Some people call it The Most Wonderful Time of the Year because of the cheer in the air, some because of the scenic snow, some for the holiday tunes. But here at Playbill, we think it’s because of the food, glorious food. We asked the casts and creatives of Broadway’s current offerings to share with us the recipes that mean the most to them and, boy, did they deliver.
Thanks to Ethan Slater (SpongeBob SquarePants The Broadway Musical), Major Attaway (Aladdin), Ntomb’khona Dlamini (The Lion King), Jonathan Raviv (The Band’s Visit), Evan Todd (Beautiful), Ben Jacoby (Beautiful), Emma Pfaeffle (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Walden Sullivan (School of Rock), Kirsten Tucker (A Bronx Tale), Ashley Bryant (The Play That Goes Wrong), Kara Lindsay (Beautiful), Petrina Bromley (Come From Away), Stephen Flaherty (Once On This Island, Anastasia), we have an array of appetizers, main courses, and desserts for you to whip up at home—whether you need a dish for a Christmas potluck, a late Chanukah party, or a New Year’s bash.
And thanks to this diverse group of actors, the origins of these recipes span the globe, from Israel to South Africa to Canada to Cuba.
Find your favorite below and let us know which one you end up cooking by tweeting @playbill with #Bwayholidayrecipes.
ETHAN SLATER, SpongeBob SquarePants in SpongeBob SquarePants The Broadway Musical
Lox and Latkes
The story: A new tradition based on an old one.
2 shredded potatoes (sometimes I add some sweet potato!)
1/4 cup shredded onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons (almond) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
Instructions: Place the potatoes in a cheesecloth and wring, extracting as much moisture as possible. In a medium bowl stir the potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot. Place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture into the hot oil, pressing down on them to form patties. Brown on one side, turn and brown on the other. Let drain on paper towels.
For Poached Eggs:
Splash of white vinegar
Instructions: Boil lightly salted water. When it reaches a light boil, turn the heat down and make a whirl pool with a big spoon. Crack two eggs into a bowl, then pour into center of whirlpool. After four minutes, remove from water and drain.
Assemble: Combine all of them! I often make homemade hollandaise sauce, but sometimes (as pictured) I’ll sprinkle with “everything bagel seasoning” (salt, garlic, seasame seeds, pepper). The runny yokes are sauce enough for me. Add sour cream, apple sauce, or jam for the extra latkes. Oh yeaaaaahhhhhh. Happy Hanukkah!
NTOMB’KHONA DLAMINI, ensemblist in The Lion King
Extra virgin olive oil
Green red and yellow peppers
Bush's vegetable beans
Fresh mint leaves
*You can add any other seasonings/spices you like
Instructions: In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, give it a minute or two. Stir in all the spices; continue stirring for about a minute to let the flavors bloom. Then add garlic, peppers, carrots, and cabbage. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burns. Finally add baked beans, stir, and continue cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Adjust for seasonings. Serve warm.
Read More: CELEBRATE THE LION KING’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY WITH LOADS OF BEHIND-THE-SCENES STORIES AND MORE AT PLAYBILL.COM/LIONKING
MAJOR ATTAWAY, Genie in Aladdin
The story: This is my aunt’s recipe for Gumbo. My grandfather is from New Orleans so we are always influenced by it in the kitchen. This is my favorite dish I can always count on to be magical. It’s all about that roux baby!
Blue crab 5 to 6
Snow crab 4 to 5 clusters
2 packages of Andouille sausage
6 pounds of shrimp cleaned with tails off
1 lg pack of chicken thighs skin off
1 gallon water
2 cups flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 stalks celery
I large yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
Cajun seasoning about 3 tablespoons
Instructions: Brown flour and oil together to make your roux, while the roux is browning chop the celery, onion and garlic together and brown in a separate skillet. Once the roux is dark brown add sautéed veggies and seasoning to roux and mix together until pasty. Add water and bring to a boil and throw in bay leaves. Once mixture at a boil add the chicken to cook for 25 minutes, once those are done add the sausage and lastly the seafood. Continue to boil for 5 minutes until all seafood done and season again to taste. Serve over hot rice.
JONATHAN RAVIV, Sammy in The Band’s Visit
Chicken Schnitzel and Israeli Salad
The story: Every kid in Israel grows up eating chicken schnitzel (whether homemade or from a frozen bag). This is my mom's recipe. Schnitzel can be served with ketchup for kids or lemon for more discerning tastes. Paired with the Israeli salad gives it a nice sauce for dipping. We also, usually serve it with mashed potatoes or rice.
