“That will be different next time,” a man relayed nonchalantly, multi-tasking a phone call into his evening commute like so many of us do. My little one’s leash pulled me within earshot, over the darkness enshrouded golf course. Had we been earlier, had we caught the last glimpse of sun, she surely would not have been allowed on the green, but under the purple and navy sky, her presence marked time and change. Beyond the silhouetted trees, a city glimmered, and two universities flickered with the frenzy of minds at work, bodies on the go, teams in competition, feeding, sleeping and all the ups and downs of success and stress.
I used to seek the manicured course for a brief escape. I’d walk the hills and the private drives with enviable condos, hoping to ease the mounting stresses in my mind. Over the course of my own university frenzies, I walked to the neighboring park with the both the weight of a broken heart and the lifted shoulders of accomplishment.
The past few months have had their fair share of unexpected life changes, and their stresses crept up to me in the night and stole my slumber. My subsequent escape to the park was subconscious. How fitting to find myself in the park, where darkness forced me to focus on simple steps, literally one foot in front of the other, avoiding tree roots and the unexpected. How fitting to share this peaceful place with a puppy and to see the sensory overload exhilarate her.
As I tread carefully in the darkness, my past and present tiptoed around each other, just as the man said, “that will be different next time.”
In my recent frenzies, my kitchen has been more of a collector of dirty dishes than the typical haven for culinary creativity. However, a craving drove me to make my way through the kitchen sink’s collection to whip up something sweet and satisfying. I originally made a very simple spelt brownie, but the second time around, I added more variety. The beauty of this 8×8 chocolate canvas is it can be different every time!
Orange, Cranberry & Pistachio Spelt Brownies
Makes an 8×8 pan of brownies
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped (Ghirardelli)
1 stick organic unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 1/3 cups turbinado raw sugar
2 large organic eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure orange extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup organic dried cranberries
Heat oven to 350°F.
Oil an 8×8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain.
Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted.
Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt.
Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan, spread until even.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.
Let cool and cut into desired size.
If desired, dust the brownies with powdered sugar before serving.
-With The Grains