“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.”–Walt Whitman
Remember the rhyme that went something like this . . .
“Rain, rain go away.
Come again another day.
Little Sally (Insert any name.) wants to play.
Rain, rain go away.”
Well, I’ve rewritten it.
2020, go away.
Don’t come back another day.
Little Stephie (Insert any name.) wants to play.
2020, please go away.
Let’s face it, folks, 2020 has been a challenging year for the entire world on so many levels. It seems to me that just when I think it can’t get any worse, it can, and it does! Sometimes I feel like we’re living in the Old Testament days alongside Job. Okay, okay, that is perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. However, it does feel, at times, that there is a dark and menacing cloud hovering over the edges of life that will not dissipate.
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”–Charles M. Schulz
Therefore, trumpet trill please, I present you with a newly created recipe idea . . . Light, triumphing over darkness. Sweetness overcoming bitterness. All symbolically baked up into one luscious, (fairly) guilt-free indulgence. . . or, so I thought it was a new idea. (Insert daughter popping my bubble here.)
My daughter, Madelyn, introduced me to the name of my so-called creation when I shared with her my, “exciting new recipe idea.”
“Uhm, Mom. You know that’s not a new thing, right? Mixing brownie and chocolate chip cookie dough is not new–not even close. Look it up. It’s called a “brookie.”
Since when? I never heard of it.
“Brookie. Really? It’s a thing? I didn’t first create it?”
“No, Mom, you didn’t.”
Cue the pom-pom shaking teenager from a long-ago video-vine, with which Maddie used to tease me as the unknown teen looked straight into the viewer’s eyes and stated, “You ain’t special.”
“Huh, I guess I am not so clever after all.”
Nonetheless, even if I am not as special or as innovative as I thought, I will still share my recipe for the so-called “brookies” with you, courtesy of the kind people at Swerve.
Early into the start of 2020, my brother, Scott, and I were talking via phone when he asked me if I had heard of a new sweetening product called Swerve. At the time, he described it as the sweetener that he was using to regularly make lemonade in order to remain low-carb. He added that it did not upset his digestive system as other sweeteners tend to do. Since I also have an extremely sensitive stomach too, I was definitely interested in giving the product a try.
This was early in the pandemic when there were numerous shortages, especially in the baking aisles of grocery stores. I was fortunate enough on my next shopping trip to pick up what appeared to be the last package of Swerve in-stock. Trying it first in my green tea, I found I liked the taste–not possessing that fake chemical after-taste–nor was it overly sweet. Plus, it did not upset my stomach.
In a later discussion with Scott, he shared with me that he had successfully baked cupcakes using the Swerve confectioner sugar replacement. Whaaat??? He remained impressed with the product. Hmm . . .
That’s when I decided to give Swerve a try in my raspberry muffin creation that I shared last month both. It baked up well, tasted great, and did not seem to affect the texture. Best of all, I still did not experience any negative gastrointestinal side effects! However, when I shopped at my supermarket the following week, they were completely wiped out of all Swerve products.
Much to my surprise that is when the good people at Swerve reached out to me, asking if I’d like to try out more of their products. Little did I know how many products this company makes! Wow! All of the products they shared were gluten-free and grain-free–which especially works for me. Additionally, according to their packaging, Swerve products are Keto/low-carb friendly, low-glycemic, diabetes friendly, tummy friendly, natural, zero added sugar, and all natural, “born and raised in New Orleans.” Plus, I can remain plant-based when I bake with them by merely tweaking a few ingredients as you will see below.
Additionally, while my first batch of “brookies” was baking, I discovered the Swerve company has an amazing website chock full of support, advice, recipes, and ideas. Sure enough, as my so-called original recipe continued baking, I learned that they already had a “brookie” recipe on-line. Maddie was right, I was indeed NOT special. Cue the sigh and slumping shoulders as the spotlight fades into darkness on my so-called bright idea.
Even if not as original as I once thought, I will still share my “brookie” variation with you. I especially recommend this recipe when you feel a little dark and down, or not-so-special. Simply the smell alone is enough to lift the spirits! However, it’s the ooey-gooey texture and the combination of two different tastes that is, well, enlightening–reminding the taster that even in the midst of a challenging and dark moment, life can still have its light, sweet moments.
“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”–Ernestine Ulmer
From my home to yours, I wish you healthy, happy, homemade, and not-so-original sweet treats!
P.S. A big shout out of thanks and gratitude to Stephanie Ferrari at FRESH Communications and the Swerve team for inspiring this not-so-original recipe!
Indulgent Chocolate Chip Brownie Bars aka “Brookies”
1 package brownie mix (I used Swerve Sweets Brownie Mix.)
2 large eggs (I used a plant based replacement that I affectionately refer to as a “flegg” but it’s probably not original either! See recipe below.)
½ cup oil (I used applesauce.)
½ cup water
1 + 2 tablespoons vanilla extract or powder (I used Organic Gold Vanilla powder.)
Optional add-in: ½ cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life 100% dark chocolate Morsels.)
1 package chocolate chip cookie mix (I used Swerve Sweets Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix.)
3 tablespoons milk, dairy or plant-based
3 tablespoons melted butter (or plant-based equivalent, i.e. applesauce)
Optional add in: ½ cup favorite nut pieces or oats (I used gluten free oats.)
If replacing eggs, make your “flegg” before beginning any other steps.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a square baking dish by lining it with parchment paper, or coating it with nonstick cooking spray. (I used a 9 x 9 pan.)
In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs with oil, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and water.
Add in brownie mix, and if desired, stir in chocolate chips and mix until combined.
Spread brownie batter over the bottom of the baking dish.
In another medium bowl, mix together milk and 2 tablespoons vanilla.
Stir in chocolate chip cookie mix, and if desired, add in nuts or oats.
Add in melted butter and mix until combined.
Gently spread chocolate chip batter over brownie batter.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry and the edges are set. Cover with foil about half-way through baking time (around the 20-25 minute mark) so that the top won’t get too brown.
Allow to cool.
Makes 12-16 servings.
Store in an airtight container.
“Flegg” egg replacement recipe:
2 tablespoons flaxseed (Chia seed works too.)
6 tablespoons of water.
Mix well and allow to sit for 20 minutes before mixing batter.