Retro Brownies

Retro Brownies @ NancyC

Last week, I saw Greg walking down the hall at work. I knew what he was going to say.

“Hey, did you make the brownies?” he asked. I knew he meant THE Brownies. He had told me all about them–how his mom had made them for years from a cookbook she had received as a wedding present. How they were his favorite brownies. After I heard him talk about those brownies and the cookbook they came from, I was convinced I needed that cookbook. I told Greg I was going to order the cookbook and make those brownies real soon.

That was last fall.

It took awhile for me to get around to ordering the cookbook on Amazon. But I finally did and I received it about 3 weeks ago. But I still hadn’t made THE Brownies.

So when I ran into Greg this time, I told him I was determined to make those brownies the following weekend and I’d bring him one (and one for Jane, too, who was nearby and happened to hear us talking about the 61P9FYWw8kL._SX445_BO1,204,203,200_brownies). And that is how I finally got around to making them.

These are your basic brownies with a good milk chocolatey flavor and a great moist texture-not too fudgey, not too cakey, but just right. They’re from a vintage cookbook that was published in the 1940’s, with updated editions in the 1950’s and 60’s. The cookbook is called The Modern Family Cookbook by Meta Given (not to be confused with the Modern Family Cookbook from the current TV show). There’s just one brownie recipe in this cookbook, simply called “Brownies.” The original recipe is made in an 8×8″ pan; I doubled the recipe and made the brownies in a 9×13″ pan. Try them out and see what you think!

RETRO BROWNIES by NancyC, adapted from The Modern Family Cookbook by Meta Given

Makes a 9×13″ pan

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 squares baking chocolate (unsweetened), melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9×13″ baking pan with butter or spray with cooking spray; set aside (or you can line your pan with parchment paper).

In a medium size bowl, blend flour and salt (the original recipe says “Sift flour, measure and resift with salt” but I just blended the flour and salt together with a whisk).

In a large bowl, cream butter, gradually blend in sugar and add beaten eggs; beat until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla and stir in melted chocolate.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in 2 or 3 portions, stirring well after each addition. Add in the chopped nuts with the last few stirs.

Spread batter evenly in a 9×13″ pan which has been buttered (or sprayed, or lined with parchment paper), and bake in at 350˚F for 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove pan to cake rack to cool.

You can cut brownies into bars while still warm or let them cool completely before cutting.

My baking time of 30 minutes was about 10 minutes longer than the original recipe–Greg said his mom baked them longer, too.

You just gotta love those recipes from yesteryear! Do you have a favorite vintage recipe?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Saucy Saturdays, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Show and Share, Full Plate Thursday, Favorite Things Thursday.

32 thoughts on “Retro Brownies

    1. nancyc Post author

      How nice, Christine! Do you have any other recipes you’d recommend from it? Did your grandmother have any favorite recipes from the book?


    1. nancyc Post author

      I used unsweetened chocolate baking squares for these brownies (I added a note to the recipe about that); you could try chocolate chips–they would probably just turn out a little sweeter!


  1. Martie

    Nothing like making a commitment to someone to get you in gear, is there? Lol! They sound really good…what did Greg and eaves-dropping Jane think of them? 😉


    1. nancyc Post author

      Yes, making a commitment sure helps! 🙂 Greg told me they were really good–just like the ones his mom made! Jane liked them, too, and thought it was a great basic brownie recipe.



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