Share the love of chocolate chewies . . .

patriciaOne of the nice things that happens at workshops, even serious ones like the one Bill Kurtin and I presented to ABODE yesterday on Contemplative Care, is networking – in this case, chocolate cookie networking. ABODE co-founder Patsy Sasek (left) brought some amazing cookies for workshop participants. They were, light, glossy, and chocolatey with chocolate chips and walnuts – and chipotle powder. And – get this- they are gluten free and practically fat-free (except for the chocolate chips – ahem). I asked Patsy if I could share the recipe with you guys, and she obliged – get ready for a chewy, chocolatey chipotle treat – thanks, Patsy:








Mexican Chocolate Chewies

Chocolate chewies are light, crisp, and, yes, chewy chocolate cookies that are studded with chocolate chips and pecans. You see them at bakeries all over Texas, and yet not too many people make them at home. There’s really no reason for this, especially as they are a snap to make. I’ve added a bit of cinnamon and chipotle chile powder to give them a bit of spice and heat.


2 cups pecans, roughly chopped (Patsy says she sometimes uses walnuts)

2½ cups powdered sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. chipotle chile powder (Patsy says she doubles this – you should, too!)

¼ tsp. kosher salt

3 large egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Steps: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

While the oven is heating, arrange the chopped pecans in a skillet and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until they’ve turned a bit darker brown (but not black) and smell fragrant. Mix roasted pecans with the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle chile powder, and salt. Stir the egg whites into the dry mixture by hand (or beat with a stand mixer on low) just until the batter is well mixed. Stir in the vanilla extract and chocolate chips. Drop tablespoon-size portions of batter on the sheet an inch apart, about six per sheet, as these cookies will spread while baking. Bake for 15 minutes or until crackling on the surface.

Remove sheet from oven, lift parchment paper with the cookies still on it off the sheet, and cool on a rack. Allow cookies to cool for 20 minutes before removing from paper, as they’re very delicate. They will keep for a few days in an airtight container.

This content is from the book The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain.


Aromatherapy and Compassionate Care


This afternoon the Studio will take on a different role as a workshop space for ABODE Contemplative Care for the Dying. More than 20 hospice workers, counselors and social workers will attend the presentation. You’ve heard me mention the good work that Patsy and Edwin Sasek do with this beautiful non-profit organization, and today they have asked Dr. Bill Kurtin and me to discuss essential oils for end-of-life care. Bill and I maintain an educational website about Aromatherapy as an art and science. It’s called Chemaroma, and I invite you to visit anytime for research-based information about aromatherapy – there’s far too little of that, and we hope to provide more of it on our site.  There are also some formulas for skin care and other fun things. – look around!
Researching today’s presentation took me far afield from visual arts (sort of), but I discovered some wonderful resources. One of the best discoveries was the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe. The abbot, Joan Halifax Roshi,is a Buddhist teacher, Zen priest, anthropologist, and author. She has worked in the area of death and dying for over thirty years and is Director of the Project on Being with Dying. It’s a fascinating, if not cheery, subject. If you’d like to know more about what I’ve found out, you are welcome to look at the Resources I’ve gathered for today’s workshop.


The Art of Aromatherapy and ABODE

abodeOne of the most interesting and inspiring groups I know is ABODE.  These compassionate people, led by my friends Patsy and Edwin Sasek, provide a home where contemplative care for the dying is provided to guests in a simple, welcoming, peaceful environment. You can read more about their Mission on their website.

Recently, Patsy invited me and my colleague in Aromatherapy, Dr. Bill Kurtin, to present a program to their group and others with similar interests about the use of Essential Oils as therapeutic aids for calming stress and encouraging serenity in both client and caregiver. We are thrilled to have this opportunity, and will hold the workshop at my Studio on Sunday, May 5th. As most of you know, Bill and I have done lectures and demonstrations at the University level and elsewhere on the Art and Science of Essential Oils but this is a new venture for us. I’ve worked with hospice groups in the past, but Bill’s ability to ground the therapeutic use of essential oils in scientific research will add immense credibility to the presentation, as always.

chemaromaAromatherapy is complex, effective and sometimes misunderstood science, but it is so worth learning about. You can read a sneak preview about the presentation sponsored by ABODE on our research website, Chemaroma. If you’re interested in attending, contact the good people at ABODE (or just send me an email). The sign-up information will be available very soon. And for tomorrow’s Friday Freebie, I’ll be giving you the recipe for a wonderful facial treatment using essential oils, so stay tuned.