Shannon here: Sandra Ardoin shares a recipe for brownies circa 1896 from her latest Historical Romance, Enduring Dreams. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an e-book copy of Unwrapping Hope, the prequel novella to the series. Deadline: Oct 10th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Sandra:
Let’s just be upfront about this. I cook solely for the physical welfare of my family. If they enjoy what I’ve made, it’s bonus points. (Yes, I see all of you excellent cooks and bakers cringing. 😊)
Along with everyone I know, my characters like to eat, so there are times when I include a meal or dessert in my stories. Since I write historical romance, that means I need to know what foods were available or common for the time and place.
Set in the late 1890s, my Widow’s Might series is built around a group of young widows who meet every Sunday afternoon for Bible study, fellowship, and support. They’re mentored by an older widow who listens to their problems and shares her wisdom. Dessert is always on the agenda.
In the first novel of the series, Enduring Dreams, Claire Kingsley brings brownies to a Sunday meeting. It was one of the first desserts that occurred to me, but I wasn’t sure they were available in 1897, so I hit the research trail and found a recipe.
The Boston Cooking School Cookbook by Fannie Merritt Farmer, published in 1896, includes a recipe for “brownies.” It was my kind of recipe—short and simple. As a working woman, Claire’s time is limited, so it appealed to her, too.
We usually think of brownies as being fudgy with lots of chocolate. This recipe is for a molasses brownie and has no chocolate. (Okay, now I see the chocoholics cringing.) I didn’t find much on Porto Rico molasses—other than it came from Puerto Rican sugar cane—and can’t say if it’s dark or light.
Here’s the recipe straight from Fannie Farmer’s cookbook and presented as written there. You’ll notice it has no baking instructions with regard to temperature. Actual thermostats on ovens didn’t come about until the early 20th century. But I found the TasteAtlas site with this same recipe, and they advise baking in a 180-degree oven for thirty minutes.
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup Porto Rico molasses
1 egg well beaten
7/8 cup bread flour (TasteAtlas just says flour.)
1 cup pecan meat cut in pieces
Mix ingredients in order given. Bake in small shallow fancy cake tins garnishing top of each cake with one half pecan.
About Sandra: As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out. Learn more & connect:
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About the book – Enduring Dreams:
Loving her might be a blueprint for disaster.
Claire Kingsley once dared to assert herself into the male world of 1890s architecture. It cost her husband both his life and an heir. Now fear controls her choices and her dreams. When offered a chance to create another design, she fights against the pull, afraid of further disaster. But disturbing news ignites a fierce loyalty to her past love and a powerful attraction to a new one—an attraction she resists…for his sake.
Mark Gregory’s first architectural project in town comes with the proviso that he works with a female. He balks, even though Claire stirs his heart like no other woman. Yet, with a loan payment looming, risking his business on someone of unknown talent invites failure, a word he’s struck from his vocabulary.
When bigotry and Claire’s fears threaten an important commission, will she summon the courage to help Mark succeed, or will she destroy another man’s dream?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win or interested in Sandra’s other books?
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Question for Readers: What’s your favorite go to dessert recipe? Where did you get the recipe?