In 1945, I was 13 years old, in the 8th grade at old Highland School in Cincinnati’s East End.
I especially loved my home economics cooking class and our teacher, Mrs. Geoghan. We spent a lot of time chatting together and she would show me a few vintage (even at that time) cookbooks she had on her desk. I especially coveted one called All About Home Baking published by General Foods in 1933. There were a few pages in color that I really enjoyed…
….and loads of black and white how-to photographs along with their great recipes.
I wasn’t in the habit of asking for things, even of my parents, but for some reason felt comfortable in asking Mrs. Geoghan if I could have this book – and she gave it to me!
It was an absolute treasure to me – I read and reread the recipes and gazed at the pictures, imagining myself making all of these wonderful baked goods.
These brownies were in her repertoire of brunch-type foods to make in the summertime when my sister and I would sleep until almost noon and come downstairs to a baked treat of some kind. She didn’t include instructions for the brownies, but I made some recently to see if they were as good as I remembered them. They are. I omitted the frosting this time but it’s also delicious and easy to make.
I baked mine the way Mother always made hers – in a 9×13 pan which results in a very thin bar. We only had butter in the house for Thanksgiving, so I’m sure she used margarine (oleo) for her frosted brownies.
MOTHER’S BROWN SUGAR BROWNIES
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1-½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Grease and flour a 9×13 baking pan
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar, add the egg.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into the butter mixture just until blended. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Spread and pat into a greased and floured 9×13 pan.
Bake @ 350 degrees for approximately 12-15 minutes. Bars should be slightly soft when removed from oven. Place on a rack to cool.
Serve plain or with Mother’s Quick Caramel Frosting. Cut into bars to serve.
MOTHER’S QUICK CARAMEL FROSTING
1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
2 Tblsp. butter
2 Tblsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1-½ cups confectioners’ sugar
Put brown sugar, butter and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Cool slightly. Add vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Beat well and spread on brownies.
This wonderful cookbook often turns up in antique malls and in various versions on a lot of websites such as Amazon and eBay.
My Mother, 1945