For schnitzel: Prepare a bowl of beaten eggs (can slightly dilute with some milk to make it a bit more runny), a plate with flour (seasoned with salt and pepper) and bread crumbs (the purists like original flavor - no spices - but some people like Italian or even panko). The number of eggs and amount of flour/breadcrumbs depend on the number of chicken breasts that you prepare.
Take a big, deep skillet and fill with vegetable/canola oil (about a half an inch, depending on the number of chicken breasts) on a low to medium flame.
While that's heating up, take the thawed, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and coat with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs (in that order) and then place in hot oil until golden brown.
For Israeli salad: Cut up tomatoes, cucumbers (Persian/hot house are the best), bell peppers if you like and add chopped parsley. Salt and pepper to taste, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and good olive oil to taste. Serve and enjoy.
Evan Todd, Gerry Goffin in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Escarole Soup from Romeo's Kitchen
The story: My mom always makes my Grandfather Romeo’s Escarole Soup. It’s a holiday tradition and reminds me how very Italian we are.
5-pound whole chicken
3 stalks of celery (chopped)
1 large onion (chopped)
1 1/2 pounds of ground meat
1 head of fresh garlic
2 cups parmesan cheese
Instructions: Cook chicken, chopped celery, and chopped onion in pot of water/broth until the meat falls off the bones. Remove chicken from broth, cool, and cut up into pieces. Return the cut up chicken into pot of broth sprinkle some Italian seasoning to broth. Make meatballs by rolling the ground meat and fresh-pressed garlic into balls. Sprinkle meatballs with Italian seasoning, dip the meatballs in beaten egg, roll in breadcrumbs, and fry in oil over the stove. Add fried meatballs to the chicken broth pot. Place 2 large heads of escarole (or 3 little ones) in a separate pot until wilted. Cool and cut escarole and add it to the chicken broth pot. Separately, beat 6 eggs in a bowl and mix in 2 cups of parmesan cheese. Pour mixture into hot skillet to make omelet. Chop up the omelet and add to the soup.
BEN JACOBY, Barry Mann in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
Elsa’s Christmas Pierogi
1 cup milk
1/4 lb butter
1 1/2 packages of fresh yeast
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 pint sour cream
2 Tsp baking soda
1 pound bacon
1 pound ham
2 large onions
1-2 Tbs pepper
For the dough: Heat butter until it is melted and allow to cool. Pour milk in. Mix in small bowl: the fresh yeast, sugar, and a little of the cooled milk mixture. Beat 2 eggs into the milk mixture. In a separate bowl, mix sour cream and baking soda. Add this to the milk mixture. Knead flour in to the mixture to make a moist, but not sticky, dough. Allow to rise to double the volume.
For the filling: In a large fry pan, sauté 1 pound bacon finely chopped and drain much of the grease before adding 2 large onions finely chopped. Cook onions until translucent and then add 1 l pound boiled ham finely chopped. Add black pepper (about 1-2 Tsp) to taste – the mixture should be very savory.
Assemble:Take small ball of dough and spread it into thin small round (3 inches in diameter). Place filling in the middle and seal tightly. Bake in 350 degree oven until light brown.
EMMA PFAEFFLE, Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The story: This is a Cuban staple that's been in my family since I can remember.
2 Cans of Goya Black Beans, or Dry Black Beans (soak them over night to get them soft and ready to cook)
1/2 an Onion
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Green Pepper
2 Tsps of Cumin
2 Tsps Oregano
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Bay Leaves
Salt as Needed
Instructions: Mince onion, garlic, pepper, and tomato put into a big saucepan on medium heat until soft and simmering. Add all spices and vinegar. Add beans after spices have fully cooked into veggies. Cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes or until beans have softened. Serve with white rice for the perfect side dish to your holiday meal with the fam!
WALDEN SULLIVAN, Lawrence in School of Rock
For the Crust:
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter until evenly coated. Press mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
For the Filling:
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 eggs, whisked
Instructions: In a medium saucepan, whisk together cream and milk. Warm over medium-low heat. Add in chocolate and stir until chocolate has completely melted and is smooth. Slowly add in vanilla and whisked eggs, and whisk until smooth. Pour chocolate filling into baked pie crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chocolate filling is set and does not jiggle when pie is lightly shaken. Remove from oven. Spread the marshmallow fluff. Blowtorch the pie (or keep it plain, but blowtorching is fun).
