Brownie wishes

This weeks writing challenge is to finish the sentence, “I wish I were…”

I wish I were fertile dammit!

That’s the obvious answer. Wishing for fertility won’t make it happen and will only cause me more grief. But I came to another realization this weekend while baking brownies…from scratch…

I wish more people were aware brownies needn’t come in a box.

My Mother instilled in me a joy for baking. About once a week she would bake some sort of treat for the family. Cookies, cakes, pies for the holidays, she had a variety of recipes to choose from that could be made with staple ingredients she always had on hand. Once in a while she would use a box mix for cakes, but never brownies. Her brownies were always made from scratch. A recipe she knew by heart that was passed down from her Grandmother. One that she’s been practicing since she was a little girl.

Being the first born, I was Mom’s little helper in the kitchen when it came time to bake.

My first responsibility was Mixing Bowl and Beater Clean-up. She would hand me the bowl and beaters after the batter was in the oven and expect me to lick up all the excess batter remaining. I loved that job. Hunting for every scrap of gooey goodness before placing the bowl in the sink and filling it with soap and water. A job I resisted sharing with my sister when she grew old enough to help too.

I then graduated to mixing pie crusts. There were no frozen pie crusts in the freezer section of the store, we had to make it. Mom would place the shortening and flour in a bowl, then hand me a fork. I would sit there mixing until all the flour changed color and the clumps were as small as possible. She loved how flaky her crust would turn out whenever I mixed the batch, making it my permanent job whenever she baked a pie. A fact I took great pride in.

Holiday cookies were always so much fun. Rolling the little balls to make “snowball” cookies. Cutting out the sugar cookies and decorating them. Hand cranking the nut grinder for any recipe requiring chopped nuts. Tasting the first warm cookies to make sure they turned out well. Plus there was always a bowl or beater in need of cleaning!

I’ll always remember those times spent in the kitchen with my Mother. Fond memories relived whenever I get in the mood to bake something.

This last weekend when my wife was craving chocolate, I thought “brownies” and wanted to surprise her. I found a recipe for brownies on the Internet matching the ingredients in my kitchen and went to work. (I was missing a couple ingredients for my Mother’s recipe.) I started measuring, mixing, chopping and even tasting just as I always did with my Mother.

My wife had never made brownies from scratch, and questioned how I could make brownies without a box mix. I wonder how many others think the recipe for brownies starts with buying a box mix from a store? Needless to say she loved the brownies and they satisfied her chocolate craving at a time when the only chocolate in the house was chocolate powder.

I wish I were able to share the joys of baking with my child. Establishing wonderful memories that will last their lifetime. But since I won’t be able to…I sincerely wish you will with yours!

Edit: My Mother was happy to share her recipe.

Mom’s Homemade Brownies (not out of a box)

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350*. Grease baking pan. 13x9x2 inches. Melt chocolate and shortening in a large saucepan over low heat (can now be done in microwave) Remove from heat. Let slightly cool. Mix in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in pan. Bake 30 minutes or until brownies start to pull away from sides of pan. Do not overbake. Cool slightly. Cut into bars. About 2×1-1/2 inches. Makes approximately 32 cookies

© copyright 2011-2012


About ivfmale

Just a guy dealing with infertility.

Posted on October 30, 2012, in Crazy Random and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. I really long to share my love for cooking with a child. I’m not much of a baker, although it rarely stops me, but I love love love making main courses, sides and breads. I want to teach my child to be bold in the kitchen and fear not the pepper grinder. I want to teach them the best way to slice an onion, mince garlic, etc. Maybe one day. Until then, I’ll just talk to myself while I cook!

    • I was burned at a young age from bacon grease during a kitchen accident. My mother was a good cook and I do know a few of her recipes, but that accident affected her from asking me to help out much when cooking dinner and dealing with the stove.

      Baking however was her passion and if I was around…I was always encouraged to jump in and help her clean beaters. 🙂

      That was quality time spent with my Mother that I’ll always remember. Just like working on the cars with my Father are fond memories I’ll cherish the rest of my life with him. I probably wasn’t helping all that much, but the extra effort to include me anyway made the tasks special. A gift far greater than simply baking the treats and handing them too us.

  2. I didn’t make cookies or deserts from scratch until I was married because my mother does not cook or bake. Since I never had a parent teach me, I had to teach myself through cooking blogs and conversations with friends. I would love to have children and teach them what I have picked up, and my heart melts a little at the thought of family time in the kitchen. I hate how happy thoughts like that are tainted by infertility and loss 😦 Thanks for sharing, I might just try to make from brownies from scratch now!

    • I know exactly what you mean. I wrote about brownies because wishing for fertility was just too easy…somehow it ended creeping its way back in. But if anything can get your mind off your troubles for a while…it’s homemade brownies!! 😀

  3. I love that you have such wonderful childhood memories with your mom! You are so fortunate! My mother rarely made desserts but at Christmas time, she made everything FROM SCRATCH. We had every cookie imagineable and we made them as a family. Thank you for reminding me of this!

    You may share these things with a child some day – don’t throw the towel in just yet. I still have lots of hope for you!

