Cocoa Indian Brownies (and the brownie gobbler), by Beverly Hicks Burch

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Why do you cook? What was the catalyst that began your culinary journey?

For me it was almost a given…it was going to be a fact…I would learn how to cook.

I come from a long line of accomplished cooks. From my Momma to my Aunt LaRue and Aunt Korinne, My maternal grandmother was known for her famous chicken and dumplings and even my maternal grandfather could cook a mean steak. His momma was a good German cook and made her own sauerkraut and to this day I make her German noodles dish which my Momma and aunts have passed down.

I got to thinking about these types of recipes the other day when I was doing some genealogy work. The question came up: “Have you preserved your family heirloom recipes?”

I had never thought about recipes like that, but when you do pause and think about it, there are recipes we identify as “family recipes”. As a genealogist and now as a cook, I’m realizing how important it is for us to preserve those recipes for future family members.

Another question: If you are a food blogger, why did you start blogging?

My journey into food blogging began with a realization. I was organizing my huge collection of recipes one day. I have been collecting recipes it seems since I was a child. At least as a young adult. Back then we didn’t have Pinterest, tablets, computers, clouds or any other modern contrivance to help us organize and store our collections. It was file boxes, notecards and/or binders. A lot of mine ended up in manila folders waiting for their own special spot.

So, on this particular day, I realized I had enough recipes to share and make a cooking adventure for a blog. In my case there’s many side trips because I’m always adapting and changing a recipe until I have a totally different animal so to speak. Then, of course there’s original development. But, nonetheless, the inspiration was there.

Today’s recipe fits both categories. It is a family “heirloom” with it own back story and it’s part of my collection.

The back story: When we were children Momma would delight us with a pan of these brownies on occasion. We loved them! I was the oldest child, so sometimes, they would be waiting for me when I came home from school.

One cold winter morning Mom had made a fresh pan. I was at school, but my younger sister was at home. (She wasn’t old enough to start school yet, but old enough to stir up her own brand of excitement .)

Mom was also in the process of doing laundry and my aunt was visiting. It was so cold that day, so when Mom got ready to hang the clothes out on the clothesline, my aunt volunteered to help. They stepped outside without jackets (they thought it would take just a second to hang the couple of pieces up) and once the laundry was hung headed back to the door.

Their hearts dropped when they discovered the door was locked

…by design…

From the window in the door, they could see my sister pacing, eating the brownies. Yes, she had locked the door so she could have that whole pan of brownies to herself. And, she did…she at the whole pan!

All the knocking on the door and pleading did no good, she would not open the door for the two freezing, shivering women until the last crumb of the last brownie was gone.

The recipe comes from the very first cookbook Mom every owned. The first printing date is 1942 and it was reprinted in 1953. When I married Mom passed it on to me.

moms first cookbook

These are  cake brownies. If you like you can throw in some nuts or raisins and they are great with vanilla ice cream.

indian cocoa brownies

Cocoa Indians Brownies

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, scant

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla flavoring

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped nuts or raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 8 or 9 x 12 pan. (You can also use Baker’s Joy spray.)

2. Cream butter until light in color. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.

3. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Add the vanilla flavoring and mix well.

4. Combine dry ingredients together.

5. Alternate adding dry ingredients with the milk to the butter mixture.

6. If adding nuts or raisins, fold into the batter.

7. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting.


© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Comments: 2

  1. corrie May 10, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    This is a real trip down memory lane – my mom had this same cookbook and I used to bake brownies from it on Thursday nights (her bingo night), lol! That was back in the ’60’s. Thanks for the perfect recipe to fill four tall teacups to make “tropical coconut drink” treats for my grandaughter’s birthday.

    • BamaSteelMagnolia May 10, 2017 at 2:13 pm


      I’m glad you enjoyed your trip down memory lane. I still have Mom’s cookbook and thumb through it every once in a while. For me it will always be associated with these brownies and my sister gobbling the whole pan up while my mom and aunt stood outside in the freezing cold. LOL! I have some of those `60s and `70s memories myself 🙂

      What a cute idea – the “tropical coconut drink”! It’s adorable and this recipe would make a good base. I know your granddaughter will be thrill when she sees them.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! It’s always nice to hear from people who do stop by.


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