KIRSTIN TUCKER, ensemblist in A Bronx Tale The Musical
Chocolate Pecan Pie
The story: My mom got the recipe from her grandma, so my great-grandma!
2 squares (1 oz) of unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons butter (I use salted)
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
Unbaked pie crust
Instructions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Beat eggs and mix in the sugar, vanilla, salt, and corn syrup. Melt the chocolate and butter together on the stove. Once melted, add chocolate mixture to batter. Stir in the pecans. Pour into 8- or 9-inch unbaked pie shell. Bake for 50 minutes (or until it shows signs of cracking, but is still slightly wobbly in center).
ASHLEY BRYANT, Annie in The Play That Goes Wrong
3/4 c. sugar
1 (8oz) block of cream cheese (softened)
2 bananas, sliced
1can pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple, drained
1 (12 oz.) container Cool Whip
1 large package frozen strawberries, sliced
Optional: 6-10 large whole frozen or fresh strawberries
Instructions: Cream sugar and cheese together. Fold in other ingredients. Optional: Top with whole strawberries. Freeze for 2 or more hours. Set out 30 minutes before serving.
KARA LINDSAY, Cynthia Weil in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
The story: This is my mom’s biscotti recipe! It’s sacred. She bakes these delicious Italian cookies every single year. It something my family all looks forward to! I’m going to attempt these suckers this year. Wish me luck!
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp Calumet baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 squares baker’s semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup chopped Walnuts
Instructions: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in chocolate and walnuts. Shape dough into 2 (14 x 1 1/2 inch) slightly flattened logs. Place 2 inches apart on greased and floured cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Place on cutting board and cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut each log into diagonal slices about 3/4 inch thick. Place slices upright on cookie sheet 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly dry. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 36.
PETRINA BROMLEY, Bonnie and others in Come From Away
“Something called toutons?”
The story: To begin, it’s pronounced tout-in. Tout, rhymes with doubt, plus in, rhymes with...in. As in, I won’t be doubtin’ you’ll enjoy your touton. I first made toutons for the Come From Away cast and crew when we were in La Jolla. We had a bonfire on the beach one night and I fried up some Newfoundland toutons in a pan on a barbecue. It was kind of magical out under the stars, with the soft sound of the surf behind us and the laughter of this new little family in front of me, and the smell of nan’s bread. To be so far from home, bringing a piece of home to the people who were telling a story about home so they could understand home a little more. I had never made toutons outside on a beach in California before and I wonder if I may be the only one who ever has.
Toutons are basically a breakfast doughnut. It’s not really a pancake but its sort of a pancake. Its left over bread dough, fried in butter and served with molasses and more butter. These buttery biscuits are an old tradition in Newfoundland and Labrador. They date back to the time when every day began with fresh baked bread. The big, three bun, golden, warm, white bread that wouldn’t fit in a toaster because the top spilled out over the pan and bloomed up into a buttery cloud of deliciousness. The kind of bread that you can smell when you think about it. Any dough that didn't tuck neatly into the rectangular pan was not to be wasted, and some evil genius decided to fry that sad ugly duckling of a flour ball into a glorious, butter-browned swan called the touton.
There’s no official consensus on who fried the first touton. No one knows why they are called toutons. Traditionally they were fried in fat back pork and served with scrunchions (what’s left of the pork you fried the toutons in). We’re more health conscious these days so we use butter or vegetable oil.
Apparently, there is no standard ‘basic bread’ recipe out there. Some use milk, whole or 2 percent, some use oil or shortening or butter, yeast, no yeast, self-activating or regular, bread flour or all- purpose, or self-rising. And the older generation, who baked several loaves daily for their families, just keep it all in their heads and cook by feel. For a hilarious example please, please check out this post.
I use self-activating yeast, because I’m lazy. Matter of fact, I’m so lazy I’ve even used frozen pizza dough instead of making my own. They were still delicious.
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 package yeast
1 cup water 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus 1 tablespoon - 1/4 cup for kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted or at least soft
Instructions: Combine sugar, yeast, salt and half the flour in a bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl combine butter and water and mix well. Add the wet ingredient mixture to the dry ingredient mixture. Slowly fold in the remaining flour. Mixing by hand is tedious but it’s how I roll. If you have a fancy machine with new-fangled bread attachments, fill your boots. My nan stirred by hand with a wood spoon in a ceramic bowl and that’s good enough for me.
Wash your hands.
