Welcome to the creative home of artist and maker Charlotte Lyons.



My brownies are The Best Brownies. My friend Cathy's are really good, but I have made enough brownies to know what I like best. Dark unsweetened chocolate (not cocoa) with walnuts and butter and real vanilla, baked to a rich, dense tile of thin (not puffy) chocolate heaven. The old Fannie Farmer recipe is the only one for me.

  • 2 ounces dark unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup butter *
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate and butter together over low heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes. (I usually double the recipe.)

The household technique here is to spray the brownie pan, line it with wax paper, spray again and fill. After baking and a 10 minute cooling on a rack, invert the pan onto a cookie sheet, peel the wax paper off, and turn right side up again onto a cutting board. Cut into bars. This way there isn't any digging into the pan to lift and remove so the brownies come out like those in a bakery with even sizes and edges. Store in a tin. Or freeze. 

* I have actually started to use the Earth Balance butter substitute. It truly tastes and bakes like butter, but is a lot healthier. We only use this product and olive oil now. (And no one asked me to say that. I'm a big fan.) In fact, I only shop at stores that carry it and it's a big bonus if the same store carries my favorite brand and flavor of yogurt too.

Most days I try to visit Mom at lunchtime. I take fresh fruit to the table along with newspapers and other goodies from the outside world. After watching the permanent residents pass around our bowl of fresh pineapple in what looked like a scene from the Diary of Anne Frank, I realized that fresh food is a rare treat there. It's baffling to see what institutional kitchens cook and serve to folks who have dietary restrictions or are trying to heal.

And I'm going to show up today with a big tray of brownies! (Yes, I do know that these aren't healthy, but at least they are fresh and homemade. And they taste GOOD!) I do love to bake.

I'm bringing enough for the nurses and aides too. Without a doubt, they deserve way more than a few brownies. I don't know that I'll ever be able to properly thank each and every one of the kind, gentle souls who have helped my mother along toward recovery.

Ripples of kindness begin today in a big pot of melted chocolate.

off to portland

on a twirl