Mamoo’s Brownies

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For years I have been convinced my Grandma McGee, aka Mamoo, left something out of her brownie recipe.

Mamoo made these brownies every Christmas. I mean, they were expected to be ready for consumption as soon as we hit the door of her Temple, Texas home.  These brownies were part of the assortment of treats she would stash in old cookie and popcorn tins along with the divinity, fudge, shortbread cookies and trash. And they are amazing!  So why were mine never turning out like hers?!

I figured it out.  I was impatient.  The oven temperature and the piece about letting the brownies cool in the pan – those things matter. Once I reduced the oven temperature to 325 and stop worrying about the brownies sticking in the pan, it worked! My brownies started to turn out just like HERS! These are a somewhat crumbly, crackly brownie that is more on the fudgy side of dessert.

And they store really well in cookie tins.

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I did make one adjustment – you can add an extra egg in if you prefer a softer, more cakey brownie.  That’s a personal call 😊


Mamoo’s Brownies

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup flour 
  • 1 egg, beaten – for fudgey, crumbly brownies (2 eggs for more cake-like brownies)
  • 2 T cocoa
  • 1 cup nuts – pecans, walnuts

Butter an 8×8 baking dish by taking a little softened butter and smooshing it all around the dish.  Make sure you get those corners!

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Mix the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, flour, egg and cocoa powder in a bowl.  I like to make this even easier and use a hand-held mixer. Piece of cake….err… brownie!

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The batter is really thick and grainy from the brown sugar.  If you like a cakier brownie, that extra egg will make the batter a little looser than shown here.

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Sprinkle a little flour on the nuts and stir them into the batter.  Mamoo always said this was to keep the nuts from sinking to the bottom of the dish.

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Spread the batter into the baking dish using a knife.  It’s a thick, sticky batter and the knife will help you push it out to all the edges.

Bake at 325 for 20-25 min.  You want to be able to tell that the center is set and the edges have just started to pull away from the dish.

Let cool the brownies cool in the pan but run an knife around the edge while the brownies are still a little warm to loosen edges.

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When they are cool, you should be able to flip the brownies out of the pan and cut them into squares.  If you go the one-egg route you’ll get a fudgier, crumblier brownie.  If you add the extra egg, the brownies are slightly fluffier and more cake-like, as on the right below.

Either way, it’s a tasty brownie that I always seem to have the ingredients on-hand for! Test them out and let me know what you think – are you a one-egger or two-egger?


Full Recipe

Mamoo’s Brownies

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup softened butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup flour 
  • 1 egg, beaten – for fudgey, crumbly brownies (2 eggs for more cake-like brownies)
  • 2 T cocoa
  • 1 cup nuts – pecans, walnuts

Butter an 8×8 baking dish.

Mix the brown sugar, butter, vanilla, flour, egg and cocoa powder in a bowl.

Sprinkle a little flour on the nuts and stir them into the batter.

Spread the batter into the baking dish using a knife.

Bake at 325 for 20-25 min.

Let cool in pan and run an knife around the edge while warm to loosen edges.

Cut into squares. 

Zucchini Nut Muffins

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Will and I may disagree a little on this one. He heard “zucchini” and immediately said “NO”.  But for a muffin with some squash in it, these are pretty dang tasty.

Back in Weslaco, Texas my mom made these little gems often.  I believe the recipe came from a friend in town and my sister and I love them.  In fact, when Laura made the seven-and-a-half hour move to Baylor University these muffins became part of care packages sent her way.  I remember packing them up and more than once making sure the precious cargo got in the hands of a loving, die-hard Baylor couple from the church that would be making the trek up north.  When I went to Baylor a few years later you best be sure plans were made to send me some as well.

Zucchini Nut Muffins have everything right about them – they are just a little sweet, always moist, have a crunch from the nuts and they freeze well.  One batch makes 24 muffins so they are great grab-and-go breakfast options or make an easy brunch offering.

Let’s go back to our college days for just a few minutes: What’s in your care package?  You can fill mine with Zucchini Nut Muffins any day.


Zucchini Nut Muffins

-This recipe makes 24 muffins-
  • 2 c shredded, unpeeled zucchini*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c corn oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 400.  Grease two muffin tins or line the cups with baking liners.

*When you shred the zucchini be sure to leave the peel on.  Just wash the produce, chop the stem off and then use a grater to shred it up.  To get 2 cups of shredded zucchini you will need roughly one large or 2-3 small veggies.  Be sure you concentrate just as hard as I am 😉

In a large bowl, combine the shredded zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Why use corn oil?  Corn oil has a slightly higher smoke point than other oils and is essentially flavorless, both which make it nice for baking. If you don’t have corn oil on hand, reach for the vegetable oil for the same end results.

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Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and baking powder.

Add in the nuts and stir until moistened.

It’s completely up to you which nut you use but the most common choices are pecans and walnuts.  More often than not, I’ll go with pecan.  If you have halves on hand, chop them up a bit.  I like to leave some large pieces for texture throughout the muffins so I don’t worry about keeping the sizes of the pieces too even.

Fill the muffin cups about two-thirds full.

Bake for 18 minutes.

Let the muffins sit for a couple minutes in the pan, then move them to a wire rack to cool.

Once cooled, the muffins freeze and reheat very nicely.

What do you think?  Does the squash-in-a-muffin scare you off or are you intrigued?  Mix up a batch and let me know how you like them!


Full Recipe

Zucchini Nut Muffins

  • 2 c shredded, unpeeled zucchini (about 1 large, 2-3 small veggies)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c corn oil
  • 1 T vanilla
  • 2 c flour
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 c chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts)

Preheat oven to 400.

Grease muffin tins or line with baking liners.

Combine zucchini, eggs, oil and vanilla.

Add remaining ingredients and stir until moistened.

Fill muffin cups ⅔ full.

Bake 18 minutes.

Let cool on rack.

Yields: 24