Chai Yogurt Cheesecake
The inspiration for this recipe came from a class I took at Culinaria that featured a pumpkin cheesecake with a pepparkakor crust. While I’m not a big fan of New York-style cheesecake custard or of pumpkin-flavored things, I loved the crust made from butter and pepparkakor crumbs. The warm spices used in the cookies (cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves) are also traditionally used in chai tea, so I wanted to try building a cheesecake around chai-infused cream.
Buckwheat Butter Cookies and Barbados Biscuits
I baked a pair of recipes from Claire Ptak’s The Violet Bakery Cookbook for the USDS holiday party. This year’s desserts were supplied by attendees in the form of a cookie war, and I wanted to make sure there was at least two gluten-free entries. I made a double batch of buckwheat butter cookies (a slice-and-bake shortbread with chopped nuts and candied citrus peel) and a single batch of barbados biscuits (fudgy almond macarons with a pecan topping) because the former used one egg yolk in each batch and the latter used two egg whites.
Few things evoke holiday nostalgia as strongly as the scent of fresh gingerbread baking in the oven. I’m not the biggest fan of soft gingerbread, but Swedish pepparkakor (“pepper cookies”) are thin, crispy, and fill your kitchen with the same warm spice aroma. This recipe uses no ginger but gets the same flavor profile from cardamom, a spice made from the seeds of several plants in the ginger family. I picked up this recipe at a holiday baking class at Culinaria, a small cooking school in Vienna, VA.