Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday to you know who...and MOCHA BROWNIES

"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art...It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." - C.S. Lewis
Today is a monumental day indeed.

My bestest friend turns the big 3-0!  I don't know about her, but I sure am freaking out over here! When did we suddenly become old and adults?  Seems like yesterday we were teenagers trying to survive high school.

I remember the day God decided that we should be friends in 11th grade.  We were classmates at a tiny school  - and had not gotten off on a good foot.  We hung out with different groups of people, and never really talked to each other.  All of a sudden she had all these bad things happen in her life - she was in a skiing accident and on crutches, and then some of her friends passed away unexpectedly.  My heart broke for her and I wanted desperately to do something to help take away some of the sadness.  So I did the only sensible thing - I made her a card with a giant ostrich on it.  I don't remember what the card said - but it worked.  We have been friends ever since!

"There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship." - St. Thomas Aquinas
After high school we went to college together and then became roommates my Senior/her Junior year.  I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, and if I get married one day she too will be in my wedding. I am Godmother to her eldest son, and if I have kids one day she will be Godmother to one of my kids.

When bad things happen - I want to call her and hear her good advice and be reassured of God's love for me.  When good things happen - I want to call her and tell her every single detail.

I don't know what the standard rule is for how long you have to be friends with someone before they become family - but she has most definitely passed that mark and is now a sister.

She is a gift to all those around her.  She is a incredible wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, and all around a very impressive human being.  I am very blessed by her friendship.

Life is so much more enjoyable when you have people like her in it.  She knows me, and I know her. I know her back stories, she knows mine.  I know her awesome family (especially her incredible parents), and she knows mine.  We encourage each other to live our Faith, and to love the people around us.

I don't know what I did to deserve a friend as wonderful as her, but I am eternally grateful!  If you are reading this please be sure to offer up a prayer for her today!

One of the things we share a common love for is all things chocolate!  She makes incredible truffles, homemade mocha's, and chocolate chip cookies.  No joke, one time I visited her I think I consumed 1/2 my body weight in cookie dough - yes, it is that good!  I sent her these brownies for her birthday, and I will eat one here in Texas for her while she eats one in Virginia.  I look forward to the many years ahead we will share together as friends eating pounds and pounds of chocolate together. : )

adapted from Ina Garten's Outrageaous Brownie recipe
1 pound unsalted butter (This is 4 sticks FYI)
24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided (about 4 cups, or 2 bags)
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules or super finely ground coffee
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional - I don't put them in, but if I did I would probably toast them first)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12x18x1 inch baking sheet. (if you don't have a pan this size you can also use 2-13x9 pans - they will just be a little thinner)  Melt together the butter, one pound of the chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and rest of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.  Spread evenly.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and dough. Bake for another 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not over bake!
Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.
Ina’s notes: Flouring the chips and walnuts keeps them from sinking to the bottom.
It is very important to allow the batter to cool well before adding the chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies.
Do ahead: This recipe can be baked up to a week in advance, wrapped in plastic, and refrigerated.

May you all be as fortunate in friendship as I have been, and if you aren't - I was once told that in order to find a good friend you have to first be a good friend. : )    So make these brownies, sit down and share them with an old friend - or go find a new one...and as always,


ps. remember this song? : )


  1. Tears, and Joy.

    Thank you, dear friend. I will call you when I eat the brownies.

  2. Absolutely beautiful. :)

  3. Dagny, I want these bad, real bad, right now! Also, on a completely unrelated note, I nominated you for a Liebster Award.