|My "Little Brother" Papis|
I baked them for tea and for birthdays. For Christmas presents and for Easter treats. For staff meetings and for just because.
My “little brother” in Mmametlhake, developed a deep love for them. If it had been a few weeks since the last batch, he would say to me, “My sissy, you must make those de-de-delicious cookies. It’s been too long, and I need to feel them here,” pointing at his belly.
Brownies are one of those foods that taste of home. All those sweet memories of baking in the kitchen with my mother come rushing back with one whiff of chocolately-goodness in the air. I cannot whip up a batch without thinking of my mom’s green-handled spoon coated in cake batter, just waiting to be licked, or the black tin pan with the grid of scratch’s on the bottom from the hundreds, possibly thousands, of brownie slices.
Each time I’ve shared a tray of brownies, I’ve shared a bit of who I am and where I come from, and they’ve opened up a doorway to share other parts of me. To tell stories about my family and my culture. To talk about how those things have shaped me and formed me. To share a bit of the richness of who I am and hopefully leave a behind a bit of the richness in bellies full of chocolately-goodness.
It’s surprising how incredibly easy brownies are to make. And of course you can dress them up and make them a bit more complex, but I like my brownies simple with that taste of home. So on the day before I depart from South Africa, here’s my recipe for easy brownies and a little bit of home-baked comfort.
Simple and Quick Brownies:
- 2 cups of white sugar
- 1 cup of butter (low fat or full fat will produce equally good brownies)
- ½ cup of cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup of all-purpose (cake) flour
- ½ tsp. of baking powder
- ½ tsp. of salt
- Melt butter (do not allow to boil) and mix all ingredients in the order listed above.
- Spoon batter into a greased 9" x 13" (32.5cm x 23cm) cake pan . The batter should fill only the bottom 1/3 of the pan.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350degrees Fahrenheit (175degrees Celsius) for 20 to 30 minutes. Test with a fork to be sure that it has baked all the way through (allow for a little bit of gooeyness on the fork for fudgier brownies and a clean fork for cakier brownies).
- Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving, or as recommended above, cook the day before in order to serve on perfection day.