An AVANT Thanksgiving

Every family has at least one recipe that comes from a long tradition of Thanksgiving dinners.  You know, the one that brings a flood of fond family memories to mind the moment you smell it wafting from the kitchen. The one where second helpings is a foregone conclusion and the question at hand is, “Thirds?”

We asked our AVANT family to share their favorite recipe traditions this Thanksgiving so that we could share them with you.  From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Carrot Puff – Karli Togami, Order Processing Specialist

My mom has made this every year since I was a little girl. The first year that I was allowed to help my mom make it, I accidentally left the top off the blender, and it splashed ALL over the kitchen and us! It was a huge mess, but we all laughed so hard… it’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories to this day!  It’s an elegant carrot dish inspired by the popular Thomas Caterers of Distinction. It may sound a little odd… but it is YUM! If you don’t believe me, you should definitely try it yourself!

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
4 ounces butter (1 stick), melted
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Salt to taste


  • Preheat oven to 275º.
  • Cook carrots in salted water till well done. Drain well.
  • Melt butter. In a blender, combine eggs, melted butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and vanilla. Blend well. Add carrots. Blend till combined*.
  • Bake in a greased 8 x 8-inch glass dish for 45 minutes, or until just firm. I used 3 smaller ceramic baking dishes and reduced the time.

*Editor’s note: We suggest you double check that the blender’s lid is secure 😉

Parker House Rolls – Scott Sawyer, Senior Partner Manager

My wife makes this every year.  She is the youngest of 5 children and each member of her family is an amazing cook – all starting with her mother.  We go to her sisters in the upper east side of NYC for Thanksgiving every year.  The group is her 5 siblings, her parents, 10 cousins from 12 years old to 25.  So many great memories every year! This is the money recipe!

6 cups all-purpose flour (about)
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened, divided
1 large egg


  • In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; add 1/2 cup margarine or butter (1 stick). With mixer at low speed, gradually pour 2 cups hot tap water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F.) into dry ingredients.  Add egg; increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, scraping bowl with rubber spatula.  Beat in 3/4 cup flour or enough to make a thick batter; continue beating 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl.  With spoon, stir in enough additional flour (about 2 1/2 cups) to make a soft dough.
  • Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes, working in more flour (about 1/2 cup) while kneading.  Shape dough into a ball and place in greased large bowl, turning over so that top of dough is greased. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place (80 to 85 degrees F.) until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. (Dough is doubled when 2 fingers pressed into dough leave a dent.)
  • Punch down dough by pushing down the center or dough with fist, then pushing edges of dough into center.  Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead lightly to make smooth ball, cover with bowl for 15 minutes, and let dough rest.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In 17 1/4-inch by 11 1/2-inch roasting pan, over low heat, melt remaining 1/2 cup margarine or butter; tilt pan to grease bottom.
  • On lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin, roll dough 1/2 inch thick. With floured 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut dough into circles.  Holding dough circle by the edge, dip both sides into melted margarine or butter pan; fold in half.  Arrange folded dough in rows in pans, each nearly touching the other.  Cover pan with towel; let dough rise in warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
  • Bake rolls for 15 to 18 minutes until browned.

Grandma’s Easy Peasy Corn Pudding – JP Tucker, Director of Product

The recipe originated with my grandma and has since been carried on by my mom, so it was a staple of Thanksgiving for many years.  In college, when I was responsible for making a dish to make for Friendsgivings, I needed a tasty option that even a cooking dunce like me could make.  Corn pudding fit the bill!  It’s what I make whenever I am obligated to cook for Thanksgiving now, assuming my mom’s not there to make a better version of it…

1 can of corn, drained
1 can creamed corn
1 package corn muffin mix
1 cup sour cream
½ stick butter, melted


  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Mix corn, muffin mix, sour cream, and butter in large bowl
  • Pour into greased casserole dish
  • Bake for ~45m, until golden brown
  • Easy peasy!

And for the centerpiece of every Thanksgiving dinner, the Turkey…

Italian-Style Turkey – Tiffany Mariani, Channel Manager

My family is about as Italian as it gets. Italian was the language of choice in our home growing up with my grandparents and parents being right off the boat from Bari, Italy! We have the stereotypical big Italian family with my 3 sisters and about a million nieces and nephews. Our thanksgiving is SUPER traditional…Italian.

You may be thinking, “Thanksgiving is an American holiday, what Italian tradition”?  Exactly.  But my grandmother and mother have put their Italian stamp on Thanksgiving.  I can tell you how, but you’ll have to marry into my family to get the exact recipe!

Crushed tomatoes
Parmesano Romano cheese
Ground 80/20 Beef
1 Turkey

So many Thanksgiving traditions are centered around cooking the turkey with dressing/stuffing, but ours is stuffed with ground beef!  Mix the ingredients in a bowl with the ground beef and then stuff it inside the cleaned body cavity of the turkey.  The turkey cooks with the beef, and then we serve the turkey and beef over spaghetti with traditional Italian red gravy.

Creme Brulee Cookies – Yours Truly!

And one more thing! I would like to leave you with this gift (you’re welcome).  The most delicious dessert you will ever make! Seriously. These little treats are exactly what heaven would taste like… If heaven were a perfectly perfect cookie.

While these haven’t been a long standing tradition in my house, they will be from now on. I first made these last year, for an annual cookie exchange (which always turns into a cookie contest). While looking for a new, non traditional cookie to make, I stumbled upon this recipe and I KNEW I had to try it. First of all, I absolutely LOVE creme brulee. And if you feel the same way about creme brulee that I do, these are an absolute must-make. (If you don’t, you have bigger issues to worry about than what to make for Thanksgiving!)

I ended up winning the contest with these babies, and decided to take the recipe home with me for Christmas to try on the family. My whole family was instantly hooked, and insist I make these every year going forward… which works for me because they really are SO deceptively simple to make.

Want to win Thanksgiving this year? Here is your recipe!

Makes 30-32 Cookies

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. baking soda

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350° and line two cookie sheets with parchment. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla.
  • In another bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt, then add mixture to wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Dough will be thick.
  • Place tablespoon balls of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake until edges are starting to brown, 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Make frosting: Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  • Put sugar into a small bowl. Spread some frosting onto tops of each cookie, then press into granulated sugar, coating frosting with sugar.
  • Just before serving, use a kitchen torch to caramelize sugar on top, then set aside to cool. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, heat broiler and broil cookies until sugar caramelizes, 1 to 2 minutes (watch carefully!). Store cookies in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!