Our First Giveaway, The Banana Slug Hike and Laure’s Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables

These days Stacie and I are among Laure’s (Frog Mom’s) biggest fans.  She recently took us an amazing hike (rain notwithstanding) at the Purisma Creek Redwoods in Half Moon Bay.  We tramped across creeks, collected maple leaves, built fairy houses and had an unbelievable lunch (sandwiches, pork buns, savory apple-cheddar scones and freshly baked chocolate and sea salt sables) protected from the rain under the tall canopy of redwood trees. Much to the children’s delight, we encountered about a “million” banana slugs also out for walk along the damp trail, as well as little colonies of mushrooms nestled among the pine needles. As we made our way to a small clearing, Laure magically whipped up a round of hot cocoa for the kids and they let the rain drops cool their chocolate to the perfect sipping temperature. So what at first seemed like a stroke of bad luck (gray skies, wet weather, mud) ended up making our day even more wonderful in the end (ethereal ambiance, banana slugs, hot chocolate). Pure magic!

We had waffled a bit before setting off that morning, but I am so glad that Laure “gently nudged us” to to make the drive and brave the wet weather.  The children did remarkably well (so many puddles to jump in!) and we found ourselves completely inspired by Laure’s energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of family friendly hiking, not to mention her skills as a baker. Bay Area trails here we come!

On the heels of this fantastic adventure, we are thrilled to share Laure’s hiking finds and recommendations with you with our first ever, super special giveaway. We’re giving away a signed copy of Laure’s fabulous new book, “Best Hikes with Kids in the San Francisco Bay Area”.  You can find details on how to enter at the end of this post. But first the recipe of the delicious chocolate and sea salt sables that I ate way, way too many of….

Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables (adapted from Sunday Suppers at Lucques – Laure has made this recipe her own by tweaking it a bit and using salted butter and cocoa nibs.  Salt & chocolate are a match made in heaven. Yum!)


  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 8 tbsps (1 stick) salted butter
  • 6 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp coffee extract (optional)
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips and cocoa nibs
  • 1 to 2 tbsp light brown sugar


  1. Sift the flour and cocoa powder together.  Add the salt.
  2. In the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and confectioner’s sugar at medium-high speed for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg yolk and coffee extract (if using), and beat until fluffy again.
  4. Add the dry ingredients slowly, and mix at slow speed.  The dough should be crumbly and not quite bound together.
  5. Right before dough comes together, add the chocolate chips and cocoa nibs just to incorporate
  6. Shape the dough into logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  7. Roll the logs in the light brown sugar and wrap each one in plastic
  8. Refrigerate until very cold and firm
  9. Preheat oven to 350F
  10. Slice the dough into 1/4 inch thick rounds and place them 1/2 inch apart on on parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 12-15 minutes until set.

* * * * * * * * * *

The GIVEAWAY: Frog Mom’s Best Hikes with Kids in the San Francisco Bay Area – an essential resource for Northern California parents and the perfect gift for your Bay Area mom or dad friends if you live elsewhere.  To enter, you MUST leave a comment at the end of this post (and/or do one or all four of the things below) telling us about your favorite hike/walk/stroll/stroller walk with kids or your favorite trail snack. It can be a urban walk/hike as well to the ice-cream shop as well.  🙂 Be sure to include your email address on the comment form  (it’ll be visible only to us) so we can contact you if you win.

The giveaway will be open till 12:00 midnight PST Monday, November 7th, 2011.  We’ll select a lucky winner using random.org and announce the winner here on the blog.  Good luck and thanks for participating!!

* * * * * * * * * *


Because this book is so great and we know you’re going to want a copy, we’ve included a few other ways to win. We’ll give you an additional contest entry for each of the following, up to 5 entries total per person. To register your additional giveaway entries, please let us know that you liked/followed/subscribed in your comment about favorite kid-friendly hikes and trail snacks.

  • Like A Little Yumminess on Facebook or let us know that you already like us.
  • Follow @alittleyum on Twitter or let us know that you already follow us.
  • Subscribe to A Little Yumminess (use the subscription form in the top right corner), or let us know that you already subscribe.
  • Like Frog Mom on Facebook, or let us know you already follow Frog Mom.

35 thoughts on “Our First Giveaway, The Banana Slug Hike and Laure’s Chocolate and Sea Salt Sables

    • Laure’s book is wonderful. Check out the frog mom blog too. You’ll get lots of ideas for every age hiker. Aren’t we lucky to live near such wonderful nature areas? I think our next organized hike is going to be an afterschool version in the Presidio. Stay tuned.

