Cardamom Cookies

Cardamom Cookie

The ever sunny, always giving, Randy-Skippy-Arjuna (RSA) Spicocchi brought these over for dessert recently. We had what we call our “India Dinner,” an evening we host one month before departing for India where we teach at the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh. We prepare a multi-course Indian meal together with our fellow travellers (photos here), so they can meet each other and learn about the adventure ahead. These divine little treats, laced as they are with India’s own peppery and exotic Cardamom, were the perfect sweet complement.

You may have noticed I don’t write often of sweets or treats. There are two reasons for that. The first is personal: I am Kapha enough that dessert, bread, pasta and the like, had to be struck from the plate long ago. The second reason is well explained here.

Cardamom Cookie Stack

On the other hand, every now and then we are asked to provide a dessert, or want to show our love with a treat. Some people find the stresses of the day melt away a little more easily with a morsel of something warm, soft and sweet, and, with chronic stress being arguably more dangerous to your well-being, melt away I say. Plus, some of you have asked for more baking… and, they are gorgeous, aren’t they?

Cardamom Cookie 1

I had an Acupunturist once tell me that when it comes to diet, it is important to break the rules now and then. His theory was that the digestive system needs to be challenged occasionally, and he pointed to Fergus the Forager as proof. Given that I had a bad “frites” habit at the time, I was happy to adopt that professional justification.

I could justify it Ayurvedically, too. After all, digestion is a fire. The dosha, or bio-energy, of fire is Pitta. Pitta is muscular, competitive, success-oriented. It loves a good challenge. Pitta naturally distinguishes between good and bad, right and wrong, healthy or not. Discernment is a positive quality of Pitta. Whether it is your vision, your mind, or your digestion, if you have positive Pitta, it discerns.

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I wonder then, dear reader, professor of all things healthy, connoisseur of true food and enduring nourishment, if we could say that the small intestine ~ that most Pitta of organs, responsible for the second stage of digestion, the stage where the essential is separated from the non-essential ~ actually needs a break from perfection once in a while to test its clarity, strength and power, and keep it in good working order?

What if, too, that is the principle behind all metabolism, including your mental and emotional metabolism, the heart and soul’s capacity to digest information, experience, life itself? Could cultivating your inner fires of passion, devotion, discipline, clarity, discernment really help you release the non-essential, preserve the essence, heal and grow in wisdom and compassion? I offer my husband as a thought-experiment.

Cardamom Dough

How’s that for justification?

In truth, this cookie is pretty healthy. We use a GF flour, coconut palm sugar which has a low glycemic index, good-for-you ghee instead of butter, Himalayan salt with 88 trace minerals, and, of course, Cardamom which is a Pitta support, helping metabolize sugar, and reducing those levels in the blood where it can be so dangerous.

GF flour

So when cookie cravings arise, try these. My husband saw them and pronounced them the prettiest cookies ever. After tasting one, two, and then three, he also declared them to be the very best cookies ever. From my very own world expert on cookies, that felt good to hear.

One more plus ~ I made them in less than ten minutes (plus cooking time)!

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Cardamom Cookies
Recipe adapted from Randy Spicocchi

Organic GF Flour, 2 1/4 cups
Baking Soda, 1 teaspoon
Pink (Himalayan) Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee, 1/2 cup room temperature
Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, 1 1/2 cups
Ground Cardamom, 3 teaspoons
Organic, Free-range Eggs, 2
Vanilla Extract, 2 teaspoons

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
 In a large bowl, cream together ghee and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in cardamom, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.
With the mixer on low speed, gradually incorporate the flour mixture until the dough comes together and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
 Randy likes to sprinkle a combination of cardamom and the palm sugar over the top “for added sweetness.” I like it for the dusting of contrasting color.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies are set and very light golden around the edges.
 Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen.

