Like most people, each year at this time I find myself reflecting on the past 12 months and looking toward the changes I imagine for the coming year. But this year I’ve decided to forgo those daunting resolutions that always end up at the bottom of a long to-do list. Instead, I’m taking a page out of the Jewish New Year tradition and simply striving for a sweet new year.cinnamon cookie 3 in story

While not quite as healthy as the traditional Rosh Hashanah apples and honey, an old-fashioned cookie swap certainly provides a culinary backdrop for a sweet start.

And there is something magical and comforting about the smell of chocolate and cinnamon wafting out of a warm oven.

So while blissfully trapped indoors by the recent so-called snow storm that shut down the DC area (and left our neighbors to the north and west laughing at what we consider a snow storm), I cranked up the oven, opened a fresh container of my favorite cacao powder and began making over some traditional favorites.

From meringues to brownies to cookies, I’ve removed the gluten—and the guilt—leaving a simply sweet way to ring in the year.