Hailstorm Brownies


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Okay, for those who wanted to know why I wrote my Happiness Tip #13 about coping with disappointment — this is what happened to me: Three (not one but three!) projects I worked really hard on suddenly took a nose dive yesterday evening about the same time. Ouch! As a writer, I’m “accustomed” to rejection, but I felt sandbagged.

However, as they say, when life gives you lemons… make lemonade!  And what goes GREAT with lemonade???? ….

Hailstorm Brownies, unbaked

HAILSTORM BROWNIES!

The reason I named these “Hailstorm Brownies” is that when you scrape the raw goo from the bowl into the baking pan, when the nuts and chocolate chips hit the pan… it sounds like hail!

The recipe is easy. I’m on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet and I simply use purchased mixes. So grab your favorite boxed brownie mix and a few extra ingredients you’ll see listed below (you purists can go ahead and bake from scratch like I used to, if you want).

1. Prepare the mix according to the package instructions (duh)

2. Stir in the following:

— 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts you like)

AND

— 1/2 cup chocolate chips

3. Scrape the thick brownie goo into your prepared baking  pan with a rubber spatula (listen for the sound of a hailstorm!) and smooth the top so the depth of batter is about the same throughout the pan

4.  Crush a few peppermint hard candies or candy canes (easy method: put candy between two sheets of waxed paper and hammer with the handle of your kitchen shears until the candy is somewhat crushed, but not finely crushed into a powder). Sprinkle the candy over the uncooked brownies.

5.  Bake as directed

While waiting for the brownies to bake, do some quick ab crunches or run in place — use up about a hundred calories ahead of time, ’cause you’ve got a rich treat coming your way.

You know that I’m all about balance and stress-free living!

You’re supposed to let the brownies cool before cutting, but as you see in the “after” photo, my cut brownie fell apart — that’s because I really wanted one, and it was not cool yet. But it tasted great and the melted peppermint candy topping gave a nice crunchy texture to each bite before reaching the soft moist interior of all that chocolate.

Hailstorm Brownies, cut too soon

Btw, the Gluten-free mix I used is by Namaste, which has a whole line of products for people with food allergies. I also like The Cravings Place Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chewy Brownie Mix (the mix includes huge chunks of chocolates so please don’t add the chocolate chips as well or your brownies won’t hold together very well) and also Gluten-Free Pantry Truffle Brownie Mix.

I live in Los Angeles, but in the Valley area where we have hotter summers and colder winters than in the L.A. Basin or along the coast. Hail is not a common event here, but we did have several hail storms this past winter (hey, it’s officially Spring now and I’m glad to say goodbye to Winter’s cold and rain).  For a few moments, before the hail melts, the grass and  flower beds look like it just snowed. That’s why I sprinkled the peppermint candy on top of my brownies before baking — it gives a sparkly crust to the top.

Enjoy!

Until next time, to your happiness and success,

Evelyn Brooks

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