I finally got her recipe. No I am not sharing.
Grandma Rosa is, hands-down, the best cook in my family. She's won awards at the county fair for her pies, is famous (at least in her corner of the world) for her cinnamon rolls and brownies, and would give any Iron Chef contestant a serious run for their money. She once cooked a big pot of spaghetti sauce with a jar of ketchup for our family when we showed up unannounced since, of course, we HAD to eat SOMETHING while we were there (and it was tasty, in case you're wondering). And her baked beans, served at Thanksgiving, for lunch, brunch, or anytime. It makes my mouth water just thinking about them.
But I keep coming back to the brownies. She's sent them to me a few times in the mail, once when she heard Jules broke his collar bone (chocolate makes everything better), once when I hinted to my Dad that I wouldn't mind another shipment. Packaged in neat little stacks separated by waxpaper in a shoebox, they are nothing short of heaven to me. I can eat almost the entire box by myself. I have a hard time sharing them, even with my own flesh and blood. They are that good. After taking his first bite of Grandma's brownies, Johan declared, "these are not BROWNIES. These are FUDGE!" Being an expert on fudge (Grandma also makes an unbeatable batch of this), I knew Johan was dead-wrong about this, but he was right about the word "brownie" not quite describing them. What I will say about the recipe is that they're rich, in an almost indescribable way, because Grandma does not shy away from using eggs (I used seven, yes SEVEN, in this batch) or butter (3 glorious sticks). The rest you'll just have to guess.
So, after some more "hinting" to my Dad, I got my hands on Grandma's recipe. It's been only since having kids that I have really been interested in how Grandma cooks. Before Jules and Kasper came along, I'd been happy just to gorge on whatever Grandma sent my way. Now I NEED to know how she does it. And, ironically, were it not for my kids, I'd be tempted to ask Grandma if I could move in with her for six months and be her cooking apprentice. Come to think of it, uprooting them (and leaving Jo at home) might just be a small sacrifice compared to what we'd all have to gain in the advancement of my culinary skills. Food for thought.
But for now, I'll just have to be content with messing up Grandma's recipe. Since Grandma herself doesn't really follow recipes, the one I got must have taken some work on her part to write up. Her instructions were exact. Bake them for 42 minutes. When my Dad read the recipe back to her and told her he'd written down "bake for 40-45 minutes," she bit his head off. "No, I said FORTY-TWO MINUTES." Well, I baked them for 42 minutes and checked them. They were, well, kind of soupy. Back in the oven for another 15 and I'd overbaked them. So the brownies, while good (oh, did I ever eat my fair share), did not even come close to Grandma's. But just like Grandma, I did share them. I shipped them off to places as far as Nebraska and Pennsylvania, along with a little batch of the Cardamom Walnut Cookies I like so much. And Grandma even got a small box. I hope I made her proud.
As It Always Should Be
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