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My favorite time of year turned out to be a disaster in September last year when I took a spill on my bike and ended up being out of commission for a few months. Not only was I denied the pleasure of a hike in the woods to enjoy all the beautiful colors and smells, I also was prevented from playing in the kitchen to create all those wonderful fall dishes that I love.

The kindness of friends and neighbors kept us well fed and feeling loved, but I so missed surrounding myself with flour and sugar, butter and eggs and all the delightful spices and cranking up the oven. I love standing at my kitchen counter as I peel, sift and measure, watching the leaves practically turn colors in front of my eyes. Seeing the squirrels scurry to pack their pantries with nuts and acorns and the hummingbirds paying me one last visit at the feeder before heading off to warmer climes is all part of the autumn joy.

This season I am making up for lost time starting with pear brownies. My friend, Ruth, who makes fabulous pies in her Hilltop Farm kitchen (and sells them at the Oakland County farmer’s market on Saturdays), also has quite the pear orchard and last week she bestowed me with some of her bounty. Every season I look forward to seeing her pretty face at the market while trying to decide which pie will go home with me that day.

So far, I have poached pears in wine, roasted them in butter and maple syrup and sliced them raw for salads. Their taste and texture spells heaven for me and these brownies are fantastic, either as a dessert or a breakfast treat, along with a dollop of vanilla yogurt. Please pardon me, but thanks to pears, this looks like the perfect fall.

Kate Lawson is a retired Detroit News food writer. Reach her at katecook@comcast.net.

Chocolate Pear Brownies

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped, peeled and cored medium-ripe pears

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, lightly toasted

Confectioners sugar

Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Blend in sugar, butter, and vanilla; beat until sugar is dissolved. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl; stir into egg mixture until flour is evenly moistened and batter is smooth. Fold in pears and nuts. Pour into greased 8-inch-square baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 degrees oven 30-35 minutes. Let cool, dust with confectioner’s sugar and cut into squares. Makes 12.

Per serving: 247 calories; 14 g fat (7 g saturated fat; 51 percent calories from fat); 29 g carbohydrates; 20 g sugar; 58 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 3 g protein; 2 g fiber.

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