Ojai Valley Inn’s Gingerbread Cookies

Ojai InnLooking 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.

Ojai Mountains

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.

Oak Grill

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!

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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?

Making gingerbread

Gingerbread Cookies

3 cups flour, I’d use gluten-free: 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 Cinnamon
1/4 t Cloves
6 Ghee
3/4 c Coconut 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.

Divide dough in half. Set in two bowls and cover. Let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours and up to 8.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 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 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 from oven. Allow to stand until cookies are firm, then move to a wire rack. Once cookies are cool, decorate away!

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Wishing you a Joyful Holiday and a Happy New Year!

Namaste!

~

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

Cardamom’s Divine Delight

Calling all foodies, bloggers, wizards and mermaids, adventurers, lovers, dreamers and inventors, Buddhas, Sages, Sadhakas and Yogis! Inside of you is something eternal and infinite; something as great as a mountain, as vast as an ocean, as beautiful as a star, as sweet as honey, as miraculous as a rainbow. It is a power that knows no bounds. A capacity to create, to heal, to love, to light up the world. You were born to know the magnificence of life, the power within, the radiance of your own truth, the joy of service and the deep, delightful endurance of love.

In this divine time when we string lights on every tree, mantel, and eave, allow me to celebrate the miracle of you. Allow me, if you will, to celebrate all that light and love alive in you, dancing, pulsing,  surging, radiating through you with the most divine of spices, Cardamom.

Cardamom Pods

To me, Cardamom is love and light in a pod. It is beauty and wisdom, knowing just what we need physically, while inspiring us emotionally. Cardamom is the journeyer’s companion, the sensual spark to a Yogi’s inner flame.

Oh Cardamom, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Next week, I will! For now, I give you three comforting, delicious ways to stay warm and grounded this time of year. 2 out of 3 are Vegan and all 3 are, or can be made, gluten-free. Therefore, they make excellent “hand-crafted” gifts, and hearty, conversation-starting party foods.

cardamom rose truffles
Cardamom Rose Delights

1 cup shredded coconut
6 medjool dates
1 tbls almond butter
1 tbls coconut oil
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp rose water
pinch of salt

Process all ingredients in food processor until mixture is quite smooth. Form into balls or press into molds. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Melissa’s Incredibly Moist Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Pamela’s gluten free baking mix
1 egg substitute (Melissa uses oil, water, & baking powder mix)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 bag vegan choc chips
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch or two of cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together, adding water (or spiced apple cider as I did) as needed to moisten and form balls. Cook on parchment paper ~ 10-11 min. They may look soft but do not overcook.


Liscia’s
Cardamom Banana Bread

2/3 cup raisins or currants
1/3 cup dark rum or apple cider
1 cup unbleached White flour (or a gluten-free flour of your choice)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour (or more gluten-free flour or Liscia says try rice flour!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola or corn oil (Liscia also likes coconut oil)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-10 inch loaf pan.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the raisins or currants with the rum or cider, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, and let the pan sit for 10 minutes.

3. While they are soaking, combine in a large bowl the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Mix well. In a smaller bowl mash bananas with a fork. Add the oil and brown sugar, and beat for 1 minute. Add eggs beating more. With a spoon, stir this mixture into the flour mixture until the ingredients are well blended. Stir in walnuts, the soaked raisins, and their liquid. Pose the mixture into greased loaf pan.

4.  Bake the bread 50-60( but check around 30-40!) until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, place it on a rack, and let the bread cool for 10 mins before you remove it from the pan. Wrapped well, this bread keeps at room temperature for 5 days, and longer if refrigerated.

Caramom:Ginger Flower
Cardamom Flower

Celebrating You as the light we celebrate this season, reminds me of St. Teresa of Avila‘s powerful call to the awakened life ~

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours, 
no feet but yours;
Yours are the eyes through which 
Christ’s Compassion is to look out to the world;
Yours are the feet by which he is to go about
 doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”

Katariina Fagering’s Jesus-Ubuntu

May we all take up the call, inspired by the season, encouraged by our saints and sages,
and fortified by Cardamom’s loving light.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holy Days ~
Namaste! 

Eggless “Egg Nog” Lassi

Your belly will say, “Thank you,” when you complete your meal with Lassi, a yogurt-based drink that keeps your digestive fires blazing and your immune system strong.

Seeking a Vegetarian response to Egg Nog, I stirred 1 cup of fresh Yogurt, made from raw milk given by grass fed cows (I like St. Benoit), together with 1 cup Water, 6 pitted Medjool Dates, 1 tablespoon Maple Syrup, 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract, three good shakes each of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Clove powder, and a tiny dash of Sea Salt and fresh ground Black Pepper.

Less water and more dates would make it a thicker blend. You could also add a few raw skinned almonds or cashews for a thicker consistency.

Put all this in the blender and mix it on High Speed until it is good and frothy, then serve it as an after dinner “digestif.”

It is so delicious I think I’ll call it New Year’s Lassi next week, and keep on drinking it right into the new year!

Let me know what you think.

I wish you many blessings of Joy and Peace  ~