The Christmas holiday wouldn't be quite the same without something a little sweet and a little spiced, like these simple yet elegant and whimsical cinnamon sugar puff pastry twists; and it also wouldn't be the same without the presence of love and the feeling of people coming together, which is something that is so spectacularly needed this season.
With the end of another year and the Christmas season upon us, its twinkling lights and decorations creating an air of cheer and merriment, I can't help but reflect a little on what an interesting “season” it's been for our country over the past year.
With so much emotion being expressed over the recent elections (don' worry, I don't talk politics!), and a lot of frustration being put out into the ether over various things that we've seen in the news these past 12 or so months, I feel like we're suffering a collective exhaustion, and kind of melancholy.
I feel a bit like we're at the end of our rope, not sure what to do about it.
I can see it on our roads, in the way we lack patience and a simple decency to show little gestures of thanks and gratitude; I can hear it in our voices, as we seem to speak a little more loudly and in sharper ways to whomever we're communicating with; and I can feel it in the slight heaviness that hangs in the air that seems to block the precious therapeutic light from getting to us.
We seem a little beat up and wounded, and ready for some change in the form of some kindness and some compassion.
We seem to be looking to taste something different, something sweeter, more delicate, and more uplifting for our souls.
I can tell you that there is a hunger within me to reach out and to love; to be showered in mercy, grace, and kindness, and to also shower others in those things, as well.
There is a desire to let down my guard and to allow the child within to simply play and be the free and loving spirit that she was meant to be, and to share some light and to feel another's light upon my being as well.
I long for a crisp lightness, a bit of sugar and spice, and perhaps even a little chocolate that I can partake in and enjoy, and put the more bitter ingredients aside that won't serve so well in a new season, especially in this holiday season that we're in.
Now is the time for love, sweet love.
It is the time to look ahead and see the grand potential that is there for healing and unity, see that we are more alike than different.
I'm longing for true merriment to be present, with myself as an active participant in creating it, as well.
May our holidays be filled with the sweet loving kindness that is so desperately needed for our healing; and may we enjoy the rich and enlivening flavor that it leaves on our tongues, leaving us wanting more, as we close out this year and usher in the new one.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Cinnamon Sugar Puff Pastry Twists with Chocolate and Sprinkles
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 24 twists
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 package prepared puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed and cold
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
• 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
• Christmas sprinkles, for decorating
-Preheat your oven to 400°, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
-Combine the two sugars with the cinnamon in a small dish, and set it aside for a moment.
-Lay one sheet of puff pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out just a little bit to make it slightly thinner and bigger; cut the sheet in half horizontally, and brush each half generously with the melted butter (using about half of the butter).
-Sprinkle over 1 of the sheets about half the sugar/cinnamon mixture, and lay the other buttered sheet over top; press, or gently roll, the dough together, and cut it, vertically, into 12 strips (dough will not stick together all that well, but that's OK).
-Take each strip and carefully twist it 3-4 times, pressing the ends together to seal them a bit, and place onto the baking sheet; bake the twists for 15-16 minutes, or until golden brown.
-Repeat process with the other sheet of puff pastry that remains.
-Allow the twists to completely cool on a wire rack; once cooled, melt the chocolate chips, and once melted, stir in the vegetable oil and combine to make it shiny; drizzle a little melted chocolate over each twist with a spoon, and add sprinkles before chocolate sets.
-Allow the chocolate to set (about 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temp) before serving the twists. (You can make these a day ahead, if desired.)