Today, my six-year-old son, Max, wanted to make brownies. Yesterday we moved back into our home after over 3 ½ months of living in hotels due to extensive storm damage to our house. Most of our possessions were either in a storage unit or in our car. Max loves baking and cooking with me and it was hard on him not have that for our displaced months. I really wanted to acquiesce, but there was lots to do, unpack, and clean. I didn’t even know if we had the necessary tools and ingredients in place.
I did a quick mental check. No chocolate. Haven’t seen any cocoa. He won’t want a blondie. I don’t have a mixer, but that’s OK for brownies. . . . Last night I put away some of my daughter’s “healthy” Mexican chocolate. Found almost 6 ounces. I start googling recipes. “They all call for cocoa,” I told him. Out he came with a packet of hot cocoa mix from the hotel lobby that we found in our vitamin box.
We put the chocolate aside and planned to make the brownies after unpacking three more boxes. Max helped me out a great deal and we even reorganized the vitamins and medicines and all the Tupperware. There was no turning back. We were making brownies!
Now, no existing recipe could fit our limitations, but we both have made our share of brownies and we knew we could figure something out. I made most of the necessary adjustments, but he had some serious input. He assured me that brown sugar would taste great, since we didn’t have any white. He had the idea of the cocoa mix and was delighted when I informed him the Mexican chocolate is commonly used to make hot chocolate. Of course, we had to use a gluten-free flour to accommodate our family, so that makes baking on the fly even more tenuous. I was prepared to be eating them with spoons like pudding, or pouring milk to compensate for dry cakey brownies, but the result was really great! The brownies were moist and fudgy with enough structure to hold together easily and they did have a hot cocoa flavor! Kids and adults all looked for seconds.
Now, dear reader, I will share Max’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Recipe, but I have a request. I felt compelled to share this story with you and I can think of half a dozen parenting lessons to be gleaned from this special experience. Is it about smelling the roses, fostering creativity, resourcefulness, positivity, remembering what matters? All I know is that it turned into a great mom day for us. So, I want to ponder it. But I ask you to please comment with what you’d see as the moral of the story. I hope to better reflect on this through your wisdom. Thank you!
Max’s Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownies
1 ½ C butter
2 2.7 oz discs of Mexican chocolate, any flavor
1 package of hot cocoa mix (We used Swiss Miss)
½ tsp salt (omit if your butter is salted)
1 C lightly packed brown sugar (Pack lightly to make up for the extra sugar in the mix)
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 C gluten-free flour blend (or regular flour–see NOTE)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Cut up the butter and chocolate and microwave at half power in one minute intervals until melted. Stir together.
- Add the cocoa mix, salt, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour and stir in until just incorporated.
- Pour into a 9×9 greased pan and bake for 35 minutes or until done.
- Cool, cut, enjoy!
NOTE: no leavening is needed for these brownies, whether you use gluten-free or regular flour.
Copyright 2017 Kate Daneluk