In the Woods

My friend Sierra just asked me for the recipe for gingerbread I made and it made me remember her birthday celebration in the woods. I don’t know why particularly, her sister Gen brought three delicious little dairy-free cakes from Mother’s (local healthy grocery store) and lunch from Panera, so the gingerbread was just one snack in a day of many yummy snacks. It did go well with the decaf soy cappucinnos I brought… and we were buzzing a little from the champagne perhaps. In any case it was also well-recieved at the Waldorf Informational Meetup the next day, so it’s a recipe I’ll use again.

It is a Williams-Sonoma recipe, but from the cookbook Healthy Cooking, and it does not appear to be online (yet). The gingerbread is part of a recipe for Gngerbread with Paoched Pears. Here it is, with my usual whole wheat and dairy-free tweaks. (I doubled the recipe.)


1/3 cup thinly sliced, unpeeled fresh ginger

3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar (I never pack my brown sugar, in an effort to eat just a tiny bit less sugar.)

2 Tbs molasses

1/4 vegetable oil

1 egg

3/4 plain yogurt (I used slightly less soy milk instead)

1 1/2 cake flour (I used whole wheat)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1. Finely chop the ginger in a food processor.

2. Cook it with 1/4 c of the brown sugar in a small saucepan until sugar has melted and ginger is very aromatic – about 2 minutes. Be sure to stir it constantly. Stir in molasses and set aside.

3. In another bowl, combine the oil, egg, soy milk, and remaining brown sugar. Whisk until blended.

4. In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and sift directly into the wet mixture. (I didn’t sift…) add ginger mixture and beat until just blended. Pour into a buttered 8-inch pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted wooden toothpick (or chopstick) comes out clean.

This is a great little spot in Laguna Regional Park, which is  80 acres of turf around 40 acres of lake and walking distance from my place. Most of the picnic areas are grassy and manicured, but I wanted an undeveloped woodsy spot where Christian could watch roly-polys and snails under the trees. We’re going to do a birthday picnic for him in the same spot – it’s not next to a parking lot and requires a bit of walking in – but that’s just the kind of picnic place we prefer. The ranger I spoke to yesterday thinks I’m crazy (there are rattlesnakes! ticks! you’ll be sitting in the brush!) but the kids are happy and well-occupied here. (There are four kids in this picture – can you spot them?)

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