(My apologies for ignoring Wheatless Wednesday today. I promised this recipe a long time ago and today I had the time to sit and write. 🙂 )
I’ve never been one of those parents who mourns the passing of stages in the development of their children, but sometimes I randomly stop and realize how quickly it’s going.
This is one of those weeks when the reality of my kids growing up is hitting me. I don’t really have little kids anymore. Last night I cut their hair and the faces looking back at me as I checked for even sides and straight(ish) bangs are no longer babyish. They’re growing up, and I’m beginning to see glimpses of the beautiful women they will become.
Today I went to my middle daughter’s kindergarten “program” and watched as she did all the actions with their song. I also watched as she was excitedly chattering about something in response to all the people there. This little girl who couldn’t sit up by herself till she was 17 months old is now pulling up on anything and everything, crawling, and itching to walk. She’s pulling hair far less than she used to and content to just sit next to her friends or to offer a hug to her sisters or me (granted, they can get a bit tight, but it’s all in love!).
In the car on the way to the library to pick up books for my oldest, the youngest asked if we were going to the “Westerville” library. It’s no longer the “brown library.” She counts like mad and can write her name. She’s potty-trained. Gone is my baby. And those books I was picking up? They’re well beyond my daughter’s seven-and-a-half years of age. And while her sass is frustrating to us, I realize it’s also part of the game of growing up and becoming more independent. It’s showing that soon (much sooner than I like) she’s going to be a teenager.
As I’m going through all of this, I’m also thankful for the many friends who are in this with me. I’m thankful for their honesty, their humor, their help, and their suggestions for my kitchen creations. 🙂 This comes from my friend who has a Starbucks chai habit, who is in love with their chocolate cinnamon bread and found the recipe online for me. I’ll be honest, I’ve always been skeptical of chocolate and cinnamon together. It’s kind of like chocolate and fruit — why would you ruin two good things by putting them together? But in the name of friendship and knowing her taste, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it just once. Someday soon I will make her a whole loaf of this bread. Until then (meaning, until I remember to get buttermilk), I’ll take the shortcut and make brownies. And while Joy the Baker may have given up on a homemade brownie recipe that tops a box mix (but this cake of hers looks really good), I continue to use my stand-by brownies and cram as much chocolate as possible in them. With a hint of coffee in it, I can’t imagine that Starbucks would disapprove of this twist on their bread. 🙂
As we’re catapulted through time toward eternity, there will be times I continue to marvel at growing up and growing old. I will continue to pray for my growing daughters and am thankful that with each step they take, I know where they’re going. And along the way, I’ll be sure to introduce them to some of the wonderful gifts God has given us in this world. Chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee — to name a few. It’s all part of growing up, folks… 🙂
Chocolate Cinnamon Brownies
- ¾ cup butter or margarine
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips, divided
- 1 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. brewed coffee
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup baking cocoa
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
Cocoa Spice Topping
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp dutch processed cocoa
- Pinch of ground ginger
- Pinch of ground cloves
- ¼ cup sparkle sugar or turbinado sugar (for decorating)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter and 1/2 cup chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl (about 1 minute on high). Stir till smooth. Stir butter mixture, sugar, and coffee together in large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture. Spread into greased 9×13” pan. Top with chocolate chips and cocoa spice topping. Bake for 18-25 minutes or until edges are browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.
Below is the version using Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa.