Inspiration can come from anywhere. And in the case of these Molasses Masala Snap Cookies, inspiration came from a dress.
More specifically, a dress designed by my friend Juliette a curious cyclist + designer whose creations are meant to inspire confidence to move, create + enjoy freely, from the inside out. Which is actually exactly what I hope my creations will do for you; inspire you to create, move freely, powerfully and with purpose through the world…with cookies in your pockets.
But if I’m honest, the past few months had started to push me away from that inspiration. To a path of rigidity. Security. Rather than being a free-flowing creator, I had become an activator. But then, I connected with Juliette.
Food, Fashion and Cycling
I don’t think I realized just how much these things had in common. A lot, as it turns out. As Juliette + I shared our correspondence, the truth began to peek out for me again; there’s no singular recipe required to cook something (not even a cookie.) There’s no one way to create – whether it’s a beautiful dress or a beautiful meal. Cycling is made beautiful by the myriad ways we find to climb up and over the mountains. And the three became sweeter to me – and to Juliette – by seeing the thread woven between them.
Juliette sent me with one of her gorgeous dresses when I retreated to Wonder Valley; a voluminous, free-flowing frock cut from menswear fabrics, designed to be lived in. I was somewhat skeptical about what I would find in the desert; an empty, harsh place filled with dust, cactus + vastness. Heavy hiking boots, sturdy pants, and a hardy spirit seemed more suitable for such an escape. But, in fact, this softly shaped beauty of a dress was the perfect uniform for swirling through the desert for a week. The experience of being there was gentle. Slow. Sunny. And I have Juliette’s dress to thank for much of that.
Straying from my standard recipe
My days in Wonder Valley were simple. Wake. Stretch. Breathe. Bundle up. Go for a walk. Admire the rocks, the mountains, the sunshine. Take a book, write some notes. Unbundle, sit in the sun. Soak up the quiet. Slowly, layers of a long, challenging year sloughed off, reminding me that I don’t need much to find happiness and clarity. And, that my own personal and professional lives were not, in fact, roads most traveled. I didn’t need validation from others, or a checklist to tell me where I was going. And I frankly didn’t even need pants. Just a golden dress to layer on and float around in.
The things we wear, the expectations we set, and the maps we are following are ours to change at any time. With only ourselves to answer to. I invite challenge and have a lot of hardiness in my life. I create recipes – roadmaps for others to explore flavors and foods. What I needed more of in my world permission to be free-flowing. Rather than being tied up by my own apron strings, the dress unlocked me from my expectations, reminding me that it is ok to stray from my standard recipe. And maybe even to write a radically new one.
Writing a new freeing formula
I came home with my hair a bit more golden than when I’d left, my eyes a bit brighter, and my appetite bigger. I came home with a few new practices to keep things flowing – freely, freshly – too. After a week away from the kitchen, I couldn’t wait to dive in, and specifically to bake. I quickly realized that while I had everything I needed in the desert, I didn’t have everything I needed to make my favorite triple ginger cookies; specifically a healthy supply of cinnamon and ginger.
Finding a new way forward.
What I did have was an abundance of homemade grounding masala on hand from all of the lentil stews I’ve been making this fall. A sultry homemade spice mix, spiked with black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander and cardamom, and smoothed with rose petals. It felt like the perfect way to spice up a little cookie. I was right. And a new direction into cookie bliss was born.
So, these Molasses Masala Snap Cookies
…are going to be a staple in my fall and winter cookie repertoire. Because they represent everything I ever want to remember about being creative, being free, and carving the most beautiful (and delicious) path forward.
And, if you’re considering reshuffle priorities for yourself (as I was in the desert,) check out Juliette’s blog where we chat about cycling, competition, living well, performing better, and a few other lessons from this gorgeous patch of desert.
Happy baking, shape shifting and swirling through these next weeks!