From Yoga to Gingerbread Biscotti

Gingerbread Biscotti, ready to eat

I’m on Day 261 of yoga.

It is the one constant amidst this year full of often-changing tides. When I started the first 30-day Yoga with Adrienne challenge back in early January, I thought it would be a good way to bring some flexibility to my body and stress relief to my brain. As the days crept on, I did another challenge and another.

And here I am, two hundred and sixty-one days later, still carving out a few minutes each day for myself to breathe in, breathe out and stretch and strengthen my aging muscles. Unbeknownst to me, my daughter, who lives in Baltimore, was following the same plan.

Every now and then, we check in with each other and that always gives me an extra nudge to continue. The health benefits are multiple: less stress, lower weight, more strength, more flexibility, quicker recovery when I get injured, better posture, lower heart rate. There is something truly life-giving to take those few minutes for myself with no demands on my time and to let myself be present in the moment.

Many times on the yoga mat, I let go of worries or doubts or other people’s needs. I know they will still be there when I get off the mat but for that half hour, I lay them down.

As the seasons turn, my yoga practice has changed. In the winter, I often made sure to have a sheepskin close at hand and, through closed windows, I saw snow and bare branches. In spring and summer, I often took my mat outside and heard train whistles, birds and insects as I found my poses. And now as summer turns to fall, I’m going back inside, sometimes with open windows and the sound of rain falling or the rustle of the leaves, or back to closed windows.

Those moments on the mat, that daily ritual not only focuses me but encourages creativity when I’m off the mat.

So this week, once I got off the yoga mat, I did some deep cleaning in my art room and found old recipes I had torn out of magazines. One caught my eye and I walked into the kitchen to see if I might have the ingredients I needed to make it.

The answer was “Yes.” That’s how the Gingerbread Biscotti came about.

As I usually do, I changed the recipe to my liking, in this case, adding some crystallized ginger to add even more gingery goodness and a little more butter as well. It makes a nice addition to my fall recipes. Here is the recipe if you want to make some. And I encourage you to do a little yoga as well.

Gingerbread Biscotti

3 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

1 T. ground ginger

1 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. cloves

¼ c. crystallized ginger, chopped into little pieces

6 T. butter, room temperature

¾ c. sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 t. vanilla

3 T. molasses

Raw sugar for decoration

Heat oven to 350º. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Mix flour, baking powder, salt, spices and crystallized ginger in a small bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in eggs until well mixed. Stir in vanilla and molasses, then slowly add flour mixture. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead together, then divide into two pieces. Shape each piece into an 8” by 2” log. Place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 25 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool for ten minutes. Carefully cut the logs into slices about ½ inch thick. Lay slices cut side down on the baking sheet and return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Flip slices and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

La Bonne Vie’s Rachel Shenk has been an artisan baker for 30 years. Born and raised in Belgium, she has lived in Goshen since 1973. She has been writing about food, traveling and the good life for about 10 years. You can connect with her on her Facebook page, La Bonne Vie, or at her cheese shop in Goshen, The Wedge.

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