Sweet Laurel's Double Chocolate Brownies

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Sweet Laurel's Double Chocolate Brownies

These brownies make an almost weekly debut in our home. Gooey, chocolatey, and oh so so decadently delicious. Everyone who tastes them can’t believe that they not only aren’t bad for you, but are gluten free and actually healthy to boot. Miraculously, that’s how everything in the Sweet Laurel Cookbook is! Having been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called lupus (more on that in an upcoming post) in the spring of 2018 after having Chloé, I’m so thankful for simple and easy recipes that won’t exacerbate my symptoms, and that I feel good giving my family knowing they aren’t full of garbage. All the ingredients for these babies can actually be found at Costco, so go stock up and make these brownies as soon as you can, I promise you won’t regret it! And if you want to spring for the Sweet Laurel Cookbook too, I highly recommend it. The cakes and cookies are even better than any gluten-containing dessert I’ve had, and the snickerdoodles are another Griffo house favorite.

Recipe shared with permission from Sweet Laurel

Makes 16 brownies

2 cups almond butter
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup 100% unsweetened cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (the kirkland brand at costco are vegan!)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper for easy removal, letting it hang over the sides (this is key because the brownies are so gooey there is no other way to extricate them from the pan).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the almond butter on medium speed, then mix in the eggs one at a time, maple syrup, and vanilla.

In a medium bowl whisk together the cacao powder, baking soda, and salt. A little at a time, add the dry ingredients into the wet in the stand mixer, stirring until a dough comes together. Stir in about three-fourths of the chocolate chips, the pour and spread the batter into the parchment lined pan.

Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top of the brownies and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the edges have set and they are still a bit fudgy in the center, then remove from the oven. Holding the sides of the parchment, lift the brownies in one piece from then pan and allow to cool somewhat before cutting into squares (the longer they cool, the more cleanly they will cut, but the waiting is tough let me tell you). Store in a sealed container for up to a week, or in the freezer indefinitely.

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Chloé | One

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Chloé | One

Dearest Chloé,

My girl. January 31st, as of exactly 8:25, you are one.This past year has been the best and hardest of my life. Being your mama has stretched and challenged and grown me like I could’ve never imagined before having you. Every day has meant going beyond myself and my human capacities and being completely unselfish and sacrificing and patient. I’m not perfect, but I try my hardest to be the mama you need each day.

But then there’s you. Sweet and joyful and kind and with the best heart. You love to snuggle and be close but you are also fiercely independent at times. Together we create wonder and magic in the small things. Spinning in the rain and laughing together with our heads back and our mouths open as we catch the raindrops. Trying to catch dust motes as they dance in the sun. Watching “Peter” rabbit hop around the backyard from your bedroom window. You are silly and the hammiest of babes. Trying as hard as you can to get your daddy and I to laugh with your faces. You love your stuffed animals, especially your Hedwig and your Pooh. You have so much personality for such a tiny human and I love seeing it come alive.

You are perfect, my Chloé Marie. I’m so thankful for the last year with you, and though I wish time would slow down and stop racing faster, I’m looking forward to all the years ahead, and to watching you grow and bloom and become even more you. I love being your mama. You are my heart outside my body, little Bug. Happiest birthday my girl. 

Love,
Mama

Chloé loves Winnie the Pooh, so we threw her a Pooh themed picnic party in our backyard on a 75 degree January Saturday. She was ecstatic upon coming outside and seeing all the characters in the grass.

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Creative Confession

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Creative Confession

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Confession time. I am a creator.

Some of my fondest memories are running around with a film camera taking pictures as a little girl; interior designing my mom’s old dollhouse a hundred times over; wedding planning for my Barbies; crafting a yacht and house for my dolls with a boxcutter, old boxes and packing tape (balcony, working doors, and stairs included); making my own paper dolls and designing them clothes; styling and photographing the salad I’d been told to make instead of making it. You name it, I probably made it as a child.

That creativity still runs in my veins today, and those moments and more have translated into the things that I still love to do as an adult. So it makes sense that I’ve never actually been able to fully commit to one creative outlet or work. Ever. I’ve always labeled myself as one thing or the other, changing the label to fit the season that I’m in. But starting now that’s over. Why should I be or do one thing when I’m good at so many things? Shifting between multiple things instead of doing the same thing over and over should prevent burn out anyway, right? Right!

I’ve had a lot of time to think and dream during my year long hiatus from freelance (spent focusing on and engaging with my daughter Chloé). And now more than ever I know that I know that I know that I was made to create. So starting today I’m going to be available to do all the creative things I love. Interior design and styling, food photography and styling, love and lifestyle photography, lifestyle blogging, and more as the urge to create in new ways comes. If you are interested in following along on my creative journey, please check out my updated website and sign up for my email list on the homepage. If you want me to create something for you, please get in touch via DM or the let’s talk button on the homepage. If you’re interested in your home or a room in it being a part of the interior design portfolio I’m assembling, be sure to enter my upcoming Instagram giveaway. As always, thanks for coming along for my wild creative journey. 

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Chloé | 08 - 09 Months

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Chloé | 08 - 09 Months

Well despite my best intentions, this summer was wild and the months really got away from me! As well as we went on a really fun and long road trip where I ended up leaving my camera in Portland for a month or two. Thank God for our friends who we stayed with there bringing it back to me in San Diego, because no way would I feel okay shipping my other electronic baby. Then I planned on taking Chlo’s 7 month photos but we moved suddenly and I literally had no time. So here we are!

At seven months Chloé Bug was doing a hilariously exaggerated army crawl, and would get up and rock on her hands and knees.

She hates headbands and I have to distract her like crazy to get her to keep them on. Bug likes being naked and puts up a stink when its time to get dressed. She sometimes says hi, (sounds like eyeee), and says Mama. Mama can apparently be applied to anything, but what really melts my heart is when she wakes me up in the morning by petting my face and saying “Mama”. Chloe is also working on a very subtle wave to go with her hi, and said Dada a week after Mama. Nine months on the dot, she popped her first tooth through!

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