As a kid on the farm, making the egg run was one of our first tastes of independence. Any recipe requiring a good amount of eggs saw us trotting down the road to Marvin and Mary’s house with an empty egg carton and a dime — later a quarter, tucked inside.
Back we came, a dozen eggs straight from the chicken house in tow, mission accomplished, anticipating the baked good that was likely to appear on the kitchen counter.
Baking offered another early opportunity for creative freedom. I pored over 4-H recipes and stacks of spiral-bound church and high school benefit cookbooks imagining my own delicious display on the table. There’s a dog-eared, batter-stained page in a red covered one with a recipe for “Brownies For The Crowd”. It calls for four eggs. Those early egg adventures come to mind every time a pan of this brownie batter is ready to slide into the oven.
Fortunately, it’s an easy recipe, now known by heart, so that poor page has been free from additional “patina” for many years. These brownies, though, still play the dessert role at many Fourth of July, Thanksgiving (supporting role to pumpkin pie, of course), and other crowd gatherings. And always to grand review. Well, except for the first time I made them from memory for my husband and reversed the ratio of sugar to flour. Get the mix right, and these are star-spangled!
Star Spangled Brownies (aka Brownies For The Crowd)
1 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
8 Tablespoons cocoa powder (if you are in a hurry, that’s the technical equivalent of 1/2 cup, but the process of scooping 8 T. somehow results in just a little less cocoa than you get from scooping 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oil (I use corn oil)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla (the real extract is best)
Pour into a 9″X13″ ungreased pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cool a bit, and spread, with the back of the spoon, a heaping teaspoon of powdered sugar for a starring role as topping.
With gratitude for food and freedom, and for family and friends to celebrate them, happy 4th of July!