Benne Wafers: a crispy cookie from South Carolina, first introduced during the slave trade.

Benne Wafer (Sesame Seed Cookies) have been a South Carolina’s favorite for over a hundred years. They are light, crisp, and paper thin with a delightful nutty taste that is not too sweet. Historically, enslaved people from Africa introduced new ingredients to the American South, shaping cuisine in areas such as Low Country (the coastal area around Charleston, South Carolina) of the South. The popular sweet snack known as benne wafers are an enduring result of their culinary influence on this coastal region. It is believed that West African slaves…

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18# Melomakarona: Greek Christmas Honey Cookies with curious origins

Sweet orange-zest cookies soaked in honey and topped with walnut? Yes, please! This treat is a holiday treat that regularly appears on tables in Greece. Known as melomakarona, if you visit Greece in Christmas time, you’ll eat far too many of these delicious Christmas honey cookies. Imagine a cross between baklava and an gooey pecan pie and you’ve got these: typical Greek Christmas honey cookies, and probably you won’t be able to eat just one. Every self-respecting Greek household has a huge pile of these on their Christmas treat table.…

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17# Lussekatter – Swedish saffron buns

Julbord, a three course meal, is served come Christmas in Sweden. The first dish is usually fish, often pickled herring. As second, cold cuts (including Christmas ham) along with sausages are served and the third course is often meatballs and a potato casserole called Janssons frestelse. For dessert, rice pudding is popular, but there’s another treat for which the Swedes are known to make around this time: Lussekatter. Light and fluffy, these saffron buns are a fun to make treat for St. Lucia’s Day and beyond! Sweet yeast rolls are…

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5# Sinterklaas Pepernoten – Netherlands

Pepernoten (literally pepper nuts) are little, brown spice cookies very popular before and during the Dutch holiday Sinterklaasavond, or Saint Nicholas’s Eve. Sinterklaasavond occurs on the night of December 5 when the patron saint of children, Sinterklaas (de Sint, or formally: Sint Nicolaas, from whom the modern Santa Claus evolved), distributes presents and sweet treats across the country. Sinterklaas is an elderly, stately and serious man with white hair and a long, full beard, supposed to live in Spain. He wears a long red cape with golden fringes over a…

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