Today's dawn broke bright and happy around here in the shape of a cozy breakfast with our friends Chris and Lilla who were visiting from The Plains. We had such a festive reunion after running into them last week in Charlottesville, and putting the wheels in motion for our long-overdue "hanging-out" visit which came to fruition yesterday. We laughed, we reminisced, we ate, we looked at art, we had dinner with their wonderfulmusician-daughter and even went out dancing last night, like the raucous young things we were -- longer ago now than I care to remember. We reminisced lots about eating (even about specific meals, like Chris' dreamy hazelnut pancakes that have been lurking in my heart for more than 30 years), and I was happily reminded of the ease with which one can pick right back up with good old friends, even when your separation has inadvertently been entirely too long.
After they left this morning, I was gathering my thoughts for my Christmas cookie video shoot, which is coming up on Monday, when a quick text came in from Felix. who indicated he'd be speeding past our door from Williamsburg -- within the hour -- with a car-load of Charlottesville-bound pals.
Before I sensibly stopped to consider what, if anything, I had in the house to feed them, I wantonly urged them to stop on their way for a lightning quick drive-by lunch. "Great," said Felix, "we'll be there in 45 minutes."
What to do to impress upon on the hungry travelers that they were most warmly, if a tad unexpectedly, welcome? I scurried around quickly, and happily noted I was in fairly good shape with sandwich fixings, including some good bread, great cheese and some particularly juicy clementines. Nonetheless, I longed to create that little something extra that telegraphed unmistakably, "My goodness, we're delighted to see you!"
Quick as a flash, I remembered Mother's fabulous fudge brownies. They were in the oven and, to my amazement and relief, cooling on the rack even before the kids descended on the kitchen.
I have no idea of the provenance of the recipe and truthfully can't remember the last time I made them; it's really been ages. I poked around and noticed that they are quite similar to a fabulous recipe for brownies known as "Katherine Hepburn's Brownies" that my friend Carroll delighted me with recently. I think they are very slightly different, however, calling for no salt, and a bit less flour. Wherever Mother got this recipe -- and these were my childhood brownies, so it's very long ago -- it's a sure-fire winner.
In the flash of an eye, the kids were here and gone again, having regaled us with hilarious tales and wolfed down their sandwiches, capped off with the still-warm brownies which seemed to be a great hit.
When Jeff and I came back inside from wishing the kids bon voyage , I couldn't help but think what a treat I'd had over the last day: the fun of being with our dear old pals Chris and Lilla; the unexpected in-transit visit of Felix and his friends, and the long-overdueappearance of Mother's fudge brownies.
Just as I said, it's so great to pick right back up with old pals -- be it friends or brownies. It's been entirely too long.
Mother's Fudge Brownies
makes 9 brownies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
21-ounce squares of Baker's unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs and beat well. Blend in melted chocolate, stir in flour and nuts. Bake in a greased8 " x8" x 2 " pan for 30 minutes. let cool and cut into 9 brownies. Serve immediately.