Bessie’s Best Ever Nesting Box Brownies

Nesting Box Brownies

This post is last in a sequence which began with a previous post about Bessie that you may want to read as well.

Bessie likes to call this a “Two Bowl and One Pan” recipe, and it is our holiday (or anyday) gift to you, our readers. As you may remember, she insisted on illustrating each recipe herself so anyone could follow them, and look at that! There really are two bowls and one pan. She is so clever!

Just so you know, these are not really brownies, but Bessie knows people like something called “brownies.” (We could not make real chocolate brownies because chickens, like many animals, should not have chocolate.)

When these have cooled and are cut them into squares, they do resemble nesting boxes with a firm cookie bottom layer and a softer, almost fluffy coconut “nesting straw” layer on top.

Go ahead and “be a chicken,” if that means being a chicken like Bessie, and bake these for yourself! If you have any chickens or children at home, they can help out using Bessie’s easy-to-follow recipe illustration, starting with getting out two bowls (one medium and one large) and one 9- x 13-inch pan! Arrange everything like you see it and get started!

Although her recipe illustration tells just about all you need to know, below is her recipe in a more traditional format if you don’t have chickens or children at home to help you!

Bessie’s Best Ever Nesting Box Brownies

Ingredients for First Bowl

1 cup chopped pecans
1 (18.25-oz.) package yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)

Ingredients for Second Bowl

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1 cup flaked coconut

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325° and meanwhile melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) on low heat, set aside. Lightly grease your 13- x 9-inch baking pan with a little extra butter.

Part A In your first bowl, combine pecans, box of yellow cake mix, 1 egg, box of yellow cake mix, and butter, stirring until well blended. Press in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. (Chicken feet must be washed clean for this step! If by some chance you do not have a chicken to help you with this step, you can use your fingers, but it will not be as much fun!)

Part B In your second bowl, beat softened cream cheese, 2 eggs, and box of powdered sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in 1 cup flaked coconut. Pour over cake mix layer.

Part C Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until set. (While you are waiting, Bessie suggests drawing and coloring your own copy of this recipe…from memory…just like she did!)

Part D Cool in the pan on a wire rack, and then cut into squares. 1-inch squares seem best because these are sweet. (The firmer edge pieces are nice as an ice cream topping when coarsely chopped and heated slightly.)

Additional Information Bessie thought adding some speckled jelly beans and maybe toasted coconut on top might make a nice extra touch as well. Don’t forget, the better the eggs, the better the results!

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is true appreciated, especially with an out-of-the-ordinary post and recipe like this one!

Nesting Box Brownies

 

My Life With Gracie…Bessie’s Self-Portrait

Bessie's Self-Portrait

This post is next in a sequence which began with a previous post about Bessie that you may want to read as well.

For some of you, it may be a stretch to believe chickens really can dance ballet. Then you realize dancing is nothing more than making movements to music, and it seems quite possible. Even so, it may be more difficult to believe chickens really can prepare delicious recipes in the kitchen…or draw recipe pictures afterwards.

Remember though, love makes a great number of unbelievable things quite believable.

This is why it was a real treat to watch Bessie and Gracie working together on their recipe drawing. You may remember Bessie wanted her recipes to have drawings anyone, even a child, could follow.

They worked very well together on this project. As an observer of the baking adventure, Gracie was able to divide everything into the “big parts,” and then as a chef, Bessie was able to add the details or the “little parts.”

Even Pearl, who is usually very rambunctious, watched with calm curiosity by Bessie’s side, not wanting “steal the show” as she so often is inclined to do. Yes, love makes a great number of unbelievable things quite believable!

They used the stiff gray cardboard from the back of an old sketch pad of mine and an assortment of leftover stubby pencils. The cardboard held up much better than paper would have, and the shorter pencils where easier to hold in their beaks.

They outlined, sometimes heavy, sometimes light. They made different sizes of specks for shading, sometimes big, sometimes small. (Chickens love specks. Even as little chicks, they will peck at any speck they find.) They did quite well for two chickens who had never drawn before, and they also never asked for an eraser.

My favorite part was the self-portrait Bessie drew. It showed how she used her feet to spread out her first bowl of ingredients into the pan. (Bessie did want me to let everyone know if they don’t have a chicken at home to help with this step, people can probably use their fingers, but it may not be as fun.)

It wasn’t my favorite part because of that though. It was my favorite part of the whole drawing because she drew herself happy, and I was so glad to know that was how she felt.

