It’s still dark and cold on my side of the continent and with Valentine’s Day approaching, all I want is chocolate and more chocolate. Some may believe chocolate is a cliché on Valentine’s Day, yet making something homemade, or HOMEMAYD together is romantic no matter what day of year it is. These brownies are lovely for the whole family or for a date night with your love. They aren’t dense and fudge like, they are a lighter version of the traditional brownie I would say, and the added cinnamon provides some warmth for those lingering winter blues.
Valentine’s Day never had much significance in my life before I met my husband. Because I fell in love wasn’t what changed the day for me, yet the events that took place surrounding the day with my husband.
Valentine’s Day was the day my husband and I found our first home together in Laguna Beach, California and it was also the day we drove up to our wedding venue, Figueroa Mountain Farmhouse in Los Olivos, California. This year we will be celebrating our five year anniversary. Therefore, I will be posting a few posts this week. These brownies are just a prelude to the posts to come. Cooking together is a large part of our relationship and we now include our daughter, she even has an apron collection of her own, taking after her Mama – I collect vintage aprons. I will leave that for another post, an entire post on its own. For now, for all of you who celebrate Valentine’s Day for the aspect of the pretty hearts from Eros, these heart shaped brownies are for you. Even though Valentine’s Day holds a deeper meaning for me aside from the hearts, I have to say, I love heart shaped anything and everything!
I have never been a huge fan of brownies. I believe that is only because I never found the perfect recipe. All of the brownies I have ever tried have been too rich, too much like fudge, too dense – too unhealthy! This recipe I have adapted from one of my favorite blogs, The Roasted Root. I have made my own alterations. I have baked these brownies countless times and they are truly forgiving – you cannot mess them up. Also you can make your own version by adding anything you like from: coffee grounds, sea salt on the top, lavender, caramel, coconut, you name it – you can add it. The amazing aspect of these brownies is that I don’t feel guilty eating them and most importantly, I don’t feel guilty feeding them to my daughter. They are made with chickpeas, therefore they are gluten free. I am not gluten free, yet it is very nice to have a sweet treat that isn’t made with flour from time-to-time. And for those who are gluten free, this is my go-to dessert to bake for them. Oh and don’t let me forget to include, you just toss |literally| every ingredient into a blender and blend it for two minutes, then pour the batter into your prepared pan and bake in a 9×9 pan. They take about 30 to 35 minutes from counter-to-table, yes, that’s all!
As a mother with a child who has a life threatening food allergy |peanut and tree nut allergy|, when going to a place – establishment or home, outside of our own home that is going to be offering up food can be nerve wracking. My daughter will be 4 years old in May and my nerves have just now begun to settle. For example, we were invited to attend a Valentine’s Day party over the weekend. It was a party for mothers and our little ones. We drank tea, ate King Arthur Flour scones, and helped our little ones create Valentine’s for their fathers. It was beyond sweet.
So let’s backup a few years, I was a nervous mess when entering into a small gathering with my daughter with her allergy. It was only because I didn’t know how to navigate through her allergy yet. I was afraid that every item prepared had come in contact with nuts or contained nuts, maybe hidden nuts. And I was beyond nervous that she would ask if she could have one of the items or treats and I would have to say, “you can’t have that because it contains nuts.” All-the-while she watches her friends indulge in something that looks yummy. These thoughts would break my heart. Yet, I have had to remind myself that these thoughts were mostly just fears and not reality. I do, however, always bring something. I bring something as I never like to show up empty handed, but also because then if I ever do encounter a situation where my daughter can’t partake in what is being served, she can always have what we have brought along with us. Thankfully I have also gained more confidence and I ask my friends to keep the boxes they have used to prepare their dishes, so I can refer to the ingredient list and allergy disclaimer. I used to feel as though I was getting in the way, but this is our little girl and her life is at risk. Therefore we assess the ingredients used and determine what we deem safe and not safe. Then I can settle in and I am able to relax and enjoy the gathering and most importantly, my daughter can. She now asks before she reaches for something to eat at someone else’s house, “Mama, is this nut free?” Together, she and I are making a pretty good team. And, she loved offering one of her dark chocolate brownie hearts to all the other kids at the gathering.