Life, Unexpected (Plus a Pecan Brownie Recipe)

Sometimes when I'm in the throws of baking and blogging on my old mac, I won't even bother to take off my apron

I haven't blogged in approximately 10 days, and it's felt weird, even though I only have a small (albeit steady) readership to worry about.  It's felt weird because I really, really enjoy blogging - from playing around with pictures to dreaming up what to write about next, blogging floats my boat.  I find it a lighthearted and informal way to get my writing out there on a regular basis, as well as connect with people.

Yet lately a few unexpected life events have pulled me away from this simple pleasure and made me question why I should bother writing about subjects like flowers and brownies when difficult things are happening to people all around me.  Why not focus on hard news, policy or politics?

Because flowers and brownies are more than just an interest, but part of my identity, no matter how fluffy it might seem to anyone else.  Flowers and brownies are me even when I am in the throws of anxiety, uncertainty or grief.  The process of mixing and measuring ingredients steadies me even when I'm worried about the end result.  Trimming the stems of flowers reminds me that although I didn't start out in this world as a detailed-oriented person, I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

So here's a brownie recipe to steady yourself.  Let's call them Maggie's Brownies, since I baked them for my mother-in-law Margot's birthday this weekend.  My hope is that they help her feel steady too, even when life throws unforeseen things her way.

 I couldn't resist shooting these gooey/crunchy brownies with some edible rose petals.
Maggie's Brownies

Recipe adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker (based on Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownie recipe)


1 cup of unsalted butter, soft
1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 squares of unsweetened chocolate

1 cup (and 2 tbsp) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup (and 2 tbsp) flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 handful pecans, unchopped or chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. 

1- In a pan on medium-low heat, melt your butter with 1 1/3 cup chocolate chips and your 3 squares of chocolate until smooth.  Turn off heat and set aside.

2- In a small bowl, combine your dry ingredients - flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3- In a large bowl, combine your sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.  Add in your room temperature chocolate mixture and combine, then add in your dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in your pecans and the remainder of the chocolate chips in the bag.

4- Pour your batter into your prepared pan and bake for 30 - 35 minutes.  Don't overcook but test by inserting a toothpick into the brownie center, it should come out clean.  Let these cool when they come out of the oven and then refrigerate them until it's time to serve.

Be kind to yourself today. Enjoy with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.