The Accidental Brownie #vegan

Upon my return from a week-long visit with Angel Boy 2.0, I arrived to an empty refrigerator and pantry. (Don’t worry, there was wine waiting for me, so it wasn’t a complete disaster.)

I was JONESIN’ for ANYTHING chocolate and simply didn’t feel like going to the store.

Instead, I scoured the cabinets to see what ingredients might jump out to create something at least halfway edible.

Whew! I found cocoa which was a MAJOR score, because obvs without it there could be no joy . Next, I scrounged together about a scant cup of flour. Cool. And brown sugar.

Here’s what I did:

In a bowl, I combined 1.2 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 1.2 cup veg oil, 2 tablespoons black coffee since I had no vanilla and coffee complements the flavor of chocolate, 1.2 teaspoon baking powder. I didn’t want to dirty a mixer, so I used a fork to whisk it all together. It was a bit dry, so I added another tablespoon of black coffee.

I placed paper inserts in muffin tins, filled them 2/3 of the way, sprinkled the top with a little Himalyan sea salt,  and baked for 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.

When I took them out, they were still soft on the inside like a molten lava cake.



I ate two of them in a very self-congratulatory mood, and stored the rest in the refrigerator.

Now here’s where the magic must have happened.

As they set, they transformed themselves into the CHEWIEST, most intensely CHOCOLATY, FUDGEY, yummy bites of JOY that you’ve ever tasted. If I were making them for an event, I’d frost them, but on their own, they were amazing. The little bit of sea salt adds a sophisticated touch on the palate.


You. Must. Try. This. Recipe.

You’re welcome.


I’m salivating for more! Surrounded by some of my very own rock art.


#vegan #chcolate #brownies #pleaseshare

The Accidental Brownie

1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup veg oil
Mix well with a fork.
Add 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Vanilla if you have it, or 2-3 tablespoons cold black coffee
Mix well. Spoon into lined muffin tins.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Let cool in pan and then finish in the refrigerator.



Trust me.

This is SO easy. And SO awesome.

For realsies. This could be the BEST tip I’ve ever shared.

Did I conjure this up myself? I’m not 100% sure…but it’s too good to keep secret.

OK, say you’ve made a batch of Brownies (recipe below) or a One-Bowl Chocolate Cake or even an Hot Milk Sponge Cake (super light and fluffy).

Would you LOVE to drench your creation in a dreamy, creamy, fudge ganache?

Don’t have the time to make frosting from scratch? Or you’re out of powdered sugar? Don’t want to resort to that chemically-laden and overly processed frosting in a can?

No worries.

Here’s the ONLY ingredient you’ll need.

You probably have a package of semi-sweet chocolate morsels around, right? I mean, ‘cos who doesn’t, ya know what I’m sayin’?


In one easy step, you’ll create a  to-die-for topping.

Ready? This is all there is to it…


Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

Take a handful of chocolate chips; I think this is about 1/2 cup.

Sprinkle the chips evenly over just-out-of-the-oven brownies (or cake).

Ya gotta do it while it’s hot enough to melt the chocolate. (See my special seashell table?I can make one for you, too!)

Simply take a butter knife or offset spatula and spread the melted chocolate chips gently over the top.

Look how glossy and shiny and YUMMY chocolaty good that looks.


Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

DELICIOUS-ness. Guaranteed.

A no-brainer, it’s a success EVERY time.


Photo by Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

It starts out soft and if you’re like me and store any leftovers in the refrigerator, the topping develops into a firm but not too hard coating that serves to protect and preserve each and every moist mouthful.

  • Works great on cookies, too.
  • I’ve never tried milk chocolate/mint chocolate/peanut butter chips, but I assume they’d be good; if you try them, let me know!

Here’s Princess Rosebud’s Brownie recipe. One bowl, super easy!

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cold coffee (I always use a bit of coffee with chocolate)
1/3 – 1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup flour
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Option: 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Mix thoroughly oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee. Incorporate cocoa and mix well.
Add flour, salt, baking powder, and nuts, if desired. Stir together, but not too vigorously. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes just until the edges pull away from the pan. No one likes dry brownies!


