A Little Sweetness

Recipes with a little sweetness use what’s in season and in your pantry. Learn more at TwiceasTasty.com.
I’m going to keep this post short, because my mind is still buried in pickles and my forthcoming cookbook. You’ve been hearing about it vaguely for months, and official announcements, giveaways, launch party invites, and more are on their way to newsletter subscribers and blog followers in the coming weeks. (But since you’re reading this, you may want to check out the preorder page on Amazon.) And next month, I’ll be sharing recipes directly from the book.

In the meantime, I thought a break from pickles might be good for me—and you. So this month, I’ll be sharing some sweeter recipes that use what’s in season and in your pantry.
Read more about a little sweetness

Gingerbread

Get a healthy dose of ginger and find out why some baking old-time techniques still work. Get gingerbread recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
I may not have red hair, but in the kitchen I’m definitely a ginger. You’ve probably spotted this from the regular appearance of ginger on the blog—ginger-flavored syrups and marmalades, ginger-spiked beverages, Pickled Ginger, Gingerbread Pancakes, and for the ultimate hit, Triple Gingersnaps and Triple Ginger Cake. So it seemed highly appropriate to add two more traditional ginger recipes to the lineup this month: gingerbread in cookie and loaf forms.

When I went digging for family variations of these recipes, I found some surprising ingredients and techniques. I decided to pick apart one of my grandmother’s well-used recipes, from her 1930 Fruit and Flower Mission Cookbook. What is the purpose of the vinegar? Why is the baking soda dissolved in water? Why do only some of the recipes in her book call for egg? I had to know more. Find out what I learned in the recipe and its tips and tricks.
Learn to make Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookies and Gingerbread Loaf

Peanut Butter

You’ll fall for these peanut butter cookies that can be enjoyed year-round and dressed up for special occasions. Get cookie recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Call it tradition, call it an excuse to eat sweets, but December calls most of us to bake cookies. My family’s cookie routine starts just after Thanksgiving, when we prepare Vanilla Bean Cookies and Chocolate Rum Balls so that they can “ripen” in time for Christmas. Many other cookies follow, with old favorites and new flavors filling the holiday platter when the family finally gathers.

Many holiday cookies only appear once a year, but I always add some all-occasion cookies to the plate. I tackled peanut butter cookies this year. These cookies have been around for close to a century, with most sources attributing the classic crosshatched pattern to a 1930s Pillsbury cookbook. But many recipes specifically avoid natural peanut butters and instead pile extra sweeteners onto commercial peanut butters already heavy on the sugar and hydrogenated oils. Recipes I’ve tried that call for freshly ground peanut butter turn out more peanut slab than cookie. By testing and tweaking basic cookie ratios, I came up with a version that can be enjoyed year-round and dressed up for special occasions.
Learn to make Freshly Ground Peanut Butter Cookies and Peanut–Ganache Thumbprint Cookies

Sour Cream

You easily get the best flavor from the fewest ingredients by making sour cream at home. Get homemade sour cream and cookie recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.Sour cream is one of my guilty food pleasures. I eat it regularly, sometimes daily. I eat it at breakfast with crepes and baked into Sour Cream Scones with Tart Cherries. It goes in creamy dressings for potato and other salads. It’s the base for dips and midday snacks. I put sour cream on baked potatoes, tacos, and empanadas. And I use it in desserts, including cookies.

I call sour cream a “guilty pleasure” because it can be high in calories and fat. Most commercial reduced-fat and nonfat versions are primarily whey, modified food/corn starch, salts, stabilizers, and artificial gums—not a good alternative. So if I’m buying sour cream, I read the labels closely and buy full-fat versions that only list “cultured cream” or something similar as the ingredient. But you can easily get the best flavor from the fewest ingredients by making sour cream at home.
Learn to make Homemade Sour Cream and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies