Wednesday, November 30, 2022

And So It Begins

It started in Chicago.  I bought large, round, glass containers with white and red and yellow lids at Crate and Barrel, filled them with homemade brownies, and dropped them off at 5 or 6 houses.

Fast forward 40 years, and I'm no longer shopping at Crate and Barrel for brownie packaging.  It's no longer half a dozen close friends who are on the receiving end of my baking. The list now stretches to three pages.  There are 80 some entries, and not all of them are households.  I bring plates of treats to the garden store and the Pilates studio.  Prince Elementary School has many recipients, yet only occupies one line on the spreadsheet.

It's a labor of love, albeit a messy one.  Chocolate ends up everywhere; this morning's first batch sent it right to the floor.

It's not really my fault - the bowl was too small.  I usually used my large glass mixing bowl, but that broke, after many years of dedicated service, sometime this past year.  I tried the metal bowl with straight sides, but the spatula and I got a little carried away and the result is in the photo.

I bake three batches at once when I'm in Brownie LIst mode.  I tripled the recipe and wrote it on a squiggly piece of turquoise note paper.... a piece of paper which has somehow disappeared since last year.  I did the math again... and then once again when I was cooking and realized that I couldn't possibly mean three tablespoons of salt and baking powder were required.  No, I recalled as I stood, bemused, in front of the bowl.  This is the reason I bought a set of measuring spoons that included a one and a half tablespoon.  This confusion is why I wrote the recipe down in its trebled form all those years ago.  Math and I do not intersect well.  Writing it down saves heartache.

I used up the last of the trin of Baking powder, the one I bought for last year's brownies.  I have now proven that a person of my baking havbits uses one container per twelve months.  After a small mental nod to Dr. K's long ago query - how long does a tube of toothpaste last for you?- I added baking powder to my grocery list and moved on.

Something always goes awry with the first batch, and this year was no exception.  No, I didn't spill the 10 pound bag of sugar I purchased for the occasion, although I tried.
I didn't burn the butter and chocolate, or forget to add the flour, disastrophes from years gone by.  This year I forgot to set the timer.  I left the kitchen after cleaning up and starting the dishwasher.  I came to Lenore the Lenovo and did some work.  I wondered why the timer wasn't buzzing, but I didn't get up until I smelled something verging on the unpleasant emanating from the oven.

My brownies are usually very gooey, one might say undercooked.  But people like them that way, or have come to expect them that way, and haven't complained about them arriving that way, so that's the way they are supposed to be.  These three pans were definitely not gooey.  The edges were uncuttable by my don't-damage-the-non-stick-surface spatula; I had to resort to the Cutco spreader with its rounded metal blade.  

I salvaged enough of the middle pieces to fill several gift bags for the staff at Prince.  I cut the rest into small pieces and brought them to Grandma's Garden.  The grown ups were delighted.  The kids didn't notice the difference.  I stopped and bought more baking powder on the way home.

All in all, it was a very successful first day of Holidaze 2022.


  1. You are so ambitious! That is a lot of baking. I just go to See's Candies and buy boxes of chocolate Santas for the staff at Columbia.

    1. And a Sees pop up shop just opened for the holidays in the easy to access, on my way, mall! Great idea!

  2. I haven't started my cooking baking yet. When I do I will give some away, but my list is short, not like yours!

    1. I've moved so often, and sunk so many roots, and now those roots have off-spring..... it makes me so happy, since part of remaining on the list is the requirement that the recipient write/call/text/email their thanks.


Talk back to me! Word Verification is gone!