Thanksgiving week was a wonderful kick-off to the holiday season. I was incredibly fortunate in that I celebrated Thanksgiving three separate times with three different groups of friends (both Latvian and American). Additionally, I helped a friend celebrate Hanukkah twice during the week. All of these parties and celebrations were truly a fantastic way to begin what is known in the U.S. as “the holiday season.”
Generally all of these holidays and celebrations are very food-oriented. I am not much of a cook, but I do enjoy baking, thus I happily contributed pumpkin bread, brownies, almond spice cookies and pumpkin spice cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Because I gave up eating gluten almost two years ago, I've been missing the traditional Latvian Christmas cookies, piparkukas, that I used to make with gusto every December. And that might be why I gravitated towards baking goodies with lots of spice in them. The almond spice cookies had a taste very similar to piparkukas, thanks to my decision to add cardamom and extra ginger.