    • The kids loved it. Laure brought a thermos of hot water and adorable cups for each child. They all got to stir in their own cocoa which they thought was super fun (it’s the little things, right?). They found little nooks in the tree stumps to set their cups until they were ready to enjoy their hot chocolate. I’m definitely going to do this too.

  1. Our favorite trip is always to the SF Botanical Gardens in GG Park. The kids love spotting animals and leading hikes on the trails.Best place to just get lost and wander around.

  2. I subscribe! We don’t hike much anymore (the last time we tried, we had to haul #2’s stroller up and down some steep trails… so much for “kid-friendly”) but need to try again. Your post about proper food while hiking made me think of hubby’s friend, who would bring proper utensils and bento boxes FOR EVERYONE on hikes. Something to aspire to!

  3. We had an amazing family hike at Redwood Regional Park in the East Bay. Great wide trails that can even take a stroller, stunning giant redwoods to gawk at – we can even bring the dog! And, small but useful playground to “inspire” little hikers to make it to the end, as well as benches, picnic tables, etc.

  4. My favorite hike here so far has been the guided family walk by the marin headlands institute – great guides, lovely walk, informative & fun.

  5. oh! this book sounds like a good one to have!!

    My kids now show excitement to hike! even my 2.5 yr old! I usually do short hikes with them and prefer nature trails where they get to see bugs and birds and rodents, making it an educational outing as well. That way, we make it friendly, chatting along the way so it is easy to keep an eye on them, it is educational and hey we get to hike too!! 🙂

    Winning this would mean more hike trails for our family! cool!!

    thanks and nice blog!


  6. We visited Slide Ranch (off of Route 1 about 2 1/2 miles from the Pelican Inn) and enjoyed the hike down to the beach there. It’s steep walk down, and a lot of scrambling over huge rocks, but the tide was out, the rocks were dry, and we saw lots of sea creatures. It was beautiful, and unexpected!

  7. What an adorable ‘venture!! To date, we have been enjoying our urban hikes in the city, particularly the community garden in Ft Mason full of fruits, herbs, veggies, and flowers. This is our go-to afternoon snack time activity, weather permitting. But now that the little one is bigger, almost two, he and his older sister may be ready for more rustic adventures!

  8. We live in the North Bay so we love a trail in Vallejo that takes you along the water’s edge just parallel to Mare Island, but we are also especially partial to Tilden Park in Berkeley and the trails beyond the Little Farm Educational Center, wide and easy for little feet. The real challenge is getting them to return to the car 🙂 We never thought of bringing cocoa; headed to Armstrong Redwoods next week and we will have a thermos full. Thanks!

  9. It’s great to know there is such a fun hiking trail in HMB. I should check it out! My favorite hiking trail, which we even hiked today is behind our backyard. It’s literary behind our house. I don’t know the name of it but it’s called Water Dog Lake Park. There are lots of bike trails on one side and hiking trail on the other. it’s perfect length to go with the kids and we enjoy it once in a while. The sables look delicious! I love the texture of sables…

  10. We live in Napa and really enjoy hiking in Westwood Hills Park (very close to our house). The book sounds great – we are always looking for new ideas of inexpensive outings – hiking is one of the best! Found your blog through a Savvy Source posting and was interested in the ideas of kid-friendly recipes. Our son is picky (if he can see a fruit or vegetable in it, he won’t eat it). Thanks for the great blog!

  11. Sending your kids up the Sand Ladder at Baker Beach has many advantages: 1.)They sleep well that evening, 2.) You can play Bad Guy chasing Good Guys when they start fading and 3.) They have a sense of accomplishment at the top.

    Snack? Now that requires organization. How about we play Spartans and pretend like it fun to have nothing!
    My next lesson will be urban foraging.
    Bring on the hiking book…we need some inspiration!

  12. Just past the golden gate bridge in the presidio, there’s a parking lot. there you can catch the batteries to bluffs trail down down down to Marshall beach. it’s often deserted, and always feels so far from the city! a bit farther down Lincoln, past the Baker beach exit, there’s a lovely walk through wildflowers if you take the next left and park in the lot there.

  13. I love “A Little Yumminess” and if you are fans of Laure’s book then I know I will be a huge fan also. I am always looking for a new adventure so it is nice to have the reviews of the hikes paved out for me! Thanks 🙂

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