Panhandle Milling’s 2020 Guide to Holiday Entertaining

Some things come standard with a holiday party: friends, family and good times. But to make your holiday party stand out, especially to make it a stress-free party, consider the following additional steps:

We know who the big kids on the block are when it comes to holiday baking. Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to be here before we know it and at Panhandle Milling, we are already looking forward to the parties, fun, Christmas desserts,  friends, and family the season entails.

One of our three core tenets is people and we’re counting down the days until we can hold our family, friends, and loved ones close to celebrate the season, get back together, back to basics, and spend some quality time with our favorite recipes.

Holiday Parties 101

Some things come standard with a holiday party: friends, family and good times. But to make your holiday party stand out, especially to make it a stress-free party, consider the following additional steps:

Create lists

Being prepared lets you enjoy the party without being stressed. That includes recipes (which we will get to later) but should also incorporate a few things you may not have thought of, such as

  • Who should I invite and how?
  • How do I keep my home smelling nice?
  • What kind of party games will be played?
  • What time of day will the party begin and when does it end?
  • What am I going to do for food?

Decide on a budget

The holiday can get expensive and a little decoration here and a couple of replacement bulbs there and you’ve blown through your budget before you even get halfway through the advent calendar. At Panhandle Milling, we are all about reducing stress — which is why those awesome holiday recipes are on their way — which is why we recommend deciding on a budget and sticking to it. Be sure to provide a little wiggle room for unforeseen expenses but you don’t want what is supposed to be a fun gathering breaking the bank.

Cook ahead of time

Less time in the kitchen means more time with guests. And spending time with people is the whole point of a party in the first place. And if you haven’t spotted our theme yet, cooking in advance also helps reduce stress. Prepping in advance gives you time to make memories. So let’s get to those recipes!

Choosing the right recipes for your holiday party 

When people say goodbye at the end of the night the first thing they talk about is going to be the food. Heck, they’ve probably already been discussing it with the other guests all night. Set yourself up for compliments with big flavors and set yourself up for low-stress with some recipes you can prepare in advance and take little prep work.

Recipes served at room temperature 

The last thing you want is somebody coming to you with a cold meatball telling you the Sterno is out. You also don’t want an awesome hot clam dip impressing as soon as it comes out of the oven then having guests watch it die and become crusty over the course of the evening. Seek out food that can be at room temperature for extended periods without reducing in deliciousness. Oftentimes that means baked goods!

Mastering Christmas Dessert recipes for that infamous holiday cookie exchange 

The cookie exchange sounds like a great idea until the night before when you still need to decide on a recipe, AND go to the grocery store, AND cook eight dozen cookies.

Panhandle Milling is here to help — we can save you a trip to the grocery store now, just buy some of our amazing baking flours from our online store. And we’ve also got holiday cookie recipes formulated by our in-house chef with our very own flour.

Tailoring your cookies to a variety of tastes, flavors, and dietary restrictions adds a whole level of complexity. Our different flours, grains, and gluten-free products make honing in on a recipe easy. And we are adept at substitutions, such as coconut oil for dairy-free or vegan and alternative flours. We’ve got you covered.

Finding the right holiday baking recipe for any occasion

The holidays are a wonderful time to pay homage to family and long-honored family recipes. It is also a great time to try that new thing you read about on that one blog. Choosing the time and place is key here.

The extended family brunch

The extended family brunch is a great opportunity to pull out a long-forgotten recipe and dress it up with some modern techniques and make it your own. When somebody asks where you got the recipe to mention the family connection for extra brownie points. 

The neighborhood cocktail party

We recommend the family recipe but not exactly how it has been handed down from generation to generation. Take a few creative chances. If it doesn’t work you can laugh it off and you don’t have to worry about mean Aunt Karen complaining it wasn’t just like grandma’s.

The office holiday party

Just like workplaces vary, our recommendation is going to vary. Trying to impress that stuffy boss for a promotion? Go for the traditional family recipe to show you have been around for a while and can execute. Looking to let loose with your happy hour co-workers? Go for something fun and funny they’ll enjoy wolfing down after the drinks have been flowing. A decadent Christmas dessert would be a great choice here. 

The Christmas morning breakfast

Goes without saying: traditional all the way. Christmas morning is one of those times that the old standbys make us feel warm and cozy. Feel free to add in new recipes and maybe create new traditions, but don’t forget: play the classics.

Panhandle Milling’s Best Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipes

Best Ever Organic Rolled Sugar Cookies


1 ½ C organic butter, softened

1 ½ C organic granulated sugar

4 organic, pasture-raised eggs

2 tsp organic vanilla bean paste or high-grade extract

½ tsp organic almond extract

½ tsp organic ground nutmeg

5 ½ C Organic Grains All Purpose Flour

2 tsp baking powder, aluminum-free

1 tsp salt


  1. Wash and sanitize all work surfaces and tools before baking.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
  3. Beat in eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and nutmeg. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix well. The dough should be stiff.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out dough on a well-floured surface ¼ to ½ inch thick. Roll thicker for softer cookies.
  5. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven. Cool completely. Frost if desired. Enjoy! 


Soft Ginger Molasses Cookies


¾ C butter, softened

1 C sugar

1 large egg

¼ C blackstrap molasses

1 tsp Vanilla

2 ½ C Navajo Pride Unbleached All Purpose Flour

2 tsp freshly grated ginger root (or 1 tsp dry, ground ginger)

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cloves

1 tsp salt

12 C Raw Demerara sugar, to garnish


  1. Wash and sanitize all work surfaces and tools before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, molasses, and vanilla. Combine in the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Gradually add in the creamed mixture and mix well.
  3. Roll into 1-½ inch balls. Then roll in the raw sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees until puffy and lightly browned, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks and cool. Enjoy!

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