Before we moved out of the city, we lived on Hague Avenue in the Merriam Park neighborhood of St. Paul. My sister Molly and I walked to school at St. Mark’s and to Don’s Country Boy on the corner of Selby and Hamline Avenues by ourselves, where we would pick out a candy bar for a nickel. It was always tough to decide between taste and size, and we often fell for the Charleston Chew or the long ropes of Bubs Daddy, promising ourselves that next time we would get a Charms Sweet N Sour Pop no matter how small it seemed. Next door lived the Marose family: Jeannie and Dick and their four sons, Ricky, Jerry, Billy, and Donny. Jeannie’s house was always perfectly clean—we could hear her vacuum running every day as we played outside—and Jeannie was always dressed beautifully. The Marose boys were all older than me, but they were always so kind and polite, and when Chris Drews started bullying me on the way to and from school, Billy and Donny walked me to and from, though I know they silently hated it. I was embarrassed, but I was thrilled. It was only a four-block walk, but Chris Drews could get up to a lot of good terrorizing in that short time, and I was only five. Jeannie would ask after me as we arrived home and whether Billy and Donny were being helpful, and sometimes I would get one of her delicious brownies. All of that kindness, and the brownies, made it all better in my five year-old world. Here is her recipe, which I baked in little aluminum foil heart-shaped pans for Valentine’s Day, topped with my mom’s recipe for fudgy chocolate frosting. I hope they make your world a little better, too.
Brownie and Frosting Tips
If you are using the shaped baking cups, fill them half full with brownie batter. You may have a bit leftover. If so, bake it off in a little pan. You can cube it into ice cream later.
This frosting sets up with a lovely sheen, but only if you pour it quickly and don’t fuss with it. It will crack and wrinkle if you move it while it’s setting.
These are awfully yummy served warm straight from their little pans. They are also nice at room temperature.
Jeannie Marose’s Brownies
Yield: 12 heart-shaped brownies or a 10×15 pan of brownies
1 c. sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1 can Hershey’s chocolate syrup
1 t. vanilla
¾ c. walnuts (optional)
1 c. flour
½ t. salt
- Melt the butter.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined.
- Pour the batter into a 10 x 15 pan, or into disposable heart-shaped pans (available at most Target stores).
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes if baking them in the large pan or about 15 minutes if you are baking them in the little heart-shaped pans.
Sheila Casey’s Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Yield: enough frosting to generously frost the brownies or a cake
1 c. sugar
5 T. unsalted butter
1/3 c. milk
6 ounces chocolate chips
- Combine the sugar, butter, and milk in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Boil one minute.
- Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until melted.
- Pour onto the brownies immediately and do not disturb them until the frosting is dry.