What is the secret ingredient in savory pastries, muffins and other baked goods? Buttermilk, which lends a rich, hearty flavor with fewer calories than whole milk or cream. Organic buttermilk, produced without using pesticides, synthetic hormones or antibiotics, is not only wonderful for baking, it is great as a base for soups and salad dressings or as a marinade. It also is often used to coat poultry and fish before frying or baking. Many enjoy drinking this versatile dairy product by itself; it pairs well with sweet fruits and desserts. Autumn Brennan, Organic Valley’s food aficionado, provides the following holiday recipe for buttermilk gingerbread. The spicy, rich taste of old-fashioned gingerbread is at the heart of many holiday celebrations, she says. BUTTERMILK GINGERBREAD (Makes 16 servings) 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted) 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/8 teaspoon sea salt 1/2 cup molasses 1/3 cup raw sugar 1/2 cup Organic Valley unsalted cultured butter, melted 1/2 cup Organic Valley cultured lowfat buttermilk, chilled and well-shaken 1 Organic Valley Grade A extra large brown egg Preheat oven to 325 F. Lightly grease an 8-by-8-by-2-inch metal baking pan. Sift flour, spices, baking soda and sea salt into a medium mixing bowl. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together molasses, 1/3 cup sugar, butter, buttermilk and egg. Fold in the dry ingredients. Pour gingerbread batter into the prepared baking pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until an inserted tester comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Cut into 16 squares. Top with homemade whipped cream and garnish with candied ginger.