It’s a cold, snowy afternoon, and it’s been a long cold winter. Usually our winters here on the east coast of Vancouver Island are very mild, though rainy, and I am happy with that. This year we’ve had more than our fair share of snow – in my opinion, our fair share is none, or at most just a dusting – and it’s been unusually cold. Back in early January there were people skating on local lakes, which is something that rarely happens here!
Anyhow, after school, I needed a pick me up so decided that a batch of brownies was in order. The recipe I used is from a cookbook called It’s Fun to Cook aimed at teens. It follows the domestic adventures of twin high school girls, Blondie and Brownie who are learning to cook. I have to admit that I picked this book mostly because I liked the idea of using Brownie’s recipe for brownies.
Most of the book is written as a story, with cooking lessons and etiquette pointers worked in. Their poor friend Norma is off to college soon, and dreadfully worried about her table manners, as she was raised by just a father and apparently men can’t teach decent table manners. We get lots of pointers as Blondie and Brownie help her learn to be more civilized. We also get pointers on decorating, decorum, entertaining, and calorie counting.
This is the only recipe I’ve made from the book, but it is a good one. I used 3 tbsp of cocoa powder and one of butter in place of each of the unsweetened chocolate squares. This is my usual substitution since I always have cocoa powder in the house, and only very rarely have chocolate squares. The resulting brownies are moist, chocolatey and dense… everything a good brownie should be! I have never been a big fan of nuts in brownies, but after my first bite, I thought about how good raisins are in brownies. Mom always put them in, but I haven’t done that in years. Next time I make brownies, I think I’ll add a handful or two of raisins. Yum!
These brownies are definitely worth making!
- 1/2 cup butter or other shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 ounces)
- 1 cup walnut meats
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Mix shortening and sugar together until light and foamy.
- Add well-beaten eggs
- Sift flour once. Measure;then sift flour, salt, and baking powder together and add to the egg mixture. (add the cocoa to this, too, if you’re making substitutions.)
- Add chocolate, previously melted over hot water.
- Stir in nuts, broken in small pieces, and vanilla.
- Pour into well-greased pan.
- Bake until a toothpick or a cake tester inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean. Remove from oven, and when cool cut into squares before removing from the baking dish.
Time: Bake about 35 to 45 minutes. (I did 30, and they are not as gooey in the middle as I’d like them to be. Yes, I really have a thing for gooey baked goods!)
Temperature: moderate oven, 350°F.
Amount: 32 brownies, 2 inches x 1 1/2 inches x 1/2 inch.
I used a 9 x 9 inch pan, not the 8 x 12 that their measurements are suggesting, and my brownies, while thick enough, are certainly not deep dish brownies.
Before you decide to eat nothing but brownies for a week, here is a cautionary picture of Bright Eyes and Whiskers, illustrating the dangers of poor nutrition. Their housewife neighbour, Mrs. Carol had studied rat nutrition in college, apparently for the sole purpose of being a better wife and mother.
It’s Fun to Cook , published in 1938, was written by Lucy Mary Maltby, and illustrated by Ruth King.