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There’s a truism attributed to Joseph Campbell, though no-one has ever found a specific source in his work for it: We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. You’ve probably heard it dozens, even hundreds of times, often enough that it became part of the background noise, or, as David Foster Wallace once described, the water through which all of us fish swim so freely that we no longer notice its presence. But something strange happens when wisdom becomes background noise, when we stop noticing the very water through which we swim: Life becomes very dull. We’re cool with this dullness because the alternative—chaos, the unexpected and unknown—is deeply uncomfortable. In moments of uncertainty, background noise rises to the fore, the water becomes heavy with drenching wetness. And then, only then, do we start to wonder about the veracity of that life we’d always planned for ourselves. We consider that maybe, just maybe, there’s a whole new person waiting for us on the other side of all the ideas and concepts we’ve adopted about who we are. An us that’s always been there (probably with way better brownies), if only we’d been willing to look.

I think a lot about this other me—I try to stay vigilant of her presence always, but especially each year when Valentine’s Day rolls around, and any time something significant in my life happens. And it turns out this year, those two eventualities coincided. First: I am, yet again, single on Valentine’s Day. And second: Just last week, I received the very first copy of my book—the Kale & Caramel cookbook.

About the singledom: Though this year, like so many before it, I am partner-less, I feel a new kind of settled fullness in my body and heart. Perhaps it was the arrival of my book that shifted the frame in the direction of fullness rather than lack, but I feel more aware than ever that hewing my life to some specific mold I created as a child is not only impossible, but also uninteresting. No matter how tightly I may have held to that vision, life itself has other plans. And, right now, holding my first book in my hands, every inch of it something I poured myself into completely, I’m excited about the life that exists beyond the bounds of my mind’s creation.

And, of course, what joy in sharing the cover with you, today. Here she is, sweet friends: Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table.

Let me tell you a little bit about the book, which you can now preorder (and there will be many preorder bonuses to come, so hang on to your order numbers once you do). The book is a coming of age story told through the lens of my relationship to fresh herbs and flowers, both for food and for DIY body and beauty products. There are stories about naked dinner parties and death and sex and breakups. There is strawberry basil cream pie and vegan basil lemongrass coconut ice cream and even a requisite kale salad and a transcendent green soup. And my super-easy, food-based skin and beauty regimen is in the book, so you, too, can keep jars of anti-aging and skin-healing honey and coconut oil in your bathroom.

The book is me and you, hanging out, spilling our guts to each other, laughing and crying and eating brunch and dinner and dessert. And then coming back the next morning to have a spa day. It publishes May 2, and I cannot wait for you to hold it in your hands. Because it feels really damn good.

Speaking of dessert, and flowers, and Valentine’s Day, I made these brownies for a bunch of my girlfriends who came over for a chocolate bark making party on Friday (the brownies underwent a 10-person panel evaluation, and came out far better for it). My inspiration came from Jennifer Farley’s chocolate brownies with salted tahini frosting, discovered in her beautiful cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen. Because I can rarely leave any recipe alone as it is, when I first made these, I spiked Jennifer’s buttercream with ground cardamom and paired it with the brownies from Sarah Kieffer’s Vanilla Bean Baking Book. The combination was dreamy. But then again, I had a hankering to make a mostly refined sugar-free alternative.

And then, because, well, I’m me, I thought about how dreamy it would be to put rosewater in these coconut sugar brownies, and to make the cardamom tahini frosting with cream cheese and honey. So, there you have it: an entirely new recipe, largely refined sugar-free, inspired by Jennifer and Sarah. These brownies are on the cakier side, to play nicely with the density of the cream cheese tahini frosting on top. And the whole glorious mess is finished with edible rose petals and a few flakes of sea salt.


These are brownies that let go of the life they planned and accepted the fate I had waiting for them on the other side. A fate of rose water and flaky sea salt, of cardamom, cream cheese, and tahini. I think they’re happy here, and I think you will be, too. They’re brownies filled with love and the excitement of so much sweetness to come.

