This special treat can help earn brownie points

Years ago, I remember walking into my husband (then boyfriend) Joey?s house and nervously meeting his parents for the very first time. I really wanted to make a good first impression, and I had to give myself a mini pep talk on the way to their home.

Don?t get me wrong, there?s absolutely nothing scary about Joey?s folks. They?re great people, and I love them dearly, but I?m a huge believer in the power of a good first impression. It makes all the difference, and I didn?t want to blow it.

Last week, Joey and I took over for Joel Klaassen as a part of the Hillsboro Free Press, Buyer?s Edge and Harvey County NOW magazine, and as I?ve gotten the opportunity to meet some of the team here, I have to admit that I?ve been a little nervous about making a good first impression with them, too.

Just like with Joey?s parents, none of the Hillsboro folk are scary. (As a Bethel grad and a long-time Camp Mennoscah veteran, I know enough locals to assume that would probably be the case, but that hasn?t kept the butterflies away). Everyone I?ve met so far has been fantastic.

Unfortunately, I probably won?t get to meet the rest of them for awhile, since I?ll be busy teaching my classes at Haven High School, so I decided to send a gift along with Joey for his first staff meeting when he got to meet the whole gang this past week.
After all, what makes a better first impression than food?

For the occasion, I decided to try my hand at making brownies from scratch, something I?d never done before. The recipe I tried came from the blog ?Wicked Good Kitchen.? My contribution to the recipe was to double the chocolate and the vanilla. Trust me. This was definitely a good change.

You can find the original at http://wickedgoodkitch?en.com/grandmas-old-fashioned-rich-fudge-brownies.

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Grandma?s Old-fashioned Rich Fudge Brownies
Ingredients
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2/3 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts.)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, sift together the salt and flour. Add the sugar, oil and eggs, and beat until the mixture is light and smooth.

Add in the vanilla, melted chocolate and nuts. Beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into a greased, 9×13-inch pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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I was extremely pleased with how these turned out. They were soft and had great flavor. I don?t know if I?ll be able to bring myself to make another pan of brownies from a box mix ever again.

And, hopefully, they made the kind of first impression I was going for.

Editor?s note: Lindsey Young writes this column on a weekly basis for the other newspapers opened by the Youngs. We are pleased to publish it in the Free Press as well. Let us know what you think.