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.