You want to achieve a soft but solid ball. You will abandon the spoon and start using your hands pretty early. It’s goopy and clingy and gluteny but getting your hands dirty is half the fun. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl often and peel the dough that’s sticking to your hands back into the bowl. Then you’ll look like a real nan who knows what she’s at. Once the dough ball has lost any trace of lumps, or it’s no longer clinging to your fingers, sprinkle a cutting board or your clean counter with flour. Remove the dough from the bowl and start kneading. It will be about 8-10 minutes to properly knead the dough. Get in there and tenderize that puppy. Sprinkle more flour to avoid sticking but not too much. Once the dough springs back from a poke, it’s ready. Dust some flour on the surface of the bowl, put the kneaded dough back in the bowl and cover it with a towel. Nan would use a tea towel. Leave it to rise for about an hour, preferably somewhere warm.
Once the dough has risen you are ready for toutons!
Butter, as much as your conscience will allow fancy (sweet) molasses, or real maple syrup, as above dough. Heat a skillet or frying pan, I use cast iron, on med-high heat. Melt about a tbsp butter. Punch the risen dough down to deflate it. Pull egg-sized pieces of dough from the main ball. Stretch and press the egg-sized pieces into a pancake shape. Place in the pan and fry, turning as needed. Basically brown both sides. The objective is a crisp, gold brown outside and a tender, cakey inside. I like to use a spatula to flatten them as they fry so they’re less puffy. It helps maintain a manageable shape of touton. Serve topped with butter and molasses or maple syrup. Some people like to add jam. I like to top them with molasses butter, which is just butter whipped with molasses. It’s also just awesome.
STEPHEN FLAHERTY, composer Anastasia and Once on This Island
Champagne Dark Chocolate Truffles and White Chocolate Cranberry Holiday Cookies
The story: Having two shows running simultaneously on Broadway brings amazing joy to my husband, Trevor Hardwick, and myself. We are so enamored of our beautiful casts for Anastasia and Once On This Island that we wanted to find a way to show our appreciation for all the love, dedication and artistry that they put forth every day. It has become something of a tradition on two-show days to make treats and deliver them to their respective theatres. (Trevor is the chef. I am only the delivery boy.) Since there is much more to a company than just the actors involved, we figured we would need to make about ten dozen pieces per company for everyone to get a treat.
As Trevor explains, “To make the same recipe for both shows might be easier but would be a little monotonous. Realizing this early on I’ve tried to make two separate recipes, ranging from cookies to chocolate truffles and occasionally peanut brittle.” We recently had a request for a treat that would fit a Ketogenic-based diet. Trevor’s solution: “An almond butter treat made with cocoa powder and coated with coconut flakes.” Problem solved!
This week’s offering to the Island company was Champagne Dark Chocolate Truffles, while the company of Anastasia received White Chocolate and Cranberry Holiday Cookies. (Note: Trevor had tried out this recipe on the Anastasia company while we were in Hartford trying out the show. A double tryout!)
Champagne Dark Chocolate Truffles - Yields Approx. 50-60
16 ounces bittersweet chocolate (finely chopped)
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter ( room temperature)
2 Tablespoons Cognac Dutch Processed cocoa powder for dusting
Instructions: Put the chocolate in a heat proof bowl large enough for all the ingredients. Bring cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Stir in concentric circles with a spatula until mixture is smooth and silky. Let rest for a minute and add the soft butter. Stir in circles until melted and blended. (A hand held blender ensures a silky result). Stir in the cognac. Place the mixture in a container and place in fridge until cool. When cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours. When chilled and firm it is time to shape the truffles. Fill a bowl with the cocoa powder. Take teaspoon sized balls of the ganache and shape with your hands into balls or truffle like logs. They will not all be the same which is the look of a true truffle. (Rubber Gloves are helpful). Roll the truffle in the cocoa powder. Place on a tray and cool again in the fridge. Keep finished truffles refrigerated until serving.
White Chocolate Cranberry Holiday Cookies – Yields Approx. 4 Dozen
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1⁄2 teaspoon Salt
1⁄2 teaspoon Cinnamon
21/2 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
1⁄2 cup Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tablespoon Honey
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
11/2 cups Dried Cranberries
1 cup White Chocolate Chips
Instructions: Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and stir in the oats. Set aside. Beat the butter and both sugars together with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add honey and vanilla and mix until blended. Add the flour in two additions and mix until just combined. Stir in cranberries and chocolate chips. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop the dough in heaping teaspoons and set about 2 inches apart. Bake until the centers are still soft but the edges are slightly browned. Approximately 10 minutes. Let cool slightly and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a sealed container.