Today I baked Valentine brownies for my grandkids. My idea was to frost the brownies and then, before the frosting hardened, press a Valentine candy heart (the kind with love-related sayings on them) into the top of each piece. I chopped the walnuts, cracked the eggs, measured and stirred. While the brownies baked, I sorted through the bag of Valentine hearts and chose the sayings I liked best (U Rock; Puppy Love; Call Me) so they’d be ready for quick placement. I also started melting the butter and chocolate for the frosting.
I tested the brownies with a toothpick (twice, since they weren’t quite done the first time) and then, when they were baked to perfection, I removed them from the oven – and dropped the pan on the floor! It landed face down and bounced, leaving hot brownie crumbles strewn across the kitchen floor. I stared in disbelief at the mess. The 9 X 13 glass pan had simply slipped out of my hands before I could set it on the cooling rack.
Lucy rushed to the kitchen to see what had happened so I had to clean things up quickly before she ate any chocolate. I used a large spatula to scoop the crumbles into a garbage bag. About a third of the brownies had remained stuck in the pan. Those will eventually be a dessert served in bowls with ice cream.
I washed the floor. I looked at the melted chocolate and butter in the frosting pan. I re-read the sayings on the candy hearts. And then I did what every writer does when a first draft is a disaster: I started over. I chopped more nuts, cracked more eggs, and sprayed the bottom of my other 9 X 13 pan. I baked another batch of brownies and this time I was extra cautious when I moved the pan from the oven to the cooling rack. They’re frosted now, and the colorful candy hearts with their Valentine sayings look festive and fun. I can hardly wait to give them to the kids.