Friday, December 21, 2007

aunt lola's brownies

aunt lola's brownies

Unlike most of my kitchen standards, this recipe has roots that delve much deeper than my own culinary creativity. I've tweaked the recipe here and there, but the original Aunt Lola's Brownies was given to my mother on one of those From The Kitchen Of. . . cards years and years ago by a woman at her church, let's call her Betty. So, presumably Betty had an aunt named Lola. Or Betty had a friend with an aunt named Lola. Or Betty got a little wild in the kitchen and would pretend to be some lacey-aproned vixen, twirling fudgy spatulas to the beat of salsa music, and called herself Lola. I don't know. But, the brownies, as prescribed by Aunt Lola, were a staple of my adolescence. I made them all the time. Eventually, I moved away and got married and gave my choco-lovin' husband the recipe, so he could make them his own darn self. And, chances are, if you came to our house in the first few years of our marriage: you'd be offered an Aunt Lola's Brownie. They became the punchline of a legendary family story; the one where the husband placed the glass baking dish, full of just-baked-hot-from-the-oven-brownies, on the stovetop to cool without realizing that the electric burner was still hot. He walked to another room, and several minutes later, we heard a frightening explosion and raced to the kitchen and found shards of glass and globs of, yes, Aunt Lola's Brownies everywhere. Skip forward a few more years and see our diet change. We stop eating brownies. I eliminate refined sugar and flour. We go vegan. We miss brownies. I love making recipes, the tasting, the satisfaction of noticing tiny changes when I add subtle dashes of certain ingredients. But I just wasn't happy with any of my so-called brownie creations. So, I turned to Aunt Lola and told her if she'd let me substitute ingredients in her recipe, I'd always give her the credit. So. Here you go.

The original recipe is in bold, but I've added in my common substitutions.

1 C melted margarine (no! hydrogenated oils = bad. I usually use earth balance buttery spread but tonight I used a cup of pumpkin puree, mmm. . . pumpkin and chocolate)
4 eggs (we aren't exactly vegan anymore, but I'm still in the habit of not baking with eggs. When/if we eat eggs, it's mostly for their own eggy sake. I have made these recently with eggs, but I think I still prefer my old standard egg substitute: 1 C flaxseed meal combined with 1 C cold water and set aside til gelatinous goo forms, i should say that one cup of flaxmeal makes four whole eggs worth, so for other recipes i use a quarter cup flax and a quarter cup cold water per egg )
2 C sugar
(lately i only use rapadura. thanks to that 25 pound bag i bought recently, i don't feel like i have to be stingy with my sweetener usage)
2 tsp vanilla (unless you're like me and you're flat out of vanilla, which i was tonight, until i sent the husband and children up to the store, but by the time they got back, the brownies were already done. next time!)
1 C flour (i use whole spelt almost exclusively for all my baking)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
4 TBSP cocoa powder
(truth be told, to appease the chocolate lovers in the house, of which i am not really one, i eat it if it's around, but i don't miss it if it's been a while, i nearly double the cocoa powder)

Mix Together, Bake 350, Thirty Minutes, Don't cool on hot stove burner, la la la.

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