Food for Thought – December

By Tony B., Director of Research and Information


I don’t know about all of you, but nothing puts me more in the holiday spirit than 60 degree weather in the Nation’s Capital. I am sure some of you are envious of our seasonally warm weather, just as I am jealous of places with snow. I grew up in the Midwest so I fondly remember the days of going outside and immediately having your eyes tear up and inevitably freeze. Ah memories!

I may not have the ability to control the weather, but I think that I can bring out a little holiday spirit with a couple of recipes. Today I am sharing both a snickerdoodle and hot apple cider recipe.

For the cider you will need:
1 gallon container of apple cider (16 cups)
4 cinnamon sticks or 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves or 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
1 teaspoon of ground allspice
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 sliced oranges
¼ cup of sugar (optional)

If you choose to use whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, place these ingredients into a tea bag or use a coffee filter and a piece of string to make a small pouch. Otherwise, pour your cider and sugar into a large crockpot on low heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, place your spices/spice bag into the mixture and your slices of orange on top. Let the mixture heat for at least 2 hours and serve warm.

For the snickerdoodles:
1 and ¼ cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
½ cup of low sodium butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 and ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 large egg
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
An additional ¼ cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon (for the coating on the outside of the cookie)

Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then add your 1 and ¼ cups of sugar, ¼ cup of brown sugar and butter and mix the material until it is fluffy. Once your sugar and butter are mixed, add in your egg and vanilla extract and mix again. After your wet ingredients are mixed, add in your ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, baking powder, flour and salt and mix thoroughly. Next, combine your remaining cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl to form your crunchy coating. Form the dough into roughly 25-30 balls and roll them in the coating mixture. Finally, place your cookies onto a sheet pan and bake for approximately 8 minutes.

Both of these recipes are easy to make your own such as adding lemon peel to the cider or food coloring to the cookies, and can quickly become family favorites. Please share your favorite recipes or suggestions for the next food for thought in the comments section below.

Happy Holidays!


  1. 4. Surely, you might believe that this is a tool that is
    only used in the winter months, for all those soups and stews we need to keep warm.
    It is true that if you are used to buying dry soup from a package or eating from a fast food dollar menu that your first stroll through the
    produce department might seem a little scary.

  2. It’s a habit of mine to calculate the values of things just for my own reference, I thought I would share.

    I didn’t calculate the drink because all apple ciders are different and I didn’t have anything to go off of but other than the oranges and the sugar it’s pretty much going to be close to what the container says.

    For the cookies I went with 25.


    Calories 110.3

    Total Fat 4.0 g

    Saturated Fat 2.4 g

    Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g

    Monounsaturated Fat 1.2 g

    Cholesterol 17.3 mg

    Sodium 47.1 mg

    Potassium 20.4 mg

    Total Carbohydrate 18.8 g

    Dietary Fiber 0.2 g

    Sugars 13.0 g

    Protein 1.1 g

    Phosphorus 36 mg

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