Vintage Brownies

These brownies could very well be the type of brownies your mom or grandma used to make. My friend Greg told me about these brownies, and here is how I came to make them (in pre-Covid-19 days when I was working at the office):

One day, 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 received it 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 brownies). And that is how I finally got around to making them.

So that’s the story of how these brownies crossed my path. 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 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!

Vintage Brownies

  • Servings: 16-20
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

VINTAGE 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.

Recipe from NancyC |

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?

Sharing at Full Plate Thursday, Tasty Tuesdays, Wonderful Wednesday, Hearth & Soul, Inspire Me Monday, Silver Pennies Sundays, Happiness is Homemade, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday, Fiesta Friday, Thursday Favorite Things.


13 thoughts on “Vintage Brownies

  1. FrugalHausfrau

    As soon as I saw these on FF I thought, “I bet that’s Nancy’s post!” I am always tickled when I see a recipe from Meta Given (and love that you didn’t try to add an “s” to the end!) I have my Mom’s Modern Encyclopaedia of Cooking! That’s basically the only cookbook my Mom had wen we kids were small. And I have a couple of her recipes on my site.

    Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday this week!



    1. nancyc Post author

      That’s great, Mollie! 🙂 I’ll have to check out the recipes you made from this cookbook! FYI, I was very tempted to add an “s” to her name–I had to check it twice! 🙂



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  5. Nona Lisa

    I was elated to see this posted! I used my mother’s MFCB as a child and always made these brownies. I have inherited this cookbook but unfortunately the brownie recipe page no longer exists. It has fallen out of the book. I can now teach my grandkids how to make these. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person


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