Holiday Baking with Julie + Jesse

Holiday Baking with Julie and Jesse
Photography by Matt Armendariz / Recipe Development by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous / Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairnes

As best friends who share the food blog Julie & Jesse, chef Julie Tanous and award-winning actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson love to kick it in the kitchen. We visited them in Los Angeles to see how this dynamic duo bakes up the holidays in style. For some of their recipes, look to Julie and Jesse’s favorite holiday sweets lineup

Julie Tanous whisks together flour and spices, and Jesse Tyler Ferguson chops pecans. Sleeves rolled up and aprons on, the friends stand side by side at the long wooden island in the kitchen of his Spanish Colonial abode, tucked into a Los Feliz hillside. Jesse’s dog, Leaf, stands on high crumb alert at their feet, and sunlight pours through the kitchen windows, illuminating a work surface scattered with egg shells, sugar, measuring spoons, and spatulas. When it comes to baking for the holidays, these two don’t mess around. Well, for the most part.

Holiday Baking with Julie and Jesse
Photography by Matt Armendariz / Recipe Development by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous / Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairnes

Julie and Jesse both have a mutual love for Los Angeles-made Hedley & Bennett aprons. You won’t find them baking without one. To purchase our new Exclusive Bake from Scratch Hedley & Bennett apron, visit our online store.


Bette Midler’s greatest hits album blares—Julie is certain she and Jesse will both be reincarnated as 60-year-old women, she says—and two rocks glasses await the hefty pour of bourbon they’ll share in Jesse’s plush library room after their day in the kitchen. Or perhaps they’ll sip outside by the turquoise-tiled pool. After all, it’s sunny and 65. Merry Christmas from Southern California.

Holiday Baking with Julie and Jesse
Photography by Matt Armendariz / Recipe Development by Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Julie Tanous / Food Styling by Marian Cooper Cairnes

She’s a Southern sweetheart with some killer culinary chops, and he’s a talented performer with a passion for entertaining both on and off the screen. After randomly meeting at a pop-up dinner, Julie and Jesse became fast friends, and have been gabbing it up and cooking together ever since. Both Jesse, who is best known for his role as “Mitch” on the Emmy-winning series Modern Family, and Julie, a former private chef who now works as a recipe developer, lead healthy lifestyles, but during the holidays, it’s all about the sweets.

Like most, the friends’ busy schedules are even more hectic during the holidays, but when December rolls around, Jesse and Julie make time to get elbow deep in flour and bake the nostalgic treats of their childhoods as well as recipes they’ve created together.

“A lot of holiday traditions we were raised with fall by the wayside when we get older and develop our own traditions,” says Jesse, a notorious dessert lover who was raised in New Mexico. “I try not to eat too many sweets during the rest of the year, so the holidays are the time when I let myself off the hook. One of the traditions I hold onto with an iron fist is cookies. Christmas doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve made the New Mexican cookies biscochitos or my mom’s sour cream cookies and candy cane cookies.”

Jesse and his husband, Justin Mikita, host a Christmas party every year at their home, and it’s become one of Julie and her husband, Will’s, favorite new holiday traditions. “They bring in this gigantic Christmas tree, and there’s lots of singing, dancing, and of course, fabulous food,” Julie says.

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