Underneath the bag of bagels nestled in the small rectangle of countertop between the refrigerator and the stove, lies a rectangular Tupperware container of Grandma’s brownies. Organized in perfectly imperfect columns and rows lined with wax paper, the delectable treats await eager hands grabbing away at every last crumb. A staple at every family gathering, these brownies have been a constant among many everchanging factors in my life. Dunked in milk, beside a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream, or just straight out of the container, the chocolatey confections bring joy to all who indulge.
Although the recipe is derived from the back of the neon orange cardboard box of unsweetened “Baker’s Chocolate” used in the dessert, it has been adapted by my grandmother to fit the needs of our family. My grandfather suffered from Type 1 Diabetes, and due to his condition, he had many dietary restrictions that my grandmother adopted in her cooking. Low salt, low sugar cooking was the norm, and those alterations similarly applied to her brownies. Though my grandfather passed away in 2006, the brownie recipe has stayed the same. They are dry in an oddly pleasing way and just a tad bit sweet. While to some this may be off-putting, to me, each crumble holds a story and a memory in it.
A few weeks after I moved into college, my grandmother took a road trip to visit my cousin and I as we were both starting our respective freshman years. When my grandma pulled up to my dorm and I greeted her at her car, the very first thing I was presented with was a rectangular Tupperware container of her famous fudgy brownies. I ate one almost immediately and placed the rest in the freezer to eat another day. Little did I know those brownies would carry me through all of the hardships of the first semester of college. Each time I missed home, was stressed about schoolwork or was simply just hungry, I grabbed myself a brownie.
I never would have thought one of the most basic desserts would hold so much meaning and influence in my life until its frequent presence became a rarity. Although I am still able to see my family on occasion, the brownie-filled gatherings are far less frequent, but each time I reach for a brownie in my tiny little freezer, I am comforted by the warmth of the history and memories exploding from each and every crumb.
Cover Photo courtesy of Countryside Cravings