Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
I haven’t done much cooking the past month or so as I recover from surgery. I have, however, spent much of my couch time reading cookbooks and food magazines and drooling over recipes I want to try.
The more I have looked at recipes for soups, breads, sweets and fresh veggies, the more I’ve wanted to cook. Why do we always want what we cannot have?
One afternoon, I pulled out a notebook filled with recipes I found at my mama’s house. Several years ago, I bought the three-ring binder and some plastic sleeves so I could safely store her recipes.
Most are family favorites, including party punch, peach ice cream, a chicken casserole we have made hundreds of times, cheese straws, pickled peaches, barbecue sauce and Mama’s old-faithful banana nut bread recipe hand-written in pencil on a square piece of paper from a memo pad.
But mixed in are other recipes — some that were given to Mama by family or friends and others that she clipped from magazines and newspapers. One is a 1967 clipping from The Wilson Daily Times about Linda Bird Johnson’s 250-pound cake served at her White House wedding. There’s a scaled-down recipe to make at home included in that clipping.
I don’t recall if Mama made all of the recipes she clipped, but it’s obvious which ones she made a lot — brownies, Lottie’s chocolate pie, yeast rolls — because the recipes are dotted with bits of food and frayed around the edges. Others look like they have never been touched.
A recipe for chocolate brownie pie was probably clipped from a magazine. It looks almost untouched. It’s not one that I remember Mama making, but maybe she did. Either way, it only has a few ingredients and looked simple to make, so I baked it for dinner one night last week.
The recipe couldn’t be much easier to make. Melt some butter and chocolate in a saucepan or in the microwave, stir in a few other ingredients and bake in a pie plate; I used one of my pretty no-stick ceramic ones. It only takes a few minutes prep time, and the results are so good!
I cut back on the sugar and added in a few chocolate chips for more flavor. I also cut back a little bit on the pecans because I didn’t want to go to the outside freezer to get more!
I was careful of my timing with the brownie pie, baking it so it would come out of the oven nice and hot around the time we finished with our supper. I cut us each a slice and topped it with ice cream, chocolate fudge and a cherry. Oh my goodness, it was so good! We loved how the vanilla ice cream started to melt onto the hot brownie, making a delicious combination. The leftovers the next day were just as good — with or without the ice cream.
Feel free to experiment with this recipe. Add in some dark, semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips or maybe even caramel chips. Peanut butter chips would be good as well, but I would leave out the pecans. You can try different kinds of nuts, too, maybe walnuts or almonds, or leave them out.
Whatever you decide, I recommend making this sweet and easy treat for your family.
I’m glad Mama spotted this recipe so many years ago and decide to clip it. It’s nice making this kind of connection with her even though she’s no longer with us.
Keep reading this column and you might see a few more recipes I found in this binder!
Chocolate Brownie Pie
This easy recipes mixes up quickly and is perfect for a last-minute dessert.
1 stick butter, melted
1-ounce block semisweet chocolate, melted
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips, if desired (semi-sweet, dark or milk; can also use peanut butter or caramel)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, mix melted butter and chocolate, sugar, and flour, then stir in eggs to combine. Stir in pecans, chips and vanilla extract. I added the chocolate chips while the chocolate mixture was still hot, so they melted, which was fine but not my intention!.If you want the chips to remain intact, add in after you have stirred in the flour and sugar and the mixture has cooled down.
Pour into greased, 8-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Delicious with ice cream.