Baking Solo and with Kids Each year, Memorial Day weekend is celebrated as the unofficial start of summer. Here in the Northeast, however, my holiday plans have been rained out so often that I’ve stopped planning outdoor celebrations. This year, when the storm clouds inevitably fill the sky, I’ll use the time to bake a homemade confection that everyone stuck inside with me is sure to enjoy.
Finding the time to bake feels indulgent to me. But when unexpected opportunities arise, I jump at the chance. The fragrance of a homemade cake or fresh-from-the-oven brownies made with healthful ingredients is sure to put a smile on people’s faces – regardless of the weather report.
My advice: Stick to something easy. A familiar favorite, like brownies, is ideal because they bake neatly in one pan and don’t require the effort or clean up that cookies often demand. That said, if you have children or grandkids helping in the kitchen, making cookies could keep them more engaged and away from video games or the television.
Use the opportunity to work with young bakers as an education lesson. As you measure and mix together, teach them a little about good food. Explain the added value of whole-wheat flour and discuss enjoying sweets in moderation.
This spicy, moist Blueberry Gingerbread makes for relaxed baking, on your own or with a kitchen full of helpers. Healthful monounsaturated fat, antioxidant-rich blueberries and whole-wheat pastry flour make this bread a wholesome treat for everyone. Add the flourish of a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar over the top just before serving.
Blueberry Gingerbread – Makes 12 servings.
- 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar, plus 1 Tbsp., divided
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus 1/4 tsp.
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup light buttermilk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tbsp. unsulfured molasses
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9 x 2” baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together whole-wheat and all-purpose flours, 3/4 cup sugar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt until blended. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg and molasses, until well combined and creamy. Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk enough to mix; leaving some lumps is better than over mixing, which makes the gingerbread tough.
If using frozen blueberries, spread in one layer on paper towels and blot dry. Skip this step if using fresh berries. Add berries to the batter, folding just to distribute them. Spread batter in the prepared pan in an even layer. In small bowl, combine remaining tablespoon of sugar with remaining cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over batter.
Bake the gingerbread 35-45 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and it springs back when touched lightly in the center. Set pan on a wire rack and cool gingerbread completely. Cut cake into 9 squares and serve. Or, the cooled cake may be unmolded, wrapped in foil and kept at room temperature for up to 24 hours before serving.
Per serving: 180 calories, 6 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 31 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 220 mg sodium.
“Something Different” is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) offers a Nutrition Hotline online at www.aicr.org or via phone 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, MondayFriday, at 1-800-843-8114. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will respond to your email or call, usually within 3 business days. AICR is the only major cancer charity focusing exclusively on how the risk of cancer is reduced by healthy food and nutrition, physical activity and weight management. The Institute’s education programs help millions of Americans lower their cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers across the U.S. Over $82 million in funding has been provided. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.