Looking for something serene and a bit special for our end of the year retreat we took the advice of our Ginseng Yoga Studio co-owner Cindy Bennett and headed to the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. We arrived just in time to wander about before dark, to enjoy the natural setting and get our bearings.
Have you ever walked through a grove of Eucalyptus after the rain? It is one of the things I most love about southern California winters, and one of the delights that greeted us as we explored this beautiful valley. Eventually we stopped at one of the many restaurants at the Inn, the causal Cafe Verde, to peek at a possibility for breakfast in the morning, and possibly warm up with a cup of tea.
Instead we came upon a group of families gathered around the large open kitchen, where the chef was giving a Cooking Demonstration, showing the children how to make Gingerbread Cookies. I didn’t get there in time to take photos of the demonstration, or of the kids, but I did get the recipe!
It is not Ayurvedic to eat a lot of sugar, but if we put that aside, and if you make this with Ghee and gluten-free, then you have a fairly healthy cookie. After all, the spices are Ayurvedic, exactly the ones we use to fan the digestive fires, which might be helpful this season, no? I mean, who couldn’t use a little more fire in the winter?
3 cups flour, I’d use gluten-free: one like Bob’s Red Mill
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 T ground ginger
1 3/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
6 T butter, I’d use ghee
3/4 c dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
2 t vanilla
In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well-blended.
In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well-blended. Add molasses and vanilla and continue until well blended. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
Dive dough in half and wrap each in plastic (foil? What is the greenest way to do this?) and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours (up to 8).
Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment. Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle flour over dough and your rolling pin. Roll dough out until it is a scant 1/4-inch thick. Use your gingerbread cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place cookies on the baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes. Remove form oven. Allow to stand until cookies are firm, then move to a wire rack. Once cookies are cool, decorate away!
Wishing you a Joyful Holiday and a Happy New Year!
All photos are from the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa website, with permission.
Related Posts I’ve enjoyed:
Stephanie Weaver’s GF Gingerbread Cupcakes
Whitney Kear’s Pumpkin Cake
Kerala Rose’s Indian Buttery Cookie
Ojai!!! My favorite place in the whole world!! And my favorite cookies. My mom used to let me decorate them with currants and the house would smell amazing.
Thank you, Pamela. Ojai sends you love and says You are Ojai’s Favorite, too!
Love this story and recipe, Laura. Thanks for sharing. I feel like I’m right there with you. I would add 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk fiber to the recipe if using gluten-free flour to keep it from crumbling, unless you use Bob’s Red Mill biscuit and baking mix, which already has xanthan gum in it. I would probably use coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar… it doesn’t have quite the moisture content that brown sugar has, but it’s minimally processed and low glycemic and the dark color would be perfect for gingerbread cookies.
Thank you, Stephanie, for the recipe renovation!
The love and joy that goes into cooking and baking this time of year elevates the energy of all of the food to *almost* Ayurvedic standards… at least that’s what I am saying while we make my family’s anise cut out cookies today!
Thank you, Melanie. I love that perspective. If it is filled with love, it must be filled with love’s wisdom.
Sweet!!! And they look cute and yummy!
Aww Laura, the most adorable gingerbread cookies. Love how you found a way around the gluten. Your retreat at Ojai Valley sounds wonderful.
Thanks, Shulie. It was divine!