Father’s Day

I sent a package of brownies and apples from our tree to my son and daughter-in-law who live on the east coast.  For their 6th wedding anniversary in December, I created a cookbook of my son’s favorite foods and family recipes. It’s a project I intended to present to them as a wedding gift, but it took a bit longer than that to complete! I added lots of pictures from their childhood and throughout the past six years. I titled it Mommy Love. Best Loved Foods of Most Loved Angel Boy. This is the cover photo:

Here’s the brownie recipe; it’s one of my most requested! I usually make a simple cocoa-based frosting but I was out of butter, so I spread a thin layer of Nutella over the top and sprinkled chopped raw almonds so when I packed them for mailing, they wouldn’t stick.|
½ cup vegetable oil (you can use part melted butter)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp each vanilla and cold coffee
1/3 cup cocoa
½ cup flour
¼ tsp baking

Grease 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Whisk oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla/coffee. Combine dry ingredients, add, and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, until edges pull away from pan. Don’t bake too long or they will be dry.
These are great plain or try my easy Nutella topping!

Our fruit trees are doing great this year; lots of apples, strawberries, and mulberries. It is a never-ending pleasure to go outside and pick apples just a few steps away from the back door. The mulberry tree was a volunteer; I didn’t actually plant it, but it bears a lot of fruit.  The only disappointment is the plum tree–take a look at the $25 plum (the only one on the tree!) I planted the veg garden late this year, so my MM would be able to enjoy it all. Last year, he was gone the entire summer and missed it.  When I got back from my son’s graduation, I planted cucumbers, tomatoes, chard, kale, spinach, zucchini, peppers, and 3 different kinds of lettuce. Everything sprouted, including dill, cilantro, basil, fennel, and sage.

But garden bounty isn’t the only thing my MM misses—there are birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, Mother’s/Father’s Day. The first few special days that he wasn’t home for were gloomy and depressing, but his solution to that is to make up for it all when he comes home, so we just plan delayed celebrations, and that is fine with me! I haven’t talked to him since last Saturday but he was able to call today, and we had a brief conversation that lasted exactly three minutes. He didn’t remember that it was Father’s Day, but he is actually a day ahead, so it is Monday for him.  I think it makes everything a lot easier all the way around to be or to become flexible and not get upset about little things.
Hello Kitty…I am not sure if I can pinpoint the exact moment when I first became aware of Hello Kitty. With a son, it was never really on my radar as he was growing up. Shelves full of dinosaurs and skateboards were the aisles we aimed for at Toys R Us.  I guess it was more of a gradual appeal;  a (grown-up) friend wore a Hello Kitty watch and I was drawn to the Swarovski crystals surrounding HK’s face, I walked by a Hello Kitty display at Target (great point of purchase placement)– or maybe it was always hovering in my subconscious, fermenting and fomenting—until one day I succumbed. I was hooked. I fell in love with that adorable face. One watch led to a ring and to a matching bracelet and then slippers, and OMG the cutest hat with an anchor! (!!!! had to have it, right? It was a nautical theme) OK, most people associate HK with little girls, but did you know that there is a secret society of adult women who collect HK?  More often than not, when I wear my HK t-shirt, I’ll be approached by women I do not know who will ask me if I “collect”. It’s like the Skull and Bones society intended for women “of a certain age.” Haha. An ADULT COLLECTOR OF HK. I was recently at the Baltimore Airport during a layover and a Southwest employee saw my HK watch and struck up a convo about her collection, which includes the HK toaster, which I really need to get. We were whispering, “Are you one of us?” “Yes, tell me what you have” and we each listed the items in our collection. There we were, two college educated women of adult children, I am not kidding. It was surreal. I mean, who wants to talk about the depressing economy or the upcoming election? BORING!!! Hello Kitty is a sweet, innocent diversion that makes us happy. Since I am relatively new to the whole HK phenomenon, and I really can’t  for the life of me understand the appeal,  I wanted to explore the psychology of adult women who are drawn to HK and thought someone should write their dissertation about the marketing genius of this huge pink kitty head with a bow. And sparkles. And I just now found a blog on WordPress that seems to be a dissertation,check out
BTW, HK is worth about $500 BILLION yearly in licensing. And finally the ultimate…did you know that HK teamed up with one of Taiwan’s biggest airlines? What a great experience–a Hello Kitty extravaganza; from meals to mascots to boarding passes. Here’s pix of my very small collection: