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Mom’s Brownies

I don’t remember a time when my mother wasn’t ill. I know in my head that she once was pain-free, moved easily, laughed with the careless abandon of a child. In my memory, though, she is always careful. Careful in the way she held her head, shoulders tense, as though expecting the pain to hit at any time. Careful in the way she walked, placing her feet gingerly to the ground, afraid of falling and ripping her tender, paper-like skin. Careful in the way she spoke, telling my sister, “If I told people how I really felt, they would never ask again.”

The lupus struck her, and struck her hard, but she kept on going, largely, I suspect, for us.
I started taking over whatever tasks I could for her when I was still a little girl. I remember doing the dishes with Dad, him washing, me drying and putting away, while Mom sat at the kitchen table keeping us company. Cleaning the house, giving it a good weekly vacuum and dusting and trying to keep it neat the rest of time so that she wouldn’t feel that she had to do any work herself. Folding the laundry without much finesse, making Dad’s dress shirts look a bit like origami. But mostly, I remember cooking.
I learned to cook from my mother. She couldn’t stand behind me and direct me, but I would carry the bowls and pots to the table to show her. “Is this right?” “Does this look done?” “Do I need more water?” I cooked spaghetti and meatballs, baked beef roast, and made a righteous fruit salad. But my heart, especially at that young age, was only truly engaged when I was baking. I loved to bake. I loved the careful measuring, the energetic stirring, and the precise, final touches. Cookies, cakes, pies, and puddings- my family never had it so good. In fact, I liked to bake even more than they liked to eat, so I ended up baking for grandma, baking for the parish priest, baking for bake sales, and baking for the group of friends that got together with my brother and me on weekends to play in the forest out back, or in our  basement. Early on I found the joy that can come from  the simple act of cooking and feeding people, and that has never left me.
These are my mom’s brownies. I know that the recipe probably originally came from a Hershey’s syrup can, but I remember it scrawled across a slightly yellowed index card in my mom’s loopy, cockeyed writing. The back had chocolate swipes across it and one corner was missing. So, with a tip of the hat to Hershey’s, here is the recipe for Mom’s Brownies. Enjoy them, and don’t forget to share the love!

 

Brownies:

Ingredients:

1/4 lb butter

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 (16 ounce) can Hershey’s syrup

 

What to do:

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Add the flour, again beating until it is thoroughly incorporated. Add the entire can of syrup and stir well.

Pour into a jelly roll pan and bake at 350 degrees farenheit for 35 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool.

 

 

Frosting:

I absolutely love this frosting. You can make it and put it in a small pan in the fridge for almost instant fudge!!

Ingredients:

 

6 tbsp butter

6 tbsp milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

 

What to do:

Put the sugar, milk, and butter into a small pot. Bring to boil, stirring as it heats up. Let it boil for one minute (I remember counting this out one mississippi, two mississippi…) Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips (or butterscotch, or peanut butter, or white chocolate or…)

Immediately spread on the brownies.

Hide behind the couch and lick the frosting pan so you don’t have to share it with anyone!

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10 comments

UmmAyana on February 24, 2014 4:00 am

As salaamu alaikum wa rahmahtulahi wa barakatuh, I followed the link thinking I would just get a list of ingredients and directions for chewy delicious brownies. Al hamdulillah, I got so much more. Thank you so much for sharing, I’ll look at my mother in a whole new light than before. inshaAllah.

Khadijah on February 24, 2014 4:12 pm

WA Aleikum Assalam wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu. For me, food and stories are intertwined, I can’ do one without the other, mash’Allaah!

ibtisam on February 24, 2014 6:01 pm

I just discovered your blog and I am loving it…glad I did bump into it..thanks for the recipe,, May Allah bless you.

Khadijah on February 24, 2014 10:43 pm

Ameen! I am glad you stopped by alhamdulillah.

Umm Abdul Fataah wa Nassiruddin on March 3, 2014 3:57 pm

Assalaamu alaykunna
Barakallaahu feeki for such a sweet story and making me appreciate my Mother more and being a Mother myself and not to complain when I don’t feel well. May Allaah bless preserve you and your family Aameen. Especially feel close to you coming from a Catholic family myself.
Umm Abdul-Fataah wa Nassir-ud-din

Khadijah on March 3, 2014 4:01 pm

Wa ALeikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
Alhamdulillah! My sister mentioned how she could see the pain lines in my mom’s face all the time. I think, mash’Allaah, she held so much in.
BarakAllaahufeekee!

ابن فاروق on March 7, 2014 4:58 am

عن أبي بردة، أنه شهد ابن عمر ورجل يماني يطوف بالبيت -حمل أمه وراء ظهره- يقول: إني لها بعيرها المذلل إن أذعرت ركابها لم أذعر
ثم قال: يا ابن عمر، أتُراني جزيتُها؟
.قال: لا، ولا بِزَفْرَة واحدة

قال الشيخ الألباني: صحيح
الأدب المفرد للبخاري – حديث 11

Khadijah on March 8, 2014 1:27 am

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته:
جزاك الله خيرا على الفائدة القيمة فعلا لامهاتنا علينا حق عظيم سبحان الله

Umm Khadeeja on March 9, 2014 1:31 pm

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah

I have been looking for a brownie recipe and I really like this one! It is not too dry and not too wet. Kids really liked it Alhamdulillah! Sometimes sisters will say – check out this website for recipes, but I really prefer recipes that people I know use, you know?
I hope you don’t mind if I share a fudge recipe I got from an old Family Circle cookbook (from a used bookstore for a quarter I think). My Umm was such an excellent cook and baker – and I just am kicking myself now that I never tried to collect her recipes before she passed (hindsight 20/20). Anyway she made great fudge. What I have found is that fudge is not easy, it is fickle, and that there are numerous different ways to make it! Here is my favorite recipe at the moment:
1 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1 oz chocolate (or 2 -3 heaping tbsp. choc chips or cocoa powder even)
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the butter and vanilla in a saucepan on med-low heat, stirring constantly until it starts to boil. Once it starts to boil, stop stirring and let it boil 5 – 6 minutes. Then take it off the heat and add the butter and vanilla. Let it sit until it becomes warm (but not too cool maybe 30 – 45 min) then stir for 1-2 minutes and pour into another pan and wait until it firms up.
The recipe actually says to heat it to some temp on a candy thermometer (we had one for a while, then it broke) but normally we don’t use one. When stirring the fudge (at the end after it has become less hot) there should be some – but not too much – resistance. And when everything is done perfectly, it should firm up completely just a few minutes after being stirred and poured. Of course, we have had plenty of batches too thin (wasn’t boiled long enough) or too thick (became caramel hard candy because of being boiled to long). And this is only for chocolate fudge, recipe directions change somewhat if you want to make white chocolate, etc.

Khadijah on March 9, 2014 3:02 pm

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah, mash’Allaah, this looks good! I love your mention of the candy thermometer- we never had one in Yemen and learned to do without, so when we came here I couldn’t convince the children it was necessary. And of course, it isn’t, there was candy before there were candy thermometers, right?
This is my absolutely favorite brownie recipe, I’m glad the kids like it, alhamdulillah. You can even use butterscotch or peanut butter chips for the frosting for a bit of a change. Mostly I love it because it reminds me so much of my mom!
I did have her recipe box, and I remember putting it in storage before we left for Yemen, but it seems to have disappeared, mash’Allaah. I am trying to reconstruct her recipes from memory and the internet, insh’Allaah!