Saturday, October 1, 2011


From the pantry, the stuff of magic
By the time you all read this, I'll be on the road ...

I've been lucky enough over the years to find a wonderful group of critique partners.  We call ourselves the "Lit Girls," and there's a whole lot of talent in the group.  This weekend, we're getting away, staging an informal writing retreat--retreating from day jobs, kids (for some), spouses, laundry, telephones, TV, and all the distractions of daily life--so we can spend some quality time with our laptops.

Frankly, I can't wait.  I've got a lot to do!

I recently signed a contract for a new series, and I have another story that's been trying to find its way out of my brain and onto paper.  This weekend is going to be pure heaven.  I'm so excited to dig into these characters and spend 48 hours of uninterrupted time in their heads.  Seriously, heaven.

Heaven with FOOD.  In addition to case upon case of Diet Coke and the makings for margaritas, we've got pumpkin bread, tostadas, salads, fruit, chips and dip, chips and salsa ... and brownies!  My contribution to the weekend's grub includes my deeply delicious enchilada bake and these easy-peasy Mexican chocolate brownies.

I apologize for the lack of a picture of the finished product.  I'm taking the fixin's for the brownies on the road so they'll be hot and gooey when we dig into them.  But I've made these little devils in the past, and I promise they're killer:  a jolt of sugar, chocolate, and caffeine, perfect for a marathon writing session.

Have fun in the kitchen, friends, and I'll report back (with pictures!) from the writing retreat when I post again (in two weeks).

Mexican Chocolate Brownies

1 box brownie mix (I prefer Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate, but whatever floats you duck)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (again, I love a good double vanilla, to really amp up the flavor)
1 Tbs. instant coffee
1/3 c. water*
2 eggs*
1/3 c. oil*

* These are the ingredients in the instructions on the box.  If your mix says to use something different, then do so!

Mix the instant coffee powder in the water until dissolved.  Mix the cinnamon into the brownie mix and then add the wet ingredients.  Bake according to package instructions.

Additional add-ins:  you can also add about 1/2 a tsp. of ancho chili powder and/or a half cup of toasted pecan pieces.  Extra yum!


Wendy is the author of the Mysteries a la Mode. Visit her on the web or on Facebook.


  1. I want some brownies right now! Yum. I'm drinking a cup of coffee and thinking how good these brownies would be with them. You just can't go wrong with coffee as an ingredient. Hope you have a great time with the Lit Girls on your retreat, Wendy!

  2. Have a wonderful time, Wendy! Hope you get a lot of writing done. It's great that everyone is bringing food to contribute.

    I'm certain the brownies will be a big hit. That ancho chili powder will wake everyone up!

    ~ Krista

  3. Have a great lit weekend. What fun, fun, fun. It sounds like you have all the major food groups. :)


  4. Psst ... turns out the "lake house" is a real house, with internet and everything! I'm trying to stay off (to write), but wanted to say "howdy" to my Kitchen friends. :)

  5. What a wonderful retreat this will be. There's nothing like friends, food and time to be creative. Have fun! I'll make the brownies and be there in chocolate-covered spirit.