Brexit, Birthdays & Brownies

Birthday Brownies
Birthday Brownies

There’s a lot happening in the world. Last week was a bumper edition: Brexit and Cameron resigning, Tshwane protests and Zuma’s spy tapes appeal dismissal. Not in the same league but apparently still good enough for Sunday Times front page, there was also the story of the un-halaal Brazilian. Add in a myriad other bits of news that I should probably know but haven’t caught up on and Bewildering is the word that most seems to fit with what’s going on. An old fashioned kind of word but the meaning I like best is this one: things that mess with one’s head.” * It’s how I feel when I think about it all and, instead of coming up with the answers to world peace, I end up with a  mess in my head.

But you can breathe in relief. Qwerkyblog is not suddenly going to be my vent on the political or economic or anything else a little bit hairy (that’s the Brazilian part in case you wondering**), I’m going to stick to what I know. And this week, what I know is about Birthdays and Brownies.

Sorry, a sudden shift but it’s been that kind of week. While the big world was preoccupied with all manner of important things, in my little world, life was dominated by a birthday. If you have a kid or know a kid or have been a kid then I’m guessing you’ll get the scale of importance of The Birthday on the annual calendar. It’s Brexit on steroids. My eight-to-be-nine year old was no exception. He ramped it up a bit this year with his own definite views on how, when and what to do to celebrate. Instead of me deciding, he emailed me a list of friends, together with a party invite and a request to go to the local ice rink. And brownies instead of birthday cake please.

Like dutiful mothers / PA’s the world over, I made it happen for him. But like mothers the world over, I also had myself a little moment. I’m guessing that the moment is a global thing (I can’t be that unique) and mine happened with the birthday brownies. (Be patient there’s a bit of backstory that comes with this.) There I was, nine years and one month ago, with a stomach out to the stoep and craving brownies. Not just any brownies, but brownies that had been served by a friend as dessert a few months earlier. They had to be made from scratch. But a craving is a craving and I got the recipe and made batches whenever the craving struck. That night the craving kicked in just as the baby did at ten. No problem for an eight month’s pregnant woman. By ten forty-five the brownies sat in a happy pile on the coffee table. As I reached for my second, third (okay, maybe tenth) my very rude husband burst out,

“You can’t see your ass but I can.”

Let’s just say that while that comment was bad enough to kill my craving, my husband fortunately survived. I regularly tell the story as proof of the stupid bravery of his youth.

Anyway back to the moment. The birthday boy wanted brownies and so together we made those brownies that he had been fed before he was even out in the world, before I even really knew him. When I got that emailed recipe in April 2007, I never imagined that I would make them with that baby. And even if I could have imagined it, doing it was so much sweeter than even my sentimental self could have hoped for. That was my moment: when everything seemed right even with the mess in my head.

I don’t know how its going to turn out with Brexit and Cameron, Tshwane and Zuma or even Brazilian blowdries for that matter. I wish I had something supersmart to add. But I do know about birthdays and brownies, and I know that’s a happy ending for sure so here’s the recipe for you. It won’t bring world peace but I promise you it won’t mess with your head. (No promises about your ass though).

Birthday Brownies (I don’t know where the original recipe is from, so if you spot it in a recipe book somewhere let me know and I will happily credit it)

  • Melt together:  250g butter and 200g dark chocolate
  • Sift together: 1tsp baking powder, 65g flour, 80g cocoa power and 350g sugar
  • Stir the chocolate and flour mix together.
  • Beat 4 eggs. Stir into the chocolate / flour mixture until smooth
  • Pour mixture into a 30cm tin lined with baking paper
  • Bake for 25 mins at 180 degrees. The top should be firm but the centre moist so a skewer will not come out clean. Do not bake for too long. Cool in the pan and cut into squares.

Have fun my friends, and let me know if you bake any brownies.


*I haven’t made it up, look here

** I haven’t made that up either



2 Responses

  1. All I have been wanting for the past two days are brownies and now I read your blog post about them, with a delicious sounding recipe at the end! Alas I have a pantry that is empty (well, empty of baking ingredients) and I am a sickling, so my baking endeavors will have to wait. But this post is bookmarked!

    1. Ah Bridget! Promise I’ll make you some for when I next see you. Hope you feel better soon.

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