A few months ago, I spent some time doing volunteer work in Kenya through the volunteer agency International Volunteer HQ. I stayed with a Kenyan family and volunteered at an orphanage, Internally Displaced Persons camps, and with the Masai (warrior tribes in Kenya). It was an extremely moving experience. Read more.

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    Toronto Bakes for Japan

    Thursday May 12, 2011
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    Thank you so much Heena of Tiffin Tales and Niya of Destiny, Domesticity and Dirty Secrets, who organized the fabulous Toronto Bakes for Japan Bake Sale.  As Japan was hit with several disasters in a row, Heena determined to help in any way she could.  In answer to why we should have this bake sale, she eloquently and succintly wrote:

    Because we can.  We must…. Japan had been hit by a massive 8.9 earthquake. Over the next few days, I watched as the country was hit by one disaster after another.  My heart broke a little each time I saw the images of death and destruction, of kids being scanned for signs of radiation, of rescue workers searching for the bodies of victims, of survivors trying desperately to find their loved ones.  I sent up a silent prayer each time, but I wanted to do more…. I bake almost every week, and I know so do hundreds of passionate food lovers all over Toronto. If we all put our efforts together, can we make a difference? I really believe we can.

    Through enormous effort, dedication and hard work, Heena and Niya mobilized hundreds of volunteers to bake, donate, staff, sell, collect, set up, tear down, drive, organize, and anything else we could do to run a massive two day bake sale in early April.  100% of the proceeds were donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

    The camaraderie, cooperation and enthusiasm were inspiring.  And the sum total?  We raised $30,064.67 !  Congratulations to Heena, Niya and everyone involved in this amazing cause.

    On the day of, I volunteered at the Liberty Noodle, a lovely restaurant on East Liberty Street.  I was blown away by the spread and show of support.  There were so many baked goods we had displays on every table in the restaurant.  I ran the art auction and raffle, and people were flowing in and out all day.  I bought a few items to try, and especially loved Mardi’s mini macarons.

    Today I’m sharing the recipe for the deep, dark, chocolatey brownies I made for the sale, courtesy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking.  I always make extra of whatever’s on the menu that week, and delivered a batch of these to my friend and neighbour Danny.  He was really pleased to get these!

    Tribute-to-Katharine-Hepburn Brownies

    Adapted slightly from Dorie’s recipe on p.96- 97 of Baking.

    1/4 cp flour

    3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

    1/2 cp (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces

    1/2 cp unsweetened cocoa powder

    2 tsps finely ground instant coffee

    2 large eggs

    1 cp sugar

    2 tsps vanilla extract

    3/4 cp- 1 cp walnut pieces, chopped

    4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

    Preheat oven to 325F.  Grease an 8-inch baking dish.

    Mix the flour and cinnamon together.

    Place the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.  When the butter starts to melt, sift the cocoa powder into it and add the instant coffee.  Continue to cook, stirring, until butter is melted and cocoa powder and coffee are blended in.  Remove from heat and cool about 3 minutes.

    Whisk the eggs into the butter-cocoa mixture one at a time.  Stir in sugar and vanilla, followed by the flour- cinnamon mixture, nuts, and chopped chocolate.  Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish.

    Bake 35 minutes, remove from oven, and let cool.  Enjoy with a deep glass of milk.

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    I live in Toronto, and I can’t believe I missed this. Congratulations on an amazing fundraiser!

    May 12th, 2011 | 1:31 pm

    Well done! That’s an amazing amount of money raised and you are all to be applauded for it :)

    May 13th, 2011 | 1:09 am

    Yes. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your lovely concoction with me…and for your kind words on my own blog. I hope you have a wonderful evening!

    May 23rd, 2011 | 5:37 pm
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