Woman peering anxiously into oven. Image by press 👍 and ⭐ from Pixabay

When you’re trying out a new recipe for the first time, do you ever get apprehensive that it won’t work out?

I certainly do. That’s why I usually stick with one of my mother’s tried-and-true dessert recipes.

I worry that if I bake a dessert I’ve never attempted before, I’m bound to mess it up. I fear that I’ll disappoint the people I serve it to, and tongues will wag.

As I walk by, people will whisper, “There’s that woman who serves fallen soufflés!”

Or, “Isn’t she the one who bakes cookies that are as hard as hockey pucks?”

In the worst-case scenario of my imagination, my baking debacle will be so embarrassing that I’d have to leave town.

With some recipes, however, you really can’t go wrong, even if you’ve never tried them before.

Brownies, for instance.

A while ago I tried a brownie recipe (see recipe below) that was different from my mother’s traditional one. I was a little nervous about how it would turn out, as I’d be serving it to friends and wanted to impress them.

I needn’t have worried!

How far wrong can you go when you throw together things like chocolate, butter and sugar? As long as you don’t burn it to a crisp, it’s going to be yummy.

You’ve got the right ingredients. Bake away!

Similarly, we may be apprehensive about some new venture God has placed on our hearts: serving at church, volunteering in the community, starting a new business, adopting a child, getting involved in missions, etc.

We’ve never done anything like this before. We don’t know if it’ll turn out the way we expect. We may be overcome with nerves before we begin.

But fear not! With God on your side, you’ve got the right ingredients:

You’ve got His wisdom through the Holy Spirit, a guarantee of His lovingkindness and careful concern for you, His strength to tap into, and the knowledge that He will guide you by nudging you in the right direction.

You can’t go too far wrong with ingredients like those!

So take flight! Step out in faith toward whatever new “mountain” God wants you to climb.

“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]” (Philippians 4:13 AMP)

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

You’ll love these decadent brownies! Photo by the author.

The Faith Cafe’s Fudgey Brownies

This recipe is now my go-to source for scrumptious, can’t-go-wrong brownies. It’s based on a family recipe from the late actress Katharine Hepburn. The original recipe was reprinted in Laurie Colwin’s “More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen,” which is where I found it. I tweaked it a bit by replacing some of the white sugar with brown sugar, which makes it all the richer. This recipe makes a dense, fudgey brownie which doesn’t need icing.

2 oz (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or brazil nuts, or 1 cup unsweetened coconut, medium desiccated (both optional)

Preheat oven to 325 º F. Butter well and flour an 8-inch square pan (if you have parchment paper, use it, as this batter really wants to stick to the pan).

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, or in a saucepan over low heat on the stove. Remove from heat; stir in the sugars until they’re mostly dissolved.

When chocolate mixture has slightly cooled, mix in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. If using nuts or coconut, stir in now, and blend well. Then, just barely stir in the flour: don’t over-mix once the flour has been added.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centre of brownies comes out clean. Let cool.

If you used parchment paper, lift it to remove the brownies from the pan, then cut them into bars. Otherwise, cut into bars while still in the pan and pry out.

© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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