Friday, December 10, 2021

From Grandma's Kitchen - Peppermint Brownies

When I was a little girl, growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, there was a supermarket chain called Buddies. It was a regional chain, not well known outside of Texas, but for many years it was the closest grocery store to our house. My mother never shopped there, regularly, she drove right past it every week because, "Buddies prices are too high!", to whatever store she did shop at, though the name of it escapes me. 

Aren't memories an odd thing? I remember Buddies (I'm pretty sure the picture above is the very store that was just a few blocks from our house), I recall my mother complaining, often, that their prices were too high, but I can't recall the name of the store that we shopped at every week.  What I do recall about that store is the smell of it! It wasn't necessarily an unpleasant smell, I would say rather, unique. A weird combination, I suppose of all that it housed, the deli, the bakery, the fresh vegetables, it was kind of a rump roast mixed with that rotting potato hidden deep in the bin kind of smell, you know?  I recall one day last year when we were traveling. We stopped off at this mom and pop store in a little town somewhere in New Hampshire, and the moment we walked in the memories from my childhood came flooding back. How is it that two different stores, thousands of miles apart could smell exactly the same and whisk me back to the early 60's like it was yesterday?

While I can't remember the name of the store, what I do recall is that the shopping center it was in had, and has to this day, one of those giant neon signs in the parking lot. When I moved back to Texas for a few years to take care of my mom, I was happy to find it still standing in somewhat working order, those the "shopping" lights apparently haven't lit up for years. Maybe it's too expensive now to keep these old signs burning, but I'm always tickled by the nostalgia anytime I come across one that is still in working order. 

**UPDATE** With the help of Google and my local friends on FB, I've discovered the name of the grocery store was Wyatt's! :)

But back to Buddies, sorry for the nostalgic diversion! While my mom didn't shop regularly at Buddies, with the exception of the five trips she made almost every year for the ingredients she forgot for Thanksgiving dinner, one thing they did carry in the bakery section were the absolute best brownies in the world! My dad and I just loved them! One of the things that made their brownies so good was that they were iced, which in my opinion, is really the only way to eat a brownie! Maybe Buddies ruined me, because so many recipes I have come across in my quest to re-create them do not call for icing. Not that it would be hard to whip up a batch for any recipe, but when you're trying to recreate a recipe from memory, not just any icing will do!

All that being said, growing up eating Buddie's brownies has made me a bit of a "Brownie Snob", I suppose you would say. I'm a hard critic when it comes to a good brownie, and until a friend of mine brought a pan to our small group, I had in my life-long quest, found nothing else that would suffice. Enter Peppermint Brownies! 

Now I'm going to start this recipe off by saying that these are NOT Buddie's brownies! I'm still on that quest! But, they are equally as good, especially with that hint of peppermint, which makes them the perfect and easiest dessert for your holiday parties! Just make them your go-to recipe, "I'll bring brownies", that's all you need to remember, other than the recipe, and now you have it!

1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar (I often use less)
8 tbsp. cocoa
2 tsp. vanilla (for mint brownies, sub peppermint extract for 1 tsp.)
1 c. oil (veg. or coconut--or even applesauce can work)
4 eggs
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 350
Mix all ingredients and pour into 9x13 pan
Bake 30 min. or until done

Let them cool and then frost with chocolate frosting. For peppermint brownies, sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.

For the icing, this is the recipe I use, more like a layer of fudge on top of the brownies. So good!

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