CHEW THIS! Family Memory Brownies

The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Saturday, December 7th 2019 edition. By: Blaise Doubman

A special recipe, in memory…
Blaise Doubman

As I sat down to write this column, words kept escaping me. I am not sure what to say in all honesty, as the shock still has not worn off and I am not sure if it ever will. Within the course of 10 days, both my Grandma Deloris and my Grandma Barbra passed away. Just when this year had been testing me in all ways, this happened – a double loss. My Grandma Deloris and Grandma Barba were not just my Grandmas; they were also both my best friends, life teachers, therapists, critics, motivational speakers and so much more. There was not a day of my entire life that went by that I didn’t somehow see them, call them or talk to them. Even on my most depressing days I knew that somehow, they would be able to reach into my soul and drag me out of whatever it was I was facing and whatever it was that was holding me down. Now, as some of the realization is coming to me about what has really happened, and so quick, the first thing that comes to my mind is fear. Fear of facing life without them. Fear that maybe somewhere deep inside, I won’t be able to continue without my best friends. Also, a fear of never being able to really open up honestly with anyone else in my life, or to feel again that special “grandmotherly” connection that I have had all my life. I have, especially this year, been reading and learning more about the “seasons” we go through as humans. It seems that life is a continuous progression of different phases, or “seasons” and sometimes I think of them as weather patterns. Sometimes there will be a phase in life of perfectly sunny weather, maybe a few clouds roll by but all in all things are pretty good. The current season I am in, and have been in for what seems like awhile, I would classify as hurricane season and just within the last few weeks, 2 large category 5 hurricanes have rolled through, one right after the other, completely demolishing the landscape and everything in it’s path. How do you recover from devastation?

I know that both of my Grandmas would want me to be strong and not just for me but for my family. Sometimes a person has to be strong so that other people can see the strength in that person and allow themselves to be stronger and pull themselves through because of it. I will be the first to admit that being strong is hard and trying to be strong for someone else is harder. My Grandma Deloris and Grandma Barbra were both Believers and had countless talks with me on Faith, God and what it means to not only believe what you believe but act it out on the world. Storms make trees grow deeper roots is something that both believed and talked about. One of my favorite things though lately has been the saying that sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction. I believe that God doesn’t make mistakes and I believe that everything happens for a reason but sometimes it is hard to find the “why” in the mist of heartache and sorrow. What lesson was this to teach? Why did this happen? Eternal questions that I may be forever asking myself. All I know, is that right now, I need time. I need time to heal, to process, to question and to wonder. I have so many memories to hold and to cherish of these two fabulously wonderful, loving human beings. If you have been a reader of my website and column, from day one, these two women have played a huge role in everything that I do and I believe that even though they are gone, they will still be loving me and guiding me.

Family Memory Brownies

These brownies are delicious on their own but if you are a fan of a frosted brownie, use this recipe. Beat 6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter with 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons light corn syrup and 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract until smooth and combined. Add in 2 cups powdered sugar and add in 4 tablespoons milk. Beat until smooth and creamy. Spread on cooled brownies and enjoy.

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup white all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and pure vanilla extract. Beat until combine.

Beat in the large eggs, one at a time. Stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder.

Gently stir in the white all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

Fold in the milk chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread out evenly, smoothing out the top.

Bake for 33 minutes.

Remove and cool. Frost if desired.

Ask and Answer: So many of you have reached out and written, texted, emailed, messaged and called with condolences and I want to thank each and every one of you. My gratitude for your kindness and words of encouragement are immeasurable. Thank you.

Uglies But Goodies

These are ugly but super delicious! Buttery, thin, crispy outside, chewy inside and full of chocolate chips. You can not eat just one.

Uglies But Goodies

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup white granuated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar and packed light brown sugar.

Beat in the large egg and pure vanilla extract.

Stir in the salt and baking soda.

Fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Place into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove and roll dough into tablespoon size balls. Place, two inches apart, onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake, one sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Once baked, remove from oven and immediately place baking sheet in freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove, remove cookies and enjoy.

Disgustingly Rich Brownies

These live up to their name! Delicious!

Disgustingly Rich Brownies

2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 cups white granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter, white granulated sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder.

Beat in the large eggs, one at a time.

Beat in the pure vanilla extract and salt.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

Remove and cool before cutting.

Norma Beavers’ Chocolate Chip Brownies

I found this recipe while browsing through my Grandma Barbra’s old “Kennard Friends Church” cookbook. Norma Beavers is a friend to my Grandma and has been for countless years. This recipe is like a giant chewy chocolate chip cookie but in bar form. Highly recommend you try them! I kept the recipe basically the same but changed up the method of sifting the dry ingredients.

Norma Beavers’ Chocolate Chip Brownies

2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups white all-purpose flour
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray containing flour.

In a large bowl cream together the softened unsalted butter with the white granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, pure vanilla extract and water.

Beat in the large eggs.

Beat in the baking soda and salt.

Gently fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle the semi-sweet chocolate chips along the top of the batter.

Place into preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. 10 minutes into the baking time, remove from the oven and gently swirl the chocolate chips into the batter. Place back into the oven to finish baking.

Once baked, remove and allow to cool before cutting into squares.

PB Bars

There are a lot of names for this dessert. PB Bars, Buckeye Bars, Bucky Bars, Hardy Bars, No-Bake Bars, Lunch Lady Bars and on and on. I think I must have at least two recipes for bars similar to this listed on my website but these may be my favorites! Some people top these with chocolate frosting, which is delicious too but I would rather top them with melted chocolate!

PB Bars

1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening

Line a 9×9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the melted unsalted butter, powdered sugar and lightly packed light brown sugar until mixed and well combined. You may need to add about 2 tablespoons milk or water.

Beat in the smooth peanut butter.

Place the mixture into the prepared pan and pat out evenly with clean hands.

In a medium sized microwave safe bowl combine the semi-sweet chocolate chips with the solid vegetable shortening. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.

Pour the mixture over the peanut butter base and smooth out the top.

Chill, uncovered, in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Remove, lift from pan using sides of aluminum foil and cut into desired number of pieces. Chocolate sets hard so jagged pieces are not only desired but necessary.

Serve and store at room temperature.