Today, I’d like to introduce Ellen Cardona, author of Brownie Fix. Ellen wrote Brownie Fix to help her deal with the postpartum depression she experienced after one of her pregnancies. Through her writing, she found that postpartum depression was real but conquerable, especially when one has the help of some dark chocolate and even darker humor.
When Ellen is not writing, she teaches literature to college freshmen and attempts to help them understand the writing process, though they think she’s crazy because of her love for literature and writing.
Ellen graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a PhD in Humanities with a specialization in Literature. Even though she has published several academic works on Ezra Pound, she could not ignore her true passion as a fiction writer.
Ellen lives in Richardson, Texas and continues to learn daily from her husband and two children. In good times and bad, she still enjoys her brownies.
Please help me welcome Ellen to James & Jax, and thank her not only for posting here but also for including her brownie recipe! I am VERY excited to make a batch! And still another bonus is that you can visit Ellen’s website and download Chapter One of Brownie Fix. I have not read Brownie Fix yet, but it’s on my summer reading list.
Don’t forget, if you feel depressed, there are so many supportive communities online, like the #ppdchat on Twitter and Facebook & the Mama’s Comfort Camp group on Facebook, to name just a few of my personal favorites. And brownies, of course, also help.
Well, it’s because I couldn’t believe I was the only one in the world that was not experiencing the gratitude and the joy that I was supposed to be feeling as a mother.
It was like a conspiracy when my son was born in 1997. Brooke Shields had yet to tell her experiences about postpartum depression, and Marie Osmond had yet to flee her family, and no one had really talked about postpartum depression. I heard about it once in my pregnancy classes, and it was just a side note. I am so happy to see this blog and many others about postpartum depression because it means that you are not alone.
Postpartum depression is real, and there is hope when those walls feel like closing around you, and you just can’t seem to reach out to grab someone’s hand. There are moms reaching out now . . . for you. There’s a whole community now where you can voice your thoughts and commiserate.
That’s progress. That’s huge progress from the 90s.
Brownie Fix is about my own struggles with postpartum depression, but the plot and characters are exaggerated with some very dark humor and chocolate. If I wrote about myself, that would be very, very boring. What is real is the raw emotion in the story. That emotion is mine, and it’s reality for many of us.
I could ramble on about how I was able to come to peace with myself but that again would be boring. I’m still on my journey, but it’s a good one towards self-acceptance.
Instead, I’d like to share with you one of my fallback plans when depression creeps up from time to time. It’s my brownie recipe that I tweaked over and over again for Brownie Fix.
Here it is and enjoy. Remember, never give up because we’re fighters, but if you get desperate, throw some chocolate in the mix.
Ellen Cardona’s Brownie Fix Recipe
2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup chocolate chips (or ½ cup of chocolate chips and ½ cup of caramel) For caramel, I use the sauce in the jar but get creative and substitute what you want.
Powdered sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the chocolate in a double boiler or use a saucepan over low heat until melted. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until blended. Whisk the eggs in a bowl just until blended. Add the sugar and flour to the eggs and stir until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate mixture and chocolate chips.
Spray the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the brownies pull from the sides of the baking dish. I usually bake about 30 minutes because I like them a little gooey.
Immediately dust with powdered sugar. Cool in the baking dish on a wire rack. Makes 2 dozen brownies.
(Original recipe taken from Dallas Dish with variations made for Brownie Fix.)