all of the selves we Have ever been
With democracy crumbling all around the world,
I went looking for some happier news that I could sink my teeth into.
I landed on something big! Today, December 8, 2021, is National Brownie Day. I am not talking here about apprentice Girl Scouts; I am talking about the chewy delicious food that made it hip to be square.
Of course, controversy swirls even in a world of just desserts. Who is the actual inventor of the brownie? Is it the socialite Bertha Palmer, wife of the Palmer House Hotel owner? Some say that in 1893 she instructed her hotel chef to come up with a small cake that would fit in a boxed lunch. The Palmer House brownie contained walnuts and apricot glaze. The invention stuck to Bertha’s hips and to the Palmer House Hotel menu. A few years later, in 1904, some real housewives in Maine claimed the title of inventor with their recipe for the Bangor Brownie. Who knows? But by 1907 the brownie appeared for the first time in a cookbook, and the recipe gained wider circulation. Since then, Americans have consumed brownies in numbers that make the Build Back Better budget look measly.
During the pandemic, I came across a simple brownie recipe that is my family’s new favorite comfort food. Given the length of the pandemic, I have made it many times. These brownies are delicious warm and even better a few minutes out of the freezer. The recipe calls for chocolate chips, and we have tried them all: mint, peanut butter, and various types of chocolate. Our favorite is the Ghirardelli Premium Baking 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips. (Sorry, Hershey’s!) Feel free to experiment. Remember that you're not alone if you prefer nutless--60% of people do.
One Bowl Brownies (courtesy of Hershey’s) Makes 16 brownies.
1 ¼ cups sugar
½ cup melted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup Hershey’s Cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
Should the news leave you in a mood to stir things up, grab a bowl and a hand mixer. Take to the streets with an armful of brownies. Savor the wonders of this American invention and the reminder that we are still capable of creating good things that last. (With or without the nuts.)