Baking Cardamom Cookies

Cardamom is mother nature’s answer to our occasional need for a sweet splurge. Isn’t she amazing to always anticipate our needs? Next time you need a little extra comfort, I hope you will enjoy these Cardamom Cookies and savor Mother’s Love.

Cardamom

What warms your heart when life’s seasons turn cold?

~

P.S. Have you seen my new website, with information about my upcoming Winter Cleanse?

Thank you & Namaste!



			
		

In Praise of MA

Lemon Polenta Cake, photo: nigellalawson.com

I am dreaming of being with my mother today. We would sit amongst the “darling buds of May” in her garden, the one designed and created by my sister Julia, who would be there, too, with her children. My extraordinary 96-year-old grandmother, the matriarch of our large, vibrant family, “Nana the Great” to all our children, would also sit with us, commenting on the vibrant color of a prairie cone flower perhaps, or the unique blossom of a native species that is my sister’s specialty and my mother’s pride.

With my cousin Marc, “Nana the Great” and my mother

We would tell my mother what a great mother, friend, example, inspiration she has been and continues to be. How soothing her comforting wisdom is even now. She’d say “No, no, it is you children who have given me so much…” because that is the way she is. But we’d keep trying to let her know with our words, our hand-holding, our little gifts, our kitchen labor, our watchful presence, that she has meant everything to us. If we tried to enumerate the details of that everything, we’d get teary, so we stick to the generals and deeply breathe in the joy of being together after too long apart.

Expecting her fifth child

Since my mother, and my Aunt, were artists and great cooks, I consider at length just what I’d prepare for Mother’s Day. I’d want it to delight her as well as express the depth of gratitude I feel, but it needs to be simple so that we are free to enjoy our time together, unconstrained by cooking complexities.

Millet Muffins, photo by vsimon

Britta from Suzie’s Farm gave me a great idea this week: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free Millet Muffins for Mother’s Day Breakfast. I’d add a dash of cardamom to the batter, and serve them hot from the oven with a warm blackberry preserve.

Nikki’s Healthy Cookies, photo: 101cookbooks.com

For a healthy and heavenly snack, “Nikki’s butter-less, flour-less, egg-less, and potentially sugar-less Cookies” at Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks.com look scrumptious. No doubt the children would love them, and they would be great in the afternoon with a cup of Earl Grey.

My mother visited me when I lived in Florence, Italy and numerous times while I was in London, so I like the idea of the Lemon Polenta Cake, pictured up top. Coming from Nigella Lawson, it is a twist on British and Italian standards, so would elicit many sweet memories. It, too, is gluten-free and with Earth Balance instead of butter, could also be dairy-free.

David Lebovitz’ French Jam Tart

Or, since my mother is so healthy, we could go all out. Of course, she is absolutely worth it, so maybe I’d splurge and make a French Jam Tart, remembering the days we walked all over Paris trying to find one Museum that was open and finally surrendered for warm pastry and tea. We found then that the treasure of Paris is really there: in the cafes and patisseries, on the streets, and in the parks. “In the everyday; just like life,” we might have said.

~

Every day is Mother’s Day on this Blog, since it is a site entirely devoted to celebrating the wise and loving gifts of Mother Earth. But on this one day of the year, our official Mother’s Day, I celebrate my own mother whose mothering simply astounds me.

Mom

Thank you, Mom, for your endless and selfless gifts! I am so blessed to have your love, devotion, wisdom, forgiveness and support. You, and the brother and sisters you gave me, sustain and encourage my life in countless ways. I send you waves and waves of love today and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day!

~

Amy & Kathy Eldon

On this important day, I would like to invite you to watch a short video on Extraordinary Moms, hosted by Julia Roberts and created by my extraordinary friends Amy & Kathy Eldon, who, like my mother and your mother, are themselves extraordinary mothers. For every 20 times this XO MOMS Video is viewed, Humanity International will provide a mosquito net to a mother, and family in need, in Ghana to prevent Malaria.

~