Often I worry about my chickens and whether they are happy or not. I wonder if they have a good enough life and if they have any regrets. I want them to have a life worth living. It’s just what all of us should have.

It was interesting how she drew her comb like Gracie’s comb with everything pointing upward. You see, that is not the way her comb looks. The back half of it is crooked and flops over from where she defended everyone against a predator. It happened one day when I was away at work. I have written about it before. It was when I learned to never to think of any chickens as “just chickens.”

Her comb never stood upright completely any more afterwards because of the way her head was attacked. Bessie will always be my bravest girl ever, but she has never been quite the same after that day. Though sometimes I do get glimpses of her the way she used to be….like when she was cooking…or drawing herself cooking.

Neither Gracie nor I said anything about the drawing of her comb not being exactly correct. I guess it’s just that way when you love someone.

Bessie let me add a few embellishments to her recipe drawing with crayons and watercolors.

I didn’t think she would because she had been so insistent about how she would be the one to do the recipe drawings. But I guess it’s just that way when someone loves you back.

My Life With Gracie let me see how love makes a great number of unbelievable things quite believable.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! Watch for Bessie’s illustrated recipe later this week and just in time for your own holiday baking adventure!

Bessie's Self-Portrait

My Life With Gracie…A Song You Can Taste

This post is next in a sequence which began with a previous post about Bessie that you may want to read as well.

What could be simpler than posting a recipe with Bessie’s name on it? Bessie would be happy. I would be happy. Hopefully our readers would be happy. Things do not always work out the way we expect. Bessie’s first baking adventure turned out to be a marathon!

Fortunately Gracie came along for moral support and out of curiosity as well. She had seen Bessie doing her “spatula twirling practice.”

As you may have figured out already, chickens are excitable, very excitable. So when I told Bessie that her first bake would be cookies for the annual Flute and Harp Concert at our church, a flood of questions followed.

“What kind of cookie will we make? What is a flute? What is a harp? What is a concert? What if nobody eats my cookies?” And, of course, “Will there be any chickens there?” You really do have to love Bessie.

So while I took out all of the equipment and ingredients, we discussed flutes and harps and music and concerts.

“Flutes make sounds like those little trilling musical notes you chickens make when you are very happy in the morning or at the end of the day. Those sounds let everyone know how joyful you are.”

Bessie and Gracie did a little trill for me.

Harps were a bit more difficult to explain. “Harps make sounds like the rustling of chicken feathers when you spread them out or when you are dancing. Those let everyone know how light and carefree you are.”

Bessie and Gracie rustled some feathers for me even though some of Bessie’s new wing feathers were still growing in because it was her time to molt.

They were so proud to learn the first songs ever heard on earth were probably sung by birds.

“So why do people need harps and flutes and musical instruments?” they asked in unison. “Why doesn’t your church just let birds and chickens come in and make a concert for you?”

With my most thoughtful and solemn expression, I replied, “I believe it has to do with fire codes.” That seemed to satisfy them, at least for the time.

Both were very excited when I brought out two mixing bowls which had belonged to my grandmother. These were decorated with what looked like a raised feather pattern and were therefore perfect for Bessie’s big baking adventure.

Gracie found a nice place to perch on top of the flour canister so she could observe but not be in the way.

Bessie was eager to begin working with real ingredients like pecans and cream cheese. She watched. She helped. She chopped. She mixed. She got cookie dough on her beak and tasted. She looked in the pantry and suggested adding coconut because “Julia Child said a great chef needs to be inventive.”

She trilled with happiness. She danced as an expression of how light and carefree her heart felt. She gave me her own kind of concert without ever knowing it. Bessie baked from her heart.

We were all convinced her recipe would be an absolute success.

When I got home from the concert and went to tuck them in for the night, everyone was still wide awake. All six chickens wanted to know what everyone thought of Bessie’s Best Ever Nesting Box Brownies.

My chickens were delighted to hear their intensely bright egg yolks had made Bessie’s culinary invention come out so yellow some people thought they were actually lemon bars, not pecan and coconut bars!

They also wanted to know how I enjoyed the concert, and I let them know in all truthfulness how a chicken or two would have made it perhaps the most memorable concert ever. They nodded unanimous agreement and trilled a few bars for me with feather ruffling.

My Life With Gracie taught me good cooking is like a song you can taste.

I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated! Watch for Bessie’s recipe later this week which she will be illustrating!This is the first post from a series. You may want to skip to the next post about Bessie’s dream of being a master chef.