North Whidbey community serves up holiday favorites

Mayor Scott Dudley and wife, Christine, show off some of the holiday goodies she’s baked this year. One of the mayor’s favorites is a fudge that he makes himself each year. - Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times
Mayor Scott Dudley and wife, Christine, show off some of the holiday goodies she’s baked this year. One of the mayor’s favorites is a fudge that he makes himself each year.
— image credit: Jessie Stensland / Whidbey News-Times

In the spirit of the holidays, the Whidbey News-Times collected favorite recipes for holiday desserts and dishes from an assortment of community members who bring cheer to the kitchen.

Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley has a favorite recipe for fudge, which he makes every holiday season. He said he would like to take credit for it, but it came from a jar of Kraft’s Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme.

Fantasy Fudge

3 cups of sugar

3/4 cup of butter or margarine

1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk (about 2/3 cup) (do not use sweetened condensed milk)

3 pkg. (4 oz. each) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate chopped

1 jar (7 oz.) Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme

1 cup chopped Planters Walnuts

1 tsp. vanilla

Line 9-inch square pan with foil, with end of foil extending over sides. Bring sugar, butter and evaporated milk to full rolling boil in 3-qt saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook 4 min. or until candy thermometer reaches 234 F, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and marshmallow creme, stir until melted. Add nuts and vanilla, mix well.

Pour into prepared pan, spread to cover bottom of pan. Cool completely.

Use foil handles to lift fudge from pan before cutting into squares.


Sarah Richards, owner of Lavender Wind Farm, offers this lavender-inspired recipe, which she described as a simply dish to make. Culinary lavender is available at Lavender Wind shop in Coupeville.

Chicken with Balsamic Lavender Marinade

2 Chicken breasts

1/2 C Soy Sauce

2/3 C Olive Oil

2 Tbl Mirin (Rice wine)

1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 cup Brown Sugar

2 Tbl finely chopped onion

2 tsp Ground Culinary Lavender

Mix all but the chicken breasts for the marinade. Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts and put in glass pan and cover with the marinade. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to 4 hours, turning the chicken from time to time. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cook the chicken in a glass pan and drizzle the marinade on top from time to time as it’s cooking. It is done when it’s at 165 F (internal temperature).

Serve with potatoes or pasta.


Marv Koorn, North Whidbey Fire and Rescue chief, was very enthusiastic about sharing his recipes. Here’s one of several:

Hard candy

3 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup light Karo syrup

1 cup water

2 teaspoons LorAnn oil flavoring

Food coloring of your choice

Over medium heat, stir sugar, Karo and water altogether. Simmer to 310 F on candy thermometer. Remove from heat and quickly stir in food coloring  and LorAnn oil. Pour over powdered sugar, which is covering a large sheet of foil. Cool, then break into edible-sized pieces. Recommend to use cinnamon and red food coloring.


Here’s a recipe from Gloria Hartley, an Oak Harbor resident, season-ticket holder and supporter of Whidbey Playhouse.

Here’s a recipe from Gloria Hartley, an Oak Harbor resident, season-ticket holder and supporter of Whidbey Playhouse.

Fruit and Nut Holiday Tea Bread

Choose your favorite combination of colorful dried fruits in this simple nut bread. Serve thinly sliced or package mini loaves for gifts.

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup plain yogurt (or fruit yogurt)

1/3 cup canola oil

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest

1 (6- to 7-ounce) package mixed fruit bits

3/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat one large 9x5-inch, two medium 8x4-1/2-inch or three small 5x3-inch loaf pans.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and soda. Set aside.

In a medium bowl stir together sugar, yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla and zest. Stir in dry mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in dried fruit and nuts. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake large pan 50-55 minutes, medium pans 35-40 minutes, small pans 30-35 minutes or until well-browned on edges and pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan(s) and cool completely.

Stir together powdered sugar and enough orange juice to make a pourable glaze. Drizzle over cooled bread.  Makes 1 large loaf or 3 mini loaves.

Use fruited yogurt, mixed fruit bits, toasted almonds and pineapple juice instead of orange juice.


Here’s a recipe from Mary Jackson, retired Oak Harbor Junior High physical education teacher. Submitted by Allenda Jenkins, her daughter, from Oak Harbor. Jenkins is former Whidbey Playhouse president and current board member.

