Being dubbed the baker in the family from a young age is something that sticks with you, and it was something I was happy to revisit, after moving in with my family, and once again having someone to bake for. Unbeknownst to me—baking was not an easily acquired skill in my brothers household, so I was pleased to take after my mom with a gentle guiding hand and calm voice to teach my nieces.
There are of course always those moments in life, where despite skilfulness, and composure, a love for the craft, and enthusiasm—life throws you a curveball, and you in turn throw your love and ability our the window, and take a shortcut.
My curveball came running toward me panicked. A wide eyed bright minded niece of mine who had set her hopes high in her most recent social studies project, and packed her calendar a little to full.
Her group was going to hold a bake sale and donate all the proceeds to charity, in a display of “what youth can do for their communities”. One of her contributions to the project was the ambitious offer to bake Five pans of brownies for the sale—a tall order in a family who I’ve seen burn the outside of Pillsbury crescent rolls, while still leaving them raw in the middle, after baking them at the specified temperature on the label. To make matters worse for her, it was after 5pm, she was on her way out to a babysitting commitment and the sale was tomorrow morning. Sheer panic was written across her face at the thought of being Brownie-less at the sale tomorrow.
Without an ounce of hesitation, Cakers came to the rescue and I promised to have her five pans of brownies ready by morning.
I expected that they’d sell well enough—being junk food sold in the hallway of a Junior high school at lunch hour. What was less-than expected, was a request from the principal of the girls’ school, who indicated to them that they were the “best brownies he had ever eaten”.
At first I laughed it off when I heard the request, and casually “forgot” to write down the recipe, certain that he had made the comment to be nice. But as request number two, and then three came again, I knew I was busted. I would have to fess up to my fake baking, shortcut taking, brownie making.
I was a shame to the “cakers” title.
I held a pen and paper in my hand with uncertainty, my nerves over filling me. With a level head I measured out some honesty onto the paper, mixed in the step by step process to creating the brownies, cracked a few jokes, and stirred. Then I folded the note and placed it into the envelope and sent it to school with my nieces the next morning.
The letter read.
The girls told me you would like the recipe for the brownies I made for the bake sale. Before I share this with you, you must understand that this is an old family recipe and my mother would absolutely kill me if she found out I was sharing this with anyone. You must be certain that you will not pass this on to anyone.
Prepare one store-bought box of chocolate chunk brownies exactly as the recipe indicates. Use the lowest cooking time indicated.
Frost with one can of store bought chocolate fudge icing
Crush up three skor bars and sprinkle on the brownies.
Get completely busted by the principal of your nieces’ school for taking a short cut for the school bake sale after he decides these were the best brownies he’s ever tasted and wants the recipe—
Sincerely Auntie Stef.