26 January, 2011

Handwritten Recipes: Blonde Brownies

A short time ago, I happened upon a truly awesome blog called Forgotten Bookmarks.  Run by independent bookseller Popeks Used And Rare Books, Forgotten Bookmarks is a sort of art project documenting bits of ephemera found between the pages of the used and rare books that come into the store looking for new owners. 

Among the many items found have been quite a few handwritten recipes - some on cards, some on slips of paper, some carefully written out, some in barely-legible spidery handwriting.  Enough of them turned up that shop owner Michael Popek started a side project, Handwritten Recipes, to document and share these forgotten treasures as well.

Mr. Popek thought it would be interesting to have someone actually prepare and photograph the recipes he features on Handwritten Recipes, and I agree.  It's a project that fits nicely with my interest in "heirloom recipes" and culinary ephemera.  Beginning today, I'm going to start working my way through the collected pieces there, preparing the recipes, photographing the results and perhaps the processes, and posting them here with links to the original discovery at Handwritten Recipes.  I hope that you enjoy this collaborative project as much as I will.

Our inaugural recipe was found in a copy of Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (Published by Vintage, 1999.)
Blonde Brownies
2 c. flour
1/4 teas. baking soda
1 teas baking powder
1 teas salt
2 c. packed brown sugar
2/3 c.. shortening, melted
2 eggs
2 teas vanilla
2 c. choc. chips
1/3 c. chopped nuts

Mix flour, soda, baking powder and salt
Add sugar to shortening - eggs - vanilla
Add flour mixture to sugar mixture
Spread in 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle with chips and nuts
Bake 350° for 30 mins
Cool in pan; cut in bars
What a great choice for a first recipe.  I was a little skeptical at first as I spread the batter into the 13 x 9 pan - there didn't seem to be enough to make a good layer on the bottom of the pan - but they came out great.  The consistency was perfectly brownie-like, chewy and rich, and everyone loved them.  This is definitely a keeper.


Anonymous said...

what a cool idea! it's like you're eating forgotten family secrets.

Unknown said...

Dave- wonderful idea! I have an old recipe box that was my Grandmothers- the cards are tattered and well used. I also have my Mothers- same story. I've made copies of them and saved them in electronic files but still love to hold the cards. Most of them do not have directions- they assumed you knew how to cook and bake!

Alan said...

What a great project, Dave. I'll look forward to following the progress on those old, lost (now found) recipes. I love the idea that they came from old books, used as markers. I'll check those blogs out. Both ideas are great, the recipes and the old book markers. I like that you not only made the recipe and gave a critque on it, but you sighted the book in which the recipe served as a bookmark. Great idea, and the brownies look great too.