Jackson Family Sweet Potato Pie

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, separated

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup butter, melted

12 ounce can of evaporated milk or 1/2 cup evaporated milk

Pillsbury Pie Crust

Mash sweet potatoes in large mixing bowl. Mix flour, sugar, spices and salt in a small bowl. Separate eggs in two bowls. Set aside egg whites. Beat egg yolk until it is all mixed together. Melt butter in another small bowl.

Combine the sugar, flour, spice and salt with the mash potatoes. Blend until smooth. Add the egg yolks to the mixture. Next, blend in the vanilla and melted butter. Blend until smooth. Add the evaporated milk to the mixture. Blend until smooth. Beat the egg whites until foamy and frothy but not stiff. Stir fluffed egg whites in to the batter.  Pour batter in to pie crust.

Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F. Bake for 40 minutes until the center is set. Test with toothpick. Cool. Serve with whipped cream.


This recipe comes from Jan Ellis of Oak Harbor. Ellis is longtime Holland Happening entertainment chairperson. The recipe is a family tradition carried on by her daughter Alana.

Candy-Cane Cookies

1 cup shortening

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla

21/2 cups sifted enriched flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

1/2 cup crushed peppermint-stick candy

1/2 cup sugar

Mix together well the shortening, powdered sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla. Sift together flour and salt. Add to shortening mixture. Mix well. Divide dough in half. Blend into one half of the dough and the red food coloring. Roll 1 teaspoon of each color dough into a strip about 4 inches long. Place strips of each color side by side. Press lightly together, and twist like a rope.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Curve top down to form handle of cane. Sprinkle with a mixture of the crushed peppermint candy and sugar. Bake in a 375-F oven for 9 minutes. Yields about 4 dozen cookies.


Oak Harbor Chamber Director Kathy Reed, who has amazing skills at cake decorating, offers a recipe with Scandinavia written all over it.


10 pounds potatoes, peeled

1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cover potatoes with water and cook until tender. Run hot potatoes through a potato ricer. Place into a large bowl. Beat butter, cream, salt, and sugar into the hot riced potatoes. Let cool to room temperature.

Stir flour into the potato mixture. Pull off pieces of the dough and form into walnut size balls. Lightly flour a pastry cloth and roll out lefse balls to 1/8 inch thickness.

Cook on a hot (400 degree F/200 C) griddle until bubbles form and each side has browned. Place on a damp towel to cool slightly and then cover with damp towel until ready to serve.


Capt. Mike Nortier, commanding officer of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, prefers this classic.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 Cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 Teaspoon baking soda

1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon salt (optional)

3 Cups Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)

1 Cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.


Island County Commissioner Jill Johnson offers a Wassail recipe handed down to her from Grandma Winkle.


2 quarts apple cider

1-1 1/4 cups sugar

2 tsp. whole allspice

2 tsp. whole cloves

6 cinnamon sticks (I add more...but I LOVE cinnamon)

1 quart cranberry juice

1 pint orange juice

1 1/2 cups lemonade

Combine cider and sugar in large saucepan.  Tie allspice, cloves, and cinnamon sticks together in cheese cloth, add to cider.  Cover, simmer 15 minutes. Remove Spices (we never did!) Add remaining ingredients, simmer 10 minutes.  Serve hot.

Makes 1 gallon.


Connie Steadman offered this recipe during the Soroptimist International of Oak Harbor 2013 Christmas Home Tour.

No-Bake Lemon Balls

2 cups finely crushed, crisp unfrosted sugar cookies

1 cup toasted hazelnuts, almonds or pecans, finely chopped

I cup sifted powdered sugar

1/4 cup light color corn syrup

2 tablespoons orange, coffee or almond liqueur

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/3 cup sifted powdered sugar

2 teaspoons lemon edible glitter (optional)

Combine crushed cookies, nuts 1 cup powdered sugar, corn syrup, liqueur and butter into a mixing bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon until well-mixed. Shape into 1 inch balls. Combine with 1/3 cup powdered sugar and, if desired, edible glitter. Roll balls in the powdered sugar mixture before serving. Chill or freeze for longer storage. Makes approximately 40.

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