    • Christmas cookies and dying Easter eggs were two family traditions I’ll always remember. Too often we forget that the mess is worth the memories which will last much longer than the cookies will.

  4. Oh my gosh those look delicious! I wish I knew how to bake, I love to cook, but I am a novice baker. One thing I can say, it sounds like you have a great relationship, despite going through the hurdles of baby-making, you are “in it together” and that is definitely admirable to many!!

    • The picture is one I found on the Internet. But they look pretty close to the ones I made. 🙂

    • The trick to baking is to know your oven well, or get an oven thermometer. My oven runs hot so I must set it 25 degrees under the recipe temperature to keep my baked goods from burning.

      The other trick is to let butter soften for about 15 minutes. Don’t microwave it and never melt the butter unless the recipe specifically says so. You can follow the recipe perfectly, but your cookies will come out flat if you melt the butter.

      Follow those two tips and your baking will be happier with the results.

      • Noted! I was just invited to a cookie exchange in a couple weeks and I RARELY make cookies from scratch that are even edible! I will follow your tips and if you have a good recipe I’d be so grateful!

      • What kind of cookies were you thinking about?

      • Anything for beginners! 🙂

      • Chocolate chip is the easiest. I just use the nestle recipe on the back. Be gentle with the butter and you’ll be fine. You might want to practice with chocolate chip to get familiar with the oven to see if it runs hot. If you are a little more adventurous you can try snicker doodles.

        You can make them even more special by using sugar crystals instead of regular sugar in step 6.

      • Oh and I like to add flour a 1/4 cup at a time. Just fill up the proper measuring cup, level it off with the back of a knife and add a little bit at a time. Keeps flour from going everywhere while mixing it. 🙂

      • For some reason it wouldn’t let me reply to your recipe below… but thank you! it looks like there aren’t too many ingredients for me to mess it up.. although I have no idea what “cream of tartar” is.. I think that’s what I’ll do, thank you and thanks for the tips!

      • I honestly don’t know either. I just know it isn’t used in tarter sauce.

  5. desserts from scratch always taste better to me!!!

  6. Baking from scratch is such a lost art form. If people only realized that it’s not that much harder than using a box. Their loss. I’m sure your brownies were fantastic.

    • They were awesome! And they don’t have all the extra junk in them to keep it preserved on a shelf in a box and to try and mimic what happens naturally if you use natural ingredients. Plus you can experiment with a recipe to try and make healthier options, like substituting applesauce for oil. And Splenda instead of sugar. With a box mix you just add eggs and maybe milk and you’re stuck with what the manufacturer provided.

      For me even the healthier homemade options taste better than the box mixes.

  7. Your brownies look so delicious, and you sound like a great cook. My grandmother used to get so frustrated that I showed few signs of culinary prowess. I think she was worried that I would never find a partner if I could not cook! She even gave me gifts of cookbooks, which I still have and treasure!

  8. Thanks for the idea! This is a good recipe for cake-like brownies. If you like them fudgier you can cut the flour back to 1 cup. I like the cake-like ones and I have a batch cooking now!

  9. Mom’s Homemade Brownies (not out of a box)

    4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    2/3 cup shortening
    2 cups sugar
    4 eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1-1/4 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 cup chopped nuts

    Heat oven to 350*. Grease baking pan. 13x9x2 inches. Melt chocolate and shortening in a large saucepan over low heat (can now be done in microwave) Remove from heat. Let slightly cool. Mix in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spread in pan. Bake 30 minutes or until brownies start to pull away from sides of pan. Do not overbake. Cool slightly. Cut into bars. About 2×1-1/2 inches. Makes approximately 32 cookies

    Happy Baking 🙂

  10. My husband and I could not have kids without IVF, and he didn’t want to give that a try. I always wonder if it could have worked out, though at an earlier age, I didn’t think this was something I would have wanted to try. I have two other friends, not including those in the blogosphere, who went through multiple IVFs and ended up without kids. I’ve been sitting on the fence about adoption, mostly because I am now almost 44 and my husband is 14 years older, and partly because I’ve had many of the feelings/thoughts you’ve shared here. It just didn’t call to me, though I’d always thought it was a great “idea” back when I didn’t think we’d be infertile. But recently, I spent time with some friends who have 3 kids 5 and under. The little girl, the youngest, is 18 months, and while playing with her brothers (who were mostly ignoring her), she kept running back to me and wrapping her arms around my legs. I could have taken her home, she was so sweet and cute. For the first time I’ve started thinking about adoption in earnest. I hope you will have a child to bake with one day. I’m really, really, really impressed that you can make brownies from scratch!!!

    • All of these decisions are personal ones that.each couple must make. Adoption is a big step in that you are accepting your situation and it has its own risks involved as I’m sure you’re aware of. I wish you the best if you do decide to go for adoption.

      Baking brownies from scratch isn’t hard at all. The recipe I linked to is really simple and very good. My mother’s is a little more complicated, but worth it! Like anything else it takes practice. But the only difference between the homemade brownies from the link and box brownies is measuring raw ingredients. Give it a try sometime. 🙂

  11. I used to LOVE licking the bowl when my mother made chocolate cake – nom nom – the best thing ever. Thanks for posting the recipe – I’m going to try it out 😀

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