I once met an author who likened God’s grace to having dessert. It’s indulgent. Extravagant. A little scandalous. A true labor of love. And it’s incredibly good. Meant to be enjoyed fully and freely. That idea has stuck with me ever since. Jesus says in John 10 that He came “so that they may have life, and have it to the full“ (John 10:10). He’s talking about us. He wants us to live our lives abundantly.
That author was John J. Thompson, who I mentioned in last week’s post on coffee. He comments in his book, Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate, that what Jesus says there in John “sounds extravagant. Like chocolate!” Later he says that chocolate “reminds me of the abundant life [God] offers and of the responsibility we have to lovingly strive for the highest and truest manifestations of that abundance” (Jesus, Bread, and Chocolate, John J. Thompson, pgs. 87 and 104). I couldn’t agree more.
I think living a life of abundance in Christ doesn’t have to do with material possessions or personal successes. After all, we’re not dealing with a genie in the sky who only exists to grant our wishes. Nor is it about striving to earn anything from Him, which we learn very quickly isn’t possible. I think it has everything to do with spiritual freedom. The misguided notion that being a Christian is all about rules, just a list of dos and don’ts, has always made me a little sad. Living a life that honors Christ is all about freedom…the freedom of knowing that what I do (or choose not to do) is not what saves me. As a believer in Him, I can never be so bad that I’m exempt from receiving God’s grace, but never so good that I’m exempt from needing it.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When we let go of the dos and don’ts, I think we’ll find a deeper richness and truer joy in living out of the true gift that is God’s grace, for His glory. Richness and joy…sounds sweet, doesn’t it?
So today, let’s embrace the gift of dessert together! Naturally, chocolate is gonna be the star. These Brownie Cookies are the perfect representation of indulgence. I made them recently when we had a couple friends over for dinner and let me tell you, they are addictive. So be sure make lots of them and share with a few friends ;).
This yummy recipe comes to you from the I Heart Eating blog. Here’s what I love about these babies:
- They are truly from scratch, and therefore make me feel like a real baker 😛
- The prep process is long, but it makes the end result is that much sweeter. And once the batter is ready, these guys come out in 10 minutes! I do agree with the author: don’t skimp on the mixing time OR the chilling time. It’s worth it in the long run, to get that to-die-for cookie/brownie texture combo.
- Um, they’re delicious.
A quick note: I used semisweet chocolate in place of the bittersweet chocolate she calls for. Why? A) because my local grocery store seemed to be hiding their bittersweet somewhere far beyond my ability to thoroughly scan the baking aisle, and B) from what I’ve read, they’re basically the same thing. And guess what? They were still oh-so-yummy.
So without further ado, I invite you to try these ever-indulgent, so-decadent, Brownie Cookies, full recipe here. Scroll down for some tips and tricks from my own experience cranking out these bad boys. Let me know what you think, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
A Few Tips from My Kitchen
- For baking, I like to melt chocolate using the double boiler method (pictured below). I find it melts smoother with a lower risk of burning. It’s super easy to do and requires 2 things you probably already have in your kitchen: a small saucepan, and a glass bowl that fits snugly inside without touching the bottom.
Simply fill the saucepan about a quarter-inch deep with water and set it over medium-high heat. Place the glass bowl inside, and load it with your butter and chocolate. As they melt together, stir with a spatula to incorporate everything smoothly. Once it’s all melted, remove from heat and set aside.
- I used my hand mixer since I don’t own one with a stand. No matter what kind of mixer you use, take those 5 minutes seriously…you want a nice thick texture before adding the chocolate, not a thin watery one!
- When adding the flour and cocoa powder, I first folded it into the batter with a spatula to get things mostly incorporated, then hit it with the hand mixer again to get things smooth and remove any clumps.
- Take the chilling time seriously too. This makes portioning the batter onto the cookie sheets way easier.
- After baking, allow the cookies to cool completely before serving or storing (you know, if you have that kind of self-control). These cookies like to stick to each other, so the cooler they are, the less that will happen.
Betchya can’t have just one! Enjoy!!!
For God’s glory,
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