Wistful Wednesday #3: Congo Squares

crop little girl with man making dough with flour Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels.com

Something new for ’22.

No not poetry. Recipes that conjure up wistful memories. Sometimes from the distant past and sometimes more recent.

These blond brownies have a special memory for me.

They go back all the way to when I was 10 years old. All the way to my very first 4-H fair. The official name of these brownies is Congo Square. Don’t ask me why. I call them my Blue-Ribbon-Almost-State-Fair Brownies. Yes, I got the Blue Ribbon. It was the overheard affirmation that makes this memory and the recipe special. I heard one of the judges tell another that he wanted to eat the whole plate of brownies, not just a nibble, leaving the remaining for display. “This would have been a State Fair entry,” he said. “Too bad she’s only 10, too young for State Fair,” came the reply from another judge. I almost burst my buttons as the old saying goes.

I’ve had this card around since I was nineteen and moved away from home.
I love that this card is fingerprinted and grease-stained. Yes, it got a little grungey over many uses.

A couple of things that got left out or changed over the years:

  • Bake these in a 9X9 pan
  • Be gentle when mixing in the chocolate chips.
  • You can use any kind of nuts. I’ve used almonds, walnuts, or pecans. Hazelnuts are grand.
  • You can use different chips, too. This week I used espresso chocolate chips.

Have you noticed that old recipes don’t work quite the same?

I’m convinced that chocolate chips have been reformulated so that they now melt at a lower temperature. I let the batter cool for more than 10 minutes and go gentle on the mixing. Still, sometimes the chips seem to swirl into the batter, no longer staying chips. Still delicious.

I made these for Miss E

How to enjoy this recipe

These brownies are best shared with grandchildren and other people who will listen politely to your stories.

Serve with ice cream while still warm or a tall glass of milk. Now that I’m no longer ten, I like mine with a cup of coffee.

They keep well. I like to individually wrap them and put them in my cookie jar. For one thing, that puts them out of sight, so I don’t eat them all myself. For another, grandchildren often open the cookie jar to see what’s in there almost before they say hello. “Of course, you can have one.”

Now I feel even more wistful!

Sunday, Miss E came over to play a new game with me. I ordered it for New Year, but you know, supply chain problems, Covid-19, etc, delayed my plans. We had a great time learning a new game. I almost didn’t lose.

Do you have recipes that bring up memories? I’d love to hear about them. Please leave a link to your blog/instagram/facebook post.
Hmmm.. now my recipe has some great memories attached to it. I can feel the memories piling up.

Before I meander too far into my wistful woods, please hop over and check out Baking in a Tornado. I’m confident you’ll love Karen as much as I do. She’s a blogger friend who posts wonderful, short essays along with her recipes. Today she shares a recipe with espresso chocolate chips. A complete coincidence. I just popped over there as I wrote this. What a delightful surprise.