By: Ashlyn Palermo
‘Tis the season of holiday jingles, ugly sweater parties and most importantly, taste bud arousing sugars and spices. The memories associated with the smells of Christmas drinks, dishes and treats make us all a little reminiscent of family traditions. Incorporating these Christmas flavors into twists on classic recipes could lead to a few new holiday traditions.
Apple – Did you know? Apples are a great source of fiber and contain no fat, sodium or cholesterol. Apples are also extremely versatile. Whether it’s apple pie or apple chai, there are so many ways to use this healthy and simple ingredient. Apples pair well with other holiday flavors such as cinnamon or cranberries.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon can be beneficial to those with diabetes because it helps regulates blood sugar. A dash of cinnamon can complement both sweet and savory dishes. Cinnamon can be paired with almost anything: butternut squash, maple, apples, pumpkins, cream cheese, sweet potatoes, you name it.
CLASSIC APPLE PIE… WITH A TWIST!
Maple – A maple tree needs to be at least forty years old to be big enough to tap maple syrup. Maple goes well with bacon, pecans, cinnamon, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and can be transformed in dozens of ways to make your hors d’oeuvres even more delicious.
Pumpkin – Did you know Pumpkins are considered a fruit. More specifically, they are in the family called cucurbitaceous which also includes melons and cucumbers. Pumpkin is not just a fall flavor, it can be used for many yummy desserts or warm drinks in the winter. Pumpkin spice lattes It also goes well with maple, cinnamon and cream cheese.
MAPLE PUMPKIN PIE GRANOLA
Peppermint – The United States produces 70% of the world’s peppermint supply. Holiday baking involves a lot of sugary sweets and peppermint is a must. It’s hard to resist candy canes, peppermint park and peppermint mochas, but there are many other twists on this festive flavor. Peppermint bark cheesecake, peppermint snowball cookies, and chocolate peppermint biscotti are great ideas for holiday desserts.
Cocoa – Cacao trees produce about one thousand cacao beans which can make only about two pounds of cocoa. The holidays are almost nothing without a warm cup of hot cocoa. But if you’re looking to change things up, add other flavors such as mint, peppermint, white chocolate or hazelnut. Beyond drinks, try hot cocoa flavored fudge or muddy buddies.
PEPPERMINT FUDGE CAKE
Cranberry – The cranberry is one of the few fruits native to the United States. These festive berries can be dried, juiced, glazed, buttered, infused or tossed into practically every plate. Cranberry cocktails, cranberry cakes or cranberry and nut salads will surely satisfy your cranberry cravings.
Ginger – Ginger can be used to help with problems such as arthritis, motionsickness, flu, headache, or even heart problems. There are too many delicious ginger flavored goodies like ginger molasses cookies, gingersnaps, and classic gingerbread men that make Christmas what it is. Ginger drinks are also a must. There’s ginger beer, cranberry ginger cocktails, pomegranate/ginger/lime flavored water, and of course ginger ale. Ginger not only provides great flavor, but many great health benefits, as well.
Nutmeg -Nutmeg is known to have hallucinogenic effects when consumed in large quantities. Just a bit of this spice can be added to many of dessert recipes mentioned or it can be enjoyed in the form of a low-carb cookie. However, be careful and enjoy this flavor in moderation.
GINGERBREAD SPICE MIX