Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Spicy Gingerbread for Busy Chocolate Health Nuts

by Cal Orey, The Writing Gourmet
"And I had but one penny in the world. Thou should’st have it to buy gingerbread."
– William Shakespeare
Ginger has been toying with my thoughts. It's not because I'm queasy. It's because I love ginger cookies, ginger infused in dark chocolate bars, and gingerbread. The catch is, I told myself "No big cooking/baking experiments until the chocolate book galley is out of my hands." Still, I cheated. Yesterday, I snagged a store bought box of gingerbread mix. But I'm going to make a quickie creation that will make it special: tasty and healthier...

The roots of gingerbread are from the United Kingdom but it's got a French thing going on, too. French gingerbread pastries come with spices and honey--the things that make me smile and want to bake when I shouldn't be like now. Instead of falling victim to "writer's block" I'm suffering from "proofer's block." Read: You find yourself doing anything (i.e, cleaning, exercising, shopping, washing the dog, and baking) to avoid scrutinizing words like analyzing a frog and its inner parts on a slab in Biology 101. Ugh.

Yep, I want the lingering scent of gingerbread to permeate the entire house. How romantic is that? So, today I'm going to put this spicy gingerbread together fast and easy. But, but, but you can make it more creative. First, I'm turning to olive oil, of course, for the vegetable oil the box calls for. (Actually, for soft ginger cookies 2 tablespoons of butter can be replaced with olive oil. For the cake, it calls for 1 1/4 cups water--I'll use 1/8 cup olive oil (less 1/8 H20) and a large brown egg)...

The best part, I'm including sweet 'n' spicy stuff, like dark chocolate pistoles (64 percent cacoa content) into the batter (sorry, no time for exact measurements) with a crumbly mixture of chopped walnuts, brown sugar or honey (never put quality honey in the fridge!), and cinnamon should do it. It's the nuts --like olive oil--that contain the healthy fats that are good your body from head to toe. Plus, you get the crunchiness of nuts to chill and that chocolate feel-good energetic buzz so you're ready to go during mental tasks that must be done. If you try this chocolate health nut recipe, once hot and baked (it does contain protein, a healthy portion of iron, potassium, folic acid, and other good nutrients) sprinkle plenty of nutrient-dense walnuts (toasted in the oven 4 minutes if you've got the time) on top (like the picture above). I am toying with topping it off with a dollop of fresh, cold French vanilla ice cream (for the calcium boost and creamy texture) with dark chocolate orange shavings for taste... OK. It's not "homemade" but hey. Sometimes you can make it happen in the kitchen with a touch of creativity and while you don't slave over the stove--its doable. Oh, oh, oh. You've gotta team this warm, spicy treat with a healthful cup (or two) of iced herbal tea with lots of ice cubes (it's warming up at Lake Tahoe). Black tea or green tea (for the caffeine) may be the perfetto trick since I've got a lot of words to digest.


  1. Feeling a bit guilty that I didn't whip this up from scratch. But the box? There really aren't a lot of unhealthy ingredients that you can't pronounce. No multi-tasked Cat in the Hat here.

  2. Update. When I created these I ended up using pieces of dark orange chocolate in the batter. Do you know I could actually taste the notes of orange and creamy chocolate? These did the trick. But I froze most of 'em...Trigger food for sure.