One of my favorite pastimes is sharing meals with women. I’ve known many great men who can cook (and who love to eat), but nothing compares to a group of women getting together over food. I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by women who love food, grow food, cook food and eat with confidence and pleasure. Women, starting with my own mother, are the ones who taught me to really appreciate good cooking.
Without women, I wouldn’t have any special recipes to pass down or anything new to bring to the next potluck. Women share ideas—we ask, we’re curious, we explore, we experiment, we hunger for something new. And we do this together as friends and sisters and neighbors. It’s in our DNA. What we do best is love, and for many of us, how we love is feeding others and ourselves. Love is what I find when I look for strength, and love is what I find when I look for inspiration.
The following recipe for Skillet Bourbon Brownies was passed down by a friend who never ceases to inspire me—she farms for her community, she cooks the food she grows, and she endlessly combs the world for beauty and discovery.
SKILLET BOURBON BROWNIES
3/4 cup coconut oil
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
Bunch of cardamom
Splash of bourbon
2 cups raw/coarse/turbinado sugar
1 cup flour or Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
The ingredients are listed in the order they are added.
The secret is that all of this happens in one vessel: melt the coconut oil and chocolate on the stove on low heat in a pot big enough to add the rest of the ingredients.
Once melted, let it cool a bit and add cardamom and bourbon to taste. Wait to add the eggs until the melted chocolate/oil combo has cooled. Mix in sugar. Mix in flour.
Grease a cast iron pan (this is the other secret—essential to ultimate brownie success) with a little coconut oil, pour the batter into the pan and bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes. You want a fork/knife/toothpick to come out clean, but you do not want to overcook them—the moister the better when they come out of the oven. They will harden as they cool.
Claire Jeffers lives in Portland and works as a freelance writer and communications strategist. Follow her adventures on Instagram: @claireinmaine