"Ken Ludwig's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas"

Featured is the cast of "Ken Ludwig's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas," running through Dec. 31 at The Broadway Playhouse. Actor Anthony Whitaker plays a few characters, including Santa Claus, in the play."

Provided

Anthony Whitaker enjoys stepping into the kitchen to create various recipes.

"My weakness (in eating) is pasta," said Whitaker, adding he often makes different pasta dishes.

The actor is currently starring in "Ken Ludwig's 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" at The Broadway Playhouse in Chicago. He portrays the roles of characters Wendell/Mulch and Santa Claus in the production. The play runs through Dec. 31. FYI: Visit BroadwayInChicago.com.

"When I'm doing a show, I don't cook as much as I'd like," he said. Besides pastas, other specialties include soups, vegetarian dumplings and other recipes.

Whitaker, who's been a vegetarian for 25 years, said he experiments quite a bit with meatless recipes. The actor said he grew up eating great Southern dishes that his mother made.

"My mother is a great cook," he said. Popular meals while he was growing up were fried chicken and beef with mashed potatoes.

"I grew up in South Carolina and we'd also have a lot of seafood and fish," Whitaker said.

The actor, who learned to cook from his mother, said he enjoys collecting recipes and likes the recipes found in church cookbooks. "I love the communal nature of them. ... And you see a history of the community in all of those cookbooks."

Whitaker said one of his favorite recipes is a recipe passed down from a friend, whom he called his "Chicago mother." It's for an oatmeal/butterscotch cookie.

"It's really a basic cookie, and I use butterscotch chips and toasted pecans in it," he said.

The following is the cookie recipe from Whitaker.

Victoria’s Oatmeal and Butterscotch Cookies

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup softened butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

2 cups quick-cooking oats

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup chopped and toasted pecans

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 350°F. In a great big bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter. Stir in egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in oats, flour, baking soda and salt; stir in butterscotch chips and pecans.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly (if you can); remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

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Features reporter

Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.