Now please don’t get me wrong. When I say a dessert is “healthy”, I usually mean compared to other desserts. So I wouldn’t suggest eating more than one or two of these at a time, even though they are only 70 calories each…and even though Fritz and I have finished more than half of them in a 24 hour time period. It’s kind of a “do what I say and not what I do”-type situation. And just so that you are aware, these bars are really, really, really delicious. Probably one of my favorite recipes I’ve made in a while. They are sweet (but not too sweet), buttery (but not too buttery), and have the perfect amount of ginger zing to ’em. I’m just gonna say it–you’ll probably end up finishing them all off way too fast, too. But don’t say you haven’t been warned.
I found this recipe in Woman’s Day magazine, and discovered that I actually had all of the ingredients on hand. I definitely inherited my love of ginger from my father (hi Dad!). I can easily eat large pieces of it, and always try to give it to people who have upset stomachs and get sad when they hate it. My family always finds ourselves wandering in Chinatown during their semi-annual NYC visits, and there is a candy store that sells various flavors of candied ginger, and we buy it by the pound. I happened to have a small bag of fruit-flavored crystallized ginger (plum? fig? I can’t remember, and the fruit is by far overpowered by the ginger taste) from the last time that fit the bill for this recipe perfectly.
And for your information, ginger has long been renowned for its gastointestinal distress-alleviating effects (that’s why we drink ginger ale when our bellies hurt). It’s an anti-inflammatory, and helps with nausea, even in pregnancy and motion sickness. One study even showed that it was more effective than Dramamine (Jordi!), and some studies show it may help prevent colorectal and ovarian cancer. So yeah, that’s some good stuff. Plus it’s delicious! So if you want to try it for yourself, here’s the recipe:
Healthy Ginger Bars (From Woman’s Day magazine)
- 1/2 stick (1/4 C) butter
- 3/4 C brown sugar (we had run out of brown sugar, so I used white with a T molasses for taste)
- 1 large egg
- 2 t vanilla extract
- 3/4 C whole-wheat flour
- 1/4 C whole-ground flax-seed
- 2 t ground ginger
- 1 t baking powder
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/8-1/4 C chopped crystallized ginger (the original recipe called for 1/2 C, but I thought that might be a bit much. I used 1/8 C)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a 9′ x 9′ pan with foil. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Pour into mixing bowl, and add sugar, egg and vanilla.
Whisk in the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt and ground ginger. But first you may have to actually grind the ginger. A while ago I bought a ginger root, sliced it thinly, and dried it on a cookie sheet out in the sun. I stored it in a glass canning jar for an occasion such as this one. Hello coffee grinder!
Chop the crystallized ginger into small pieces and stir into the batter.
Spread evenly into the prepared pan-there is no need to grease or oil over the foil.
Bake for 18-24 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. I went for the low side of the time range, and they were incredibly moist; a brownie-type texture. If you want them to be crisper and bar-like, I’d go for the full 24. Either would be delicious. Cut into four rows and six columns (or four columns and six rows?) for the 70-calorie serving sizes. Or go a lot bigger for some decadence.
Go bake them now. You can thank me later.
Ironically, I had woken up yesterday morning at 6:30 with an upset stomach, so I got out of bed early to read and drink tea on the couch before I started baking (I finished Kite Runner, and cried the entire time). Fritz woke up about an hour later and got scared that I wasn’t in bed (awwww…). He came out to find me, and decided to nap for a little longer on the couch. Henry (who is cuddly only during sleeping-time hours), came out to show a little more love. It was such a cute snuggle-fest!
That image, plus some ginger bars, took care of my upset stomach right away.
That is, until the cake pops adventure began, and I ate about 30 pounds of chocolate cake, 12 pounds of chocolate frosting, and 16 pounds of candy melts. I never want sugar again.