Enjoy, and preorder Kale & Caramel: Recipes for Body, Heart, and Table!

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Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


Rosewater Brownies

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate (60-70%) chopped
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rosewater optional
  • 1 cups coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Cardamom Tahini Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • flaky sea salt to garnish
  • dried edible rose petals to garnish


Make the rosewater brownies.

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper, or butter and flour the pan.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder, and set aside. 

  3. Over a double boiler or bain marie, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth and consolidated. Remove from heat. 

  4. Stir in the vanilla, rosewater, and coconut sugar. Whisk in the eggs, one by one, incorporating fully after each.

  5. Switch to a silicone spatula, and fold in the flour mixture a little at a time, just until fully combined. 

  6. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 18-21 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cool completely.

Make the cardamom tahini frosting.

  1. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese, tahini, honey, cardamom, and sea salt. Set aside.

Frost the brownies.

  1. Once the brownies are cool, use an offset spatula or butter knife to frost them. Top with sprinkles of flaky sea salt, rose petals, and some extra cardamom if you like.


  • AHHH I couldn’t be more excited for you!! I am going to preorder ASAP and can’t WAIT until I have it in my hands. If these brownies are any indication, this is going to be one gorgeous and lovely book. xo

  • Congrats friend! Can’t wait to celebrate with you!

  • So proud of you and can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy! Also I think I forgot to tell you in person but I love the new site layout!

    • OH YAY!! Thank you! And thanks again for participating in the full panel quality assessment review for this post!!

  • Lily this piece is just so beautiful. I too am single this Valentine’s Day, as I have been for so many, but I’ve come to stillness with it the same way you have. Life is so much more rewarding when you start to enjoy what you have instead of dreaming about what we think we should have. The real, tangible things are so important, and you’ve got the perfect example of that. Congratulations on the cookbook, I just preordered my copy and I can’t wait to dive into your beautiful words and recipes.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • YES. Hi. Sorry this took so long to reply to! The real, tangible things are so important. Couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Josie—they mean the world. Happy Valentine’s Day (belatedly) to you, too—wishing boundless love, of all kinds, in your direction.

  • I am so excited to see your book as a real life tangible object (on the internet). The other day I was on amazon and the algorithm recommended it for me. My reaction was both one of excitement and pure unadulterated pride. I cannot wait to devour this delicious book as quickly I would these bars. Much love to you xox

    • AHHHH yes!!! That’s amazing. So, so sweet. Thank you for telling me—got chills. And yayyyy to chocolate, tahini, roses, and books!

  • absolutely love everything here. the new site design is stunning (love those full screen photographs!!!). those brownies are gorgeous. your BOOK is magnificent. i am so glad i got to be in your kind, enlivening, warm, lioness-earth-pheonix-mama presence this past week and that i got to (smell) these brownies in person (lol). gonna go put some rosewater in tahini frosting now k love you bye

    • YES!!! Ahhh. I love and miss you. How’d that rosewater go? It’s my fave for all things outside the kitchen, so I can’t wait to hear your report on flavor.

  • These look incredible! Molly’s tahini chocolate cake has already won me over to the idea of tahini + chocolate (which a few months ago I might have been a bit weirded out by!) so I love the additional flavours of cardamom and rose that you have going on here. And a huge huge congratulations on your book! Can’t imagine how much time and effort has gone into it – such a massive achievement <3

    • Thank you so much, Claudia! I grew up with tahini, so the flavor is super comforting to me—and it’s so fun to get to explore all these new iterations of it in baking now. I clearly need to make Molly’s cake! And YAY thank you so much for the book love. Can’t wait for you to hold it in your hands, too.

  • Thomas Tinney

    Yummmmmmm! :))))

  • Tania

    Congratulations on your book. Love the flavor of cardamom and rose water and I use those a lot. But I have to say I have never really seen coconut sugar. Is there a substitute for that or is it just a mix of shredded coconut with sugar. Thank you and I look forward to trying this recipe and more.