17 March 2010

My Mom's Crack Brownies...

After last week's post about Dulce de Leche Brownies, I asked my mom to do a "guest post" and share her recipe for brownies.  I did not feel like it was my place to publish a recipe that has been exclusively hers for the last 30+ years.  She in turn enlisted my dad's help (he took the pics) and I think the two of them had a great time!  The backstory she provides is quite entertaining...

"Married in 1976, I was a Bicentennial bride. There were 10 weeks between the day we got engaged until our wedding; needless to say it was a busy but very fun time. One of my bridal showers was a kitchen shower and attendees were to bring a favorite recipe and a utensil used in preparing it. In the 33+ years since, no recipe has been prepared as often or more dearly loved by my family than the recipe for brownies.

Kathryn Barnard was one of the wives in future in-laws’ four-couple bridge club She was tall and thin and very quiet, and in my judgmental eyes, looked as if she had never done anything fun in her life. Her gift at the kitchen shower was a 9 x 13 Pyrex pan and a recipe for brownies. (Mind you that this was in the early heyday of the feminist movement, and the ERA was still alive and wanting to be ratified.) I was thankful for the baking pan, but could not help but wonder: “In this age of Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker brownie mixes, who in the world makes brownies from scratch?” Certainly no liberated enlightened female I knew.

The original recipe from Mrs. Barnard

As a new bride I loved using all our wedding gifts, and obviously the kitchen items got the most constant use. One day I was feeling particularly domestic and decided to make the brownies from Mrs. Barnard’s recipe. I had never before used baking chocolate nor had I ever known my mother to use it—it was totally foreign to me.

As an aside, my mother did a great job of cooking for our family especially in view of the fact that her family always had a cook and until she was 38, she never had to cook. Brownies, cakes and cookies came from a box mix (these were the days prior to slice-and-bake cookies). Imagine my surprise when working on a cooking badge in Girl Scouts in 4th grade, our leader had us make cookies using butter, eggs, sugar and flour. I was so excited about this and could hardly wait to go home and share this good news with my mother. I was absolutely sure she didn’t know—that’s why she used the box mix.

Back to the brownies…I figured out how to use baking chocolate and the rest is history. If I were a betting woman, I would guess that since first making these brownies sometime in 1977, I have not used a box mix for brownies more than 5 times. Baking chocolate is a staple in my pantry—I may run out of milk and bread but I always have the ingredients to make brownies. In 2005 my dear son-in-law gave them a name, “Crack Brownies” because as he puts it, “they are as addicting as crack.”

And back to Mrs. Barnard…she was much wiser than I could have imagined back in 1976. She knew all about feminism and power, and it could be summed up in one word: CHOCOLATE!"

Below is a "How-To" complete with recipe and pictures.
(My mom has doubled the recipe for these pictures...she gave the extras to R)

Here's what you'll need: Sugar, Eggs, Flour, Vanilla, Butter, Baking Powder, Baking Chocolate, Nuts and Salt
Oh, and preheat the oven to 350 F

Beat 2 eggs well and gradually add in 1 cup of sugar.

Meanwhile, melt 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate and 1/3 cup of butter in the microwave.

Add the melted butter and chocolate to the eggs and sugar, followed by 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

Measure and sift together 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 cup of chopped nuts.

Pour into a greased 8x8 pan and shake to settle the batter.

In to the oven they go for about 25 minutes (or when a toothpick comes out clean).

While the brownies are baking, feel free to enjoy any leftover batter you may have!

After the brownies have cooled a little, cut them and move them to a rack to cool completely.

This man has a very important job... quality control. 
 It's a job at which he's very good.

Trust me on this one, these brownies are amazing!!!  Completely worth the time. 
Try them once and you too will become addicted to the "Crack Brownies". 

One more thing... aren't my parents cute?


Sara said...

Loved this!! :) The pictures were fabulous -- complete with batter on the cheeks! So much fun.

Mrs. A, when can we expect to see your own blog? I loved reading the backstory behind the now-famous Crack Brownies. Having tasted them myself this week, I agree with your son-in-law's assessment of them; they are quite addictive!

Robin said...

I love old worn recipe cards that come with a good story. Thanks for sharing, and I guess I need to make some brownies now.

Lori B said...

Yes! Your parents are TOO CUTE!