Tag Archive | family

Brownies for Breakfast

Flipping through a cookie book the other night before bed, a recipe for blonde brownies caught my eye.

“essentially the classic Toll House cookie pressed into a pan…”

Wait… What? And the recipe called for chocolate chips?

Who are we fooling, that was a Toll House cookie bar, not a blonde brownie. Come on, people!  Buttery butterscotch, crispy and chewy, almost salty; that was the blonde brownie I wanted, and suddenly I wanted it bad.

Chatting with my Mom the next day, I hit her up for her blondie recipe.  Three things you should know about my baking habits:  One is that I don’t normally bake for myself.   Two is that when I do bake for myself it will be the most basic combo of butter and sugar: shortbread, scones, waffles. Three, I don’t ever bake stuff for myself that my Mom makes. Why struggle to make something when you can just sweetly ask Mom to make it for you.  Also, why run the risk of not being able to do it as well as she does. If you bungle a recipe from Martha Stewart, you can blame smug old Martha. Bungle a beloved cookie your mom can make in her sleep  and you are headed for therapy. My Mom’s sugar cookies taste like heaven.  My attempt at  sugar cookies taste like failure.

I was not even sure what these blond brownies were called.  Blondies? Butterscotch brownies?  I’d never sought out the recipe; why mess with something that Mom makes perfect? Two things you should know about my Mom: One, she is the baking bomb!  Two: Her Mom, my Grandma, is the baking bomb times a thousand!  The source of all baking greatness. Seriously, my Grandma is a one woman bake shop. The birthday cakes she made when we were kids are legendary! And for her, it was no big deal.  I am still not brave enough to attempt some of the stuff she would whip up in an afternoon.

Descended from all this baking greatness, I grew up knowing how to bake, and assumed, erroneously,  anything I tried my hand at would be delicious.  I’ve never had much luck with bread.  It never occurred to me that my kitchen might be too damn cold to get any bread to rise. I just assumed a genetic defect in somewhere in my own DNA, and gave up trying. (That is, until recently, but that is another post all together)

Equipped with the super simple recipe for Mom’s Blonde Chews, and my weird collection of baking baggage, I hit the kitchen last night.  These blondies are the Plain-Jane, girl-next-door of the brownie world.  Not much to look at, but oh, baby! You will fall in love soon enough. Crispy and chewy, sweet, buttery and a little salty.  Sugar Mamma rating: Solid.  Make these soon.


Makes 24 bars.

2/3 cup butter

2 cups firmly-packed brown sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

Melt butter in large saucepan; stir in brown sugar. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Beat in eggs,( be careful not to cook eggs in warm mixture). Stir in vanilla

In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.  Stir into butter, sugar, egg mixture.  Stir in nuts.

Spread dough in bottom of greased 13-inch x 9-inch baking pan.  Bake at 350° F for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden. Cool in pan on rack.


Have I Lost My Mind?

Around here, I’ve got a rating system for my go-to recipes: “Solid”, “Money” and “Have you lost yo damn mind?”

Solid: just what it says.  This is something that does not look like much, not fancy, not dripping gooey with chocolate and caramel, but the cravings will sneak up on you.  When you are flipping thru food magazines before bed you will find your self needing a slice of that pound cake or a nibble of that shortbread. These are my favorite recipes to make for my own consumption.

Money: These are the items that are consistently easy to execute but look like a million bucks.  Something you don’t have on a regular basis.  Chocolate dipped Coconut macaroon cookies are Money.  Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ganache is Money.  These are my favorite recipes to bake for an audience.  You will look like a rock star, and really, who does not want to look like a rock star.

Have you lost yo damn mind?:  Precisely.  This is the kind of thing that, really, you WILL  end up asking yourself if you’ve lost your mind.  Ridiculously involved. A  gazillion different steps and a million dishes to wash. Your kitchen will look like a tornado hit by the time you are finished.  Generally I can smell these things a mile away and avoid like the plague.  Hell, I barely tolerate scooping cookies. I surely am not going to attempt slicing layers of delicate cake, filling and frosting and cooking up fondant.  Waaaaay to many opportunities to screw up.

Having said that, I confess; I love petits fours.  When I was very, very little my Mom was awesome enough to bake petits fours with me, at my request.  I still remember how ridiculously involved they were; cutting mini cakes in cute shapes, trying to perfect a thin, pink icing. Thanks mom, for indulging me and not telling me I’d lost my damn mind (which is totally what I would tell my boys if they tried to pull that stunt).

Just trying to figure out how to correctly spell petit four I pulled up a recipe that I might be tempted to try…ugh, someone please tell me I’ve lost my mind!