 2 cups cake flour (9 oz.) or whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ stick/6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and frozen for ½ hour


step 1Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, cherries, and chocolate chips in a large bowl.
step 2Whisk together the buttermilk and egg in a second bowl. Using the tips of your fingers, blend the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Quickly, stir in the buttermilk mixture just until the mixture turns into a sticky dough. There should still be visible clumps of butter in the dough.
step 3Gently pat the dough out on a floured surface into a 8-inch diameter circle approximately ¾-inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 wedges and place each on the baking sheet leaving a few inches between.
step 4Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden. The scones are best eaten the day that they are baked.

chef’s notes

1. Be sure to use a gentle hand when working with the dough. Overworking the dough will result in a tough scone.

2. If you don’t have buttermilk in the house, you can make a reasonable facsimile. Measure a teaspoon and a half of lemon juice or cider vinegar into a measuring cup, pour in 2% or whole milk into the cup to measure a total of 1/2 cup of liquid. Let sit for 5 minutes.

image of oatmeal scones & ingredients in a mason jar beautifully layered for a christmas gift


Atole, Warming Up the Holidays

Here is a great drink that Latinos love this time of year. It is used year round but especially around the holidays and Christmas. This great tasting cup of warmth keeps you toasty all through the cold winter months. I love the aromas of cinnamon, allspice, and ginger floating up into the air as I sip it, not to mention making the whole house smell good too from making it. I’m sure you will enjoy Atole, it can become a Christmas time favorite too with your family.

So give it a try and let me know how you like it.

Leslie La Gringa

image of Pumpkin Atole in a cup

Atole de Calabaza/Pumpkin Atole (Vanilla/Strawberry) Atole will keep well refrigerated for two to three days. though it will thicken. To reheat, combine with a small amount of milk or water and stir over low heat until warmed through.

  • 3 cups fresh pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed into 1-inch chunks
  • (pumpkin can be substitutd with 1 tbsp of Vanilla or Strawberry flavoring)
  • 3 ounces piloncillo, roughly chopped*
  • 1 teaspoon whole anise seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (not needed with Van. or Strawb. substitutes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (not needed with Van. or Strawb. substitutes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground clove (not needed with Van. or Strawb. substitutes)
  • 1 pinch of sea salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup masa harina (corn flour)
  • 1 cinnamon stick, whole (preferably Mexican canela)
  • Sugar to taste
  • *Whole cane sugar also known as panela and sold in Latin American markets.

In a large heavy pot, combine the cubed pumpkin, piloncillo and spices with 1/4 cup of water. Set over medium heat and stir frequently until the the piloncillo melts. Continue to cook, covered, until the pumpkin falls apart, about 15-20 minutes. Purée in a blender or food processor until smooth.

In a large heavy pot, combine the water, milk and cinnamon stick and bring to a high simmer. Lower heat and whisk in the masa harina in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly to eliminate any lumps. Add the puréed pumpkin and simmer until slightly thickened but still pourable, about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with added sugar to taste, and garnish with candied ginger.


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