Have you ever discovered a recipe so good that no matter how many times you make it, you don’t change a thing about it? I haven’t yet. My mother, on the other hand, has a favorite dessert standby that she brings to every occasion: a heavy-duty chocolate, melt-in-your-mouth brownie that is so good it does not need to be altered. Part of the reason why she takes it everywhere is because it is mind-blowingly easy to make. The other part of the reason is because if she showed up to a party without them, hosts and guests alike would probably riot.
When I was in high school, I mistakenly believed that I was the brownie master. I baked brownies from scratch so many times that not only did I have a favorite recipe, I also had it memorized. I believed that these brownies were the solution to any dessert obligation. They were chocolatey, gooey, and seemed like they were everything a brownie should be. I thought they were the best brownies that I could possibly ever make.
A couple of years later, my mother discovered the recipe for her now-famous heavy-duty brownies. This recipe did not only seem like everything a brownie should be; it was everything a brownie should be. The first time she made them, I’m pretty sure that angels serenaded our oven. A rainbow sprouted above our roof and the world knew true world peace, if even only for a moment. Even the mysterious sock thief that routinely robbed the dryer pledged to renounce his life of crime if only he could eat a single chocolatey crumb. These brownies were thick, they were rich, and they were certainly heavy-duty: these little baked bricks were so chocolatey that in order to keep her guests from dying-by-chocolate, my mom had to cut them into small, bite-sized chunks.
Today, she has perfected the art of the brownie and has so many rabid fans you’d think she was a Jonas brother. Her hairdresser is so hooked on them that she can nearly pay him in straight brownie. Some people have told me that if they could, they would inject these brownies directly into their bloodstream. They are both a drug and a currency, and there is always high demand for them.
Even though my mother has made a name for herself with these brownies, even though these brownies are perfect in every way known to every being on every planet in this universe, even though this recipe is now somewhat sort of a family jewel to which I am the next known heir, the brownies I made in high school will probably forever be the best brownies I will ever make. How is this possible, you ask, when such heavenly morsels as heavy-duty brownies exist??
I will let you in on a secret: I have never attempted to make these brownies.
I will let you in on another secret: I will probably never attempt to make these brownies.
I will even let you in on a third secret, since I trust you all: I am terrified of the responsibility that comes with mastering this recipe.
You know in Spiderman when Uncle Ben warns Peter that “with great power comes great responsibility”? That is how I feel about these brownies. They are not only incredible, they are powerful, and if I mastered this recipe, if I learned how to be the true brownie master like my mother, I would never be able to make another dessert again. No one I baked for would ever be satisfied with my desserts unless they were all buttery, chocolatey, rich brownie morsels. With a tray of brownies, I could either make or break a dessert table. I would hold rainbows, angels, and world peace in my hands. I would become a brownie master– nay, a brownie goddess– but at what cost?
And so, mom, I leave the brownie baking to you. Thank you for baking them for me this weekend. Thank you for sneaking some into my bag this afternoon when you thought I wasn’t looking. And thank you, thank you, for bearing the brownie torch. I know that being Brownie Goddess is not always as much of a cakewalk as the name suggests, and chocoholics worldwide– and I– salute you.