And hello to our community of Earth Lovers! The holiday season is a time to share in the hibernation of winter, and a time to connect with our loved ones. Many of us stray a bit from the holiday traditions we were raised with. We want to make conscious choices about our gift exchanging. Who wants piles of plastic products that will get thrown away within a year or so? Many creative thinkers have integrated volunteering into their holiday traditions. This really is a good time to look beyond our families and friends to see who needs a little help.
If you live in New Mexico and your holiday activities tend to include playing in the snow, this year is a bit of a let down. At Ampersand, we are trying to adapt. For us, cookies are a happy part of our holiday time.
This year we stoked the earthen oven and experimented. After an hour of feeding the fire, the oven is really hot! So we need to adapt the recipe to cook for shorter times. The oven cools after a few batches have been cooked and the cooking times need to go higher than the recipe calls for. We quickly developed a tight system with one of us placing the dough on the trays, the other managing the oven, keeping track of baking times, and checking for quality control on our time estimates. (Okay, we both checked on quality control).
As the oven cooled, and our cooking times increased, we seemed to be racing the sun as well. Once it drops behind the hill, outdoor cooking in the winter is not as fun. After a frenzied afternoon of poking the fire and juggling baking pans, I can tell you that a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie baked at 500 degrees F is a most divine thing. We are delighted to have discovered a new holiday tradition that pairs well with our new era of warmer winter temperatures. But we would happily trade it in for a foot of snow!