Sunday Afternoons & Nutella Brownies

Post image for Sunday Afternoons & Nutella Brownies

by Abby Dodge on March 7, 2011

Growing up, Sunday afternoons were reserved for baking and cooking at my Mom’s side. During the week, Mom would scour the woman’s magazines and tear out recipes for me to test drive on Sunday afternoons while she prepared the evening’s meal for me and my big brothers + girlfriends du jour and company. