I love The Smitten Kitchen. Blogger Deb is funny and thoughtful and a fantastic baker. Not only do I love her recipes, but I love her stories, too. Back in a post from July she wrote:
Some people find out they’re going to be parents and — you know, after the whole “yay babies!” cheer has simmered down a bit — freak out because they haven’t yet a) traveled the world, b) made their first million, paid off all of their debt and saved up enough for $200 toys for their little snowflake or c) well, grown up yet. But me, I actually had a moment of panic because I hadn’t yet found the perfect yellow layer cake recipe.
But, Deb met the deadline. She found the perfect yellow layer cake recipe a couple months before her son was born. Her post reminded me of that episode of Friends where Monica wants to the be the mom known for the best chocolate chip cookies. Go ahead, watch this 4 minute clip – there are so many things that are funny about it. [Edit: Sadly, the PERFECT clip of Friends that I had originally posted here was removed from YouTube. Hopefully, you know the episode I am referring to and if not, take my word for it :: it was a good one!]
So, Deb’s story and the Friends episode got me thinking: by the time I have children, what do I want to bake really well? And it came to me in an instant: brownies. I love yellow layered cake and chocolate chip cookies just as much as the next American girl, but I adore brownies. Yes, it was settled, I would be the mom known for her amazing brownies. So amazing that her kids would miss her brownies nearly as much as they’d miss her when they go off to college.
Now, as luck would have it, another favorite blogger, crafter, and baker of mine posted this entry just a couple of weeks after I got thinking about The Best Brownies ever. After reading the Black Apple’s description, I was sold:
These are so reliable, so fast, and so good, and they fit my brownie-criteria to a T. I know that people look for different things in their brownie, but these are my top concerns:
-Crisp (but not hard) little crust on top and sides
I gave them a try and … guess what? They were perfect. In.Every.Way. She’s right: they’re reliable, fast, so good, chewy and softish, with a crisp upper crust.
Please don’t think that I’ve just gone and settled for the first recipe I’ve tried. After several batches of Chocolate Raspberry Brownies (sans nuts and raspberry topping), Cookie Dough Brownies (which we loved because not only because they were delicious, but the recipe made a lot: 9×13 pan instead of an 8 or 9 in square!), and Cheesecake Brownies (cream cheese makes anything better), I know a little about what I’m looking for. While all these brownies are stand-outs in their own right, the Black Apple brownies still win. I feel so accomplished to have my go-to brownie recipe secured. Sure, it’s not my original recipe, but I have every confidence in the world that our kids will love them. I might not make batches to send to them when they head off to college (mailing baked goods makes me nervous), but I will make them every time they come home to visit.
So, to me, motherhood means making the perfect brownies. It also means letting your kids dress themselves and if that means they’ll pair their favorite polka dot shirt with their well worn plaid pants and hand knitted striped socks (because I will know how to knit by the time we have kids), then fantastic! I will proudly take them, in their silly and lovely mismatched outfits, out in public where they can parade around a bookstore. After all, it’s just an outfit!
I’m glad I tell Clark Kent my thoughts because he holds me accountable. We sit next to a very lovely couple in church most Sundays. Both husband and wife hold degrees in Mathematics and are very nerdy (in the best possible way!). They’ve had us to their home for Sunday lunch and we’ve met and talked with their two (very nice) teenage children. Their daughter is very shy, soft-spoken, sweet, and when she is in church, she sits between her parents … wearing the most interesting foot wear. And I mean interesting. I remember the first time I noticed them, I had to do a double-take. It’s not like you would ever expect a girl like E to wear shoes like that. Like, crazy platform, goth-like, boots – a little bit something like this:
Definitely not something I would ever choose to wear – or want to buy for my daughter to wear. As we walked home from church the other day, I asked Clark Kent, “What if our daughter wants to wear shoes like E? What will we do?” I sounded desperate. Clark Kent, without missing a beat, said, “We’ll let her and it won’t be a big deal.” I stared at him, in disbelief. He then continued, “If we’re going to let our toddler pick out her own clothes, we might as well let our teenager.” Touche, my dear husband, touche!
So, to me, motherhood is also the possibility that my daughter will choose goth boots over the sensible, yet stylish, Clarks that her mother might choose for her; and I’m ok with that now that I am armed with the perfect brownie recipe for her! After all, they’re just shoes!