Sugar (Putz) Brownies
Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL: http://marypoppinsinheels.blogspot.com/2010/02/sugar-putz-brownies.html
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Mary Poppins In Heels
Their name notwithstanding, Sugar (Putz) Brownies are pretty basic brownies. The recipe doesn’t call for anything particularly interesting or different, and the technique is hardly unique. They are delicious brownies, but so are others. In fact, the relative normalness of the brownies is revealed in heading on the little recipe card which reads, simply, Brownies. I named them Sugar (Putz) Brownies after hearing their story.
Evan and his mother spent much of their time together as a family of two. Evan’s parents divorced when he was a teenager and his older brother went off to create his own family. Evan and Houdini’s bond was loving and, when Houdini died, Evan became the keeper of her recipes.
Several years ago, Evan mentioned that his mother’s brownies were the best he’d ever had. It was a “one pot” recipe which, in his younger days, he’d made himself upon occasion. As he spoke, he pulled a little tin box out of the cupboard. He said he thought the recipe would be in the box, since it held some of her favorite recipes.
He stood there, in the kitchen, resting his hand gently on the little tin box while he told me the story of would become Sugar (Putz) Brownies.
Evan was in his late teens or very early twenties when, one day, he decided to make brownies. He found his mother’s recipe and set out baking. He dug out a big pot and lit the stove, melting the shortening and unsweetened chocolate before adding the rest of the ingredients. While he measured and mixed, he sang to the music playing on the radio and made plans for the evening with a friend who telephoned. He prepared the pan, poured the batter in, slipped it into the hot oven and stood waiting impatiently for those delicious, chocolatey bits of heaven to bake.
Evan, unlike me, waits for baked goods to cool before tasting them, saving his tongue from the little burns and blisters I sport so regularly. True to form, he refused to taste the brownies before they reached a safe temperature. As he waited, they teased his senses, sitting before him looking so rich and lusciously brown, their chocolate aroma filling the kitchen, begging for him to pick just one crumb up and touch it to his mouth.
He resisted, waiting until, finally, they were cool enough to eat. He cut a big square along the edge, scooped it out of the pan and put it to his lips. Closing his eyes (everyone knows it’s impossible to truly enjoy chocolate with open eyes, after all), he took a huge bite, fully confident that his senses were about to be tickled by that delectable chocolate brownie of his childhood.
But instead of the sweet, smooth chocolate-laced gooeyness he so loved, his mouth suddenly harbored a tangy-bitter blob of wet flour and salt.
“AAAUUUCCCCCCHHHHHH,” resonated through the house.
He spit the offensive concoction into the sink and frantically scraped his fouled tongue with a paper towel before it disintegrated entirely under the influence of the disgusting substance engulfing it. His tongue rubbed raw and his mouth still tingling, he seized the little card from its resting place, and scanned it for its flaw. The stupid recipe was wrong. He went through each ingredient, remembering very distinctly putting it in the big pot.
Shortening…yes, he had a specific memory of wondering, as he carefully measured it, how something so gross could make so delicious a flavor. Unsweetened chocolate…yes, he clearly recalled breaking it into sections and then breaking each section in half before putting it in the pot, a piece at a time. Sugar. Sugar…sugar….Sugar.
Not one to knowingly blame the innocent, he quickly revised his position and made a mental note that sugar, especially four cups of it, is probably crucial to the success of a batch of brownies. And always one to laugh at himself, he immediately edited the recipe card, adding (putz) after the word sugar.
I love the visual of him spewing brownie and then laughing his hearty laugh at himself. I suspect his mother got a tremendous kick out of the murder of her ever-so-simple brownie recipe, and I can hear the two of them laughing at each subsequent telling of the story.
I made the brownies for him for the first time the night he told me the story, and as I presented them to him, I was still chuckling at the visual of him spewing the would-be brownies all over the sink.
“Wow, what did you make?” He scooped up a big square and bit into it with abandon.
“Your mother’s brownies,” I announced.
“Mmmmm,” he said through a mouthful of brownie, flashing his most charming smile at me. “I love that you made yours with sugar.”