The end of the year and the start of a new one is filled with many emotions and inward reflection. For me, 2023 was a powerful 12 months of showing up for myself and making moves. In 2016, I enrolled in culinary school and attended for more than a year, until life circumstances required me to withdraw from classes to return to work. However, over the summer, after being out of the classroom for six years, I went back to culinary school to finish what I started. This month, I earned my associate of applied science degree in culinary arts from the Culinary Institute of Savannah. In 2023, I also wrote my second book, Unique Eats and Eateries of Savannah, which will debut with Reedy Press in the spring of 2024, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.
December may be one of my favorite months of the year — celebrating the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, decorating and cookie baking, shopping and wrapping presents, and spending quality time with family always warms my heart. Then January rolls around, and the energy and excitement of a new year and all its possibilities brings renewed hope. This year, I celebrated a milestone birthday, and I’m not ashamed to say it was the Big 4-0. In my four decades of life thus far, I’ve learned to trust and lean into the magic of new beginnings.
Life is flat-out hard and oftentimes disappointing. Things don’t usually go as we plan, but it’s during the trials that character and perseverance are developed, in the valley when you find out what you’re made of, and in the refiner’s fire that you become stronger and learn to appreciate the good times. Ask me how I know. Writing a book and going back to school mid-career was no small feat, and it sure wasn’t glamorous, but I can tell you, the credibility that will come from the grind will be worth it. Hard work always pays off.
That being said, the holiday season is no time for hard work, at least not in the kitchen. I love entertaining during Christmastime and the New Year, but I have two requirements: The recipes must be 1) simple and 2) Some Kinda Good. These Puff Pastry Cinnamon Sugar Twists are flaky, sweet and an easy appetizer that only require a few ingredients and present beautifully when served on a festive platter.
This January, I’ll be preparing for a book-signing tour, and I hope to meet you out on one of my stops. You can visit RebekahLingenfelser.com to check out those dates, but until then, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Puff Pastry Cinnamon Sugar Twists
• 1 sheet of puff pastry
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• ¼ cup chopped pecans
• Egg wash (one egg with a splash of water, whisked)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with butter cooking spray.
Unfold puff pastry. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rectangular shape, just until creases disappear. Brush the entire rectangle with egg wash.
Combine the cinnamon and sugar, then sprinkle puff pastry with mixture and top with pecans. Fold one half to the center, and then fold the other half over the top, creating three layers. Brush with egg wash.
Slice the layers into strips, about ¼-inch wide, then slice them in half to desired length. Twist the ends, forming a spiral shape, and lay each twist onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle the twists with more cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.