Chocolate may not heal all the ills of the world, but I think it definitely helps.

Apparently, I’ve let others know about that opinion because I’ve been gifted with chocolate treats several times lately... Birthday? Lindoor truffles. Doctor’s visit? Hershey’s nuggets. And Christmas? Lots of Dove. It does help me, especially the 60-70 percent dark types.

I needed chocolate last week when my morning Kansas Reflector reminded me of some major topics left over from 2021. If you can still remember the year, perhaps you can also recall those issues.

The first one on that list was taxes, and two things caught my attention. Why are our legislators spending public dollars to enable children to attend private schools and why, if everyone agrees, are we Kansans still paying taxes on food?

The public theater surrounding both COVID-19 and Critical Race Theory has already surpassed the absurd. Please can we just tell the truth, cooperate in adult fashion and move on without continuously stopping to foul and stir these pots?

I think we all agree on the need for accountability and oversight of our foster care system. The damage done to children and families by venal, out-of-touch administrators and untrained and non-responsive staff is horrendous. Is 2022 the year that corrections to the system will be made? Let’s pray so.

Finally, there’s the topic of marijuana, and our legislators still seem to be in prohibition mode when it comes to old “mary jane.” Thirty-six states have legalized medical marijuana, but the specter of reefer madness and unrestrained recreational usage still calls for caution. THC is, after all, too easily abused and far too dangerous to the undeveloped brain.

If that list has caused you some consternation and disquiet, maybe it’s time to help yourself to some chocolate. It comes with its own list of benefits, though admittedly some kinds are filled with too much sugar and calories. The dark kind can help lower blood pressure, add nutrients such as iron, magnesium and potassium to our diets and decrease the risk of heart disease.

It can help with stress relief, improve cognitive functioning and even prevent diabetes — all when consumed in moderation, of course.

With this in mind, I offer you a recipe for making your own chocolate treats. This is probably the best-loved chocolate recipe in Osawatomie.

BETTY LHUILIER’S BROWNIES

1 and 1/2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp. salt

5 T. cocoa

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup water

2 tsp. vanilla

nuts optional

Bake in prepared 9x13 pan for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and frost with

3/4 cup melted butter

5 T. cocoa

1/3 cup milk

3-4 cups powdered sugar

Enjoy in moderation, remember!

Margaret Hays is a longtime Osawatomie resident who writes a weekly column for The Miami County Republic.

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