An Ode To Holiday Sweets

By: Sara Mathes

Come December, even those of us who don’t dare touch the oven the rest of the year, often find ourselves compelled to bake. Flour-dusted kitchens connect us with our friends and family in the present and remind us of bonding moments past. Be it cookies or pies or fruit cakes or puddings, our favorite winter treats often carry more meaning than just their deliciousness. Beyond the personal, they have long histories along with cultural and sometimes religious significance. But, regardless of the different shapes our celebrations take, delicious baked goods are something that can be shared with and enjoyed by all. 

In this playlist, we explore the history of some of these sweets, while also challenging the traditional mold. We investigate how the power of pie can bring us together. And, we invite you to get creative with stories from inspirational chefs and bold recipe ideas from easy to elite.

A Taste of the Past Episode 222: Sugarplums and Gingerbread: A History of Christmas Sweets: "While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads..." But, what exactly is a sugarplum? On A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio sits down with Michael Krondl and Cathy Kaufman to discuss the history behind the sweets enjoyed throughout the holidays. Embarking on a great fruitcake debate, explaining the plethora of sweeteners used throughout the ages, as well as the origins of the infamous yule log and more, this episode covers it all!

The Food Seen Episode 214: Patti Paige, “You Can’t Judge A Cookie By Its Cutter:” On this episode of The Food Seen, those same old holiday cookies are transformed by Patti Page of Baked Ideas. In her new book, You Can't Judge A Cookie By Its Cutter, Patti uses her art school background, to visualize everyday confections outside the cookie box. From the early days of her SoHo loft, where she sold paintings to galleries and bite-sized walnut pies to Dean & DeLuca, to molding her own aluminum and copper cutters, Patti's reimagined Santa head turning into turkeys, football helmet as elephants, Texas as a Chinese takeout boxes with chopsticks ... and of course, being in NYC, has baked more her fair share of taxis. 

Eat Your Heartland Out Episode 13: Coming Together Around Pie: Enjoy this bonus episode from Eat Your Heartland Out about how baking can bring communities together. Meet Rose McGee, the founder of the Sweet Potato Comfort Pie project that uses pie to start meaningful conversations about social justice. And, hear from Val Lucks, the founder of the Great Midwestern Pie Contest, a competition that lifts spirits while encouraging creativity. 

Inside Julia’s Kitchen Episode 81: Meet Dominique Ansel: This week, on Inside Julia’s Kitchen, host Todd Schulkin welcomes Dominique Ansel, one of the world’s most acclaimed pastry chefs. Todd and Dominique discuss his new book, Everyone Can Bake, plus the invention of the legendary cronut and the secrets to pastry success. As always, Dominique shares his Julia Moment.

Eat Your Words Episode 151: Bakeless Sweets: Want to learn how to make dessert without touching an oven? This episode of Eat Your Words, Cathy Erway is talking with Faith Durand, writer for The Kitchn and author of Bakeless Sweets. Find out how Faith spices up some traditional pudding recipes. Hear how the book encompasses desserts from all over the world, and why the West is so reliant on the oven. Find out why Faith made her recipes adaptable for people with sugar sensitivities and dairy intolerance.

The Shameless Chef Episode 29: The Final Course: Dessert: Michael Davenport covers a wide range of sweets from pavlova to sundae smorgasbords and homemade pie crusts. In addition to providing the antidote to the late night munchies, Michael imparts a pie crust recipe that you don’t need to be intimidated by and suggests a more complicated pastry endeavor for those with lots of time on their hands and strong hankering for chocolate.

Beer Sessions Radio Episode 609: Sweet End to 2021: Drinks & Desserts Pairing Challenge, and Greatest Hits of 2021: Host Jimmy Carbone is talking about the greatest hits of 2021 and beer dessert pairings with Julia Herz, executive director of the American Homebrewers Association and author, Jerard Fagerberg, freelance beer writer, and Jessie Sheehan, recipe developer and author of The Vintage Baker. Jessie details some of her newest recipes, including some that will appear in her upcoming cookbook, Snackable Bakes: 100 Easy-Peasy Recipes for Exceptionally Scrumptious Sweets and Treats. The group talks about some of the best changes 2021 has brought to the beer world. Julia talks about how The Brave Noise Project is helping to eliminate bias and harassment in the beverage industry while offering an accessible homebrew recipe. Jerard talks about the resurgence of unions. Finally, the gang takes on the beer and dessert pairing challenge. Look no further for holiday dessert inspiration and their respective drink pairings. Grab a beer and a sweet treat and give it a listen!

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