December 8th is National Brownie Day! Nobody is completely sure where or when the brownie originated, but some sources site early twentieth century New England as their birthplace. Others suggest that the dessert treat was first made by a Boston chef who had a lucky snafu while trying to create biscuits. But no matter when or where brownies were invented, there’s one thing we can be sure about: they are deeee-licious. Brownies can be made with all sorts of yummy ingredients — marshmallow, peanut butter, white chocolate, or nuts. And topping them with more sweet stuff like ice cream or whipped cream, or pairing them with coffee or milk makes them even better. It’s no wonder they’re a popular North American treat!
When I was growing up there were two desserts we “cooked” (from boxed mixes) on a regular basis: chocolate chip cookies and brownies. I think the cookies were always my secret favorite, but let’s get real — brownies were a very, very close second. Whenever we made them my brother and I would use our little kid fingers to scoop and devour the leftover fudgey mixture lining the mixing bowl. Salmonella be damned, there is nothing better than brownie-goo-mix! Now that I’m all grown up I don’t make brownies that often; once or twice a year Chris and I might make our special “polka dot brownie” recipe, a marvelous mixture of white and dark chocolate baked in a brownie. But other than that rare treat, the only brownies we eat come from my parents house. Luckily, they still love to make them, and seem to do so on a semi-regular basis.
So, guess where we turned to for National Brownie Day? We considered stopping by a bakery like Panera, but instead I called my mom last night and asked her if she had any plans for today. As it turned out, Mom and Dad were playing bridge with friends tonight, but being the wonderful mother that she is, Mom still volunteered to bake some brownies during the day. When Chris and I got home after 8PM we got right to work on our fireplace/mantel/wall-mounted-TV project. We worked feverishly until after 10 o’clock, not even stopping for dinner. Finally, as it was getting later, we just couldn’t keep working without a little sugar in our systems. So we headed over to my parents house where my mom promptly served up the largest brownie pieces I’ve seen in my life. Chris’s was especially large, and looked more like an entire cake than an individual brownie. We had our giant desserts with a little vanilla ice cream — and a lot of good conversation — and, man, did those brownies hit the spot!
Tomorrow I’ll be digging out the address book for Christmas Card Day!