I'm honored to be a part of RJ Scott's Autism Awareness Blog Hop this year. This month, authors will be posting facts about autism to increase understanding and awareness, and there will be some giveaways along the way too. Find links to the other posts here.
Today's autism fact: Autism is NOT a disease.
The theme of this year's hop is Food. Maybe it's my Italian heritage, maybe just something about my personality, but, for me, food has always been a way to show care. If you come over or I visit you, I will try to feed you. I love cooking for people and baking for them. With the world turned upside down as it has, I'm not cooking and baking for others the way I always did (and I look forward to when I can again), but I've been cooking for me—all my favorite comfort foods (lots of pasta!)—and I've been baking. Baking is one of my favorite hobbies—something I do for others, yes, but also something I do for fun and distraction. And right now, something I do to relieve anxiety and stress. My freezer is becoming seriously stocked with baked goods, though I've also eaten more than I should...
I'm sharing my favorite brownie recipe with you here. These are delicious, chocolatey and fudgy and chewy. They're also gluten free, and—important for those of us conserving flour right now—flourless. And pretty easy to make.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 chocolate chips (technically optional, but I like the added chocolate. Sometimes I also add a little cinnamon or some finely chopped fresh mint if I have it in the summer)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease.
Melt butter and chocolate together in a small microwave-safe bowl (or use a double boiler). Stir until smooth, and allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cornstarch. Add in the butter mixture and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-33 minutes, until the brownies are set around the edges. All to cool completely in the pan before slicing.
Makes 16 brownies. (Or fewer if you like really big brownies, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!)
About The Merchant's Love:
Faelen, cousin to the prince and son of a diplomat, has finally come home to Tournai after years away. The pull to return was almost tangible, and the sense of rightness at being back is absolute. He wants nothing more than to put down roots and build a life among family while pursuing his linguistic studies. Becoming involved in magic meant to protect Tournai isn’t part of his plans…and falling in love is even more unexpected and unfamiliar, but he finds himself doing just that as his friendship with Maxen deepens into something more.
Maxen, second son of a wealthy merchant family, longs to leave Tournai and visit everywhere he can. All his life, he’s found places on maps and dreamed, planning out routes to get to them. For now, he’s tied to Tournai’s capital city by family obligations and his position in their shipping business. Someday, though, he’ll be able to travel. His sudden attraction to Faelen shocks him, but their friendship soon becomes a necessary part of his life. Love, however, has no place in his plans, especially not love for a royal cousin with secrets who wants nothing more than to stay in one place.
For Faelen and Maxen to build something real between them, they must resolve their differences, but when magic goes awry and all Faelen’s secrets are revealed, will Maxen remain at his side?
Take care and stay safe, everyone!