Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Burned brownies August 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:00 AM

Sometime between baking chocolate chip cookies and burning brownies, my perspective changed, slowly, over five years.

Let me explain.

My oldest daughter, Amber, drove down from the Cities last night to have supper with us. She also came to pick up some of her belongings. Now that she has moved from a cramped uptown apartment into a large south Minneapolis duplex, Amber has more space.

In the past, this packing of her stuff would have left me feeling blue. Not last night.

As I watched her rummage through totes and carry boxes and books downstairs from the bedroom she once shared with her sister, the expected melancholy never happened.

I was actually encouraging her to take more. And she listened.

Together we sorted through the stack of vintage tablecloths I collect. She took four.

Together we sorted through the box of extra wine glasses I had stored in the basement. She took six.

She asked about a blanket, not a fleece one, to take to soccer games. I refused to give up any of the bed-sized quilts my grandma had stitched. She took a lap-sized denim one instead.

Not that I minded Amber borrowing any of my stuff; that was OK with me. But this was supposed to be primarily about her stuff.

Only five years ago, she was packing her belongings for the first time, going off to college. Oh, how those years flew, those days when I would bake chocolate chip cookies to send back with her after a weekend at home.

Now I can’t remember the last time my eldest has slept overnight here.

But then I can’t recall the last time I baked cookies for her either. And when I baked brownies yesterday, I burned them. Yeah, I got distracted by a project and never heard the oven timer.

How life changes.

Grandmother Brownies

1 cup margarine, softened                     4 eggs

1 ¾ cup sugar                                       2 teaspoons vanilla

½ cup cocoa                                         1  1/2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt                                1 cup chocolate chips (or nuts)

Grease a 9 x 13-inch cake pan. Cream margarine with sugar, cocoa, salt and eggs; mix well. Stir in vanilla and flour until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (less for chewier brownies).

Recipe by Barbara Schmidt from the Vesta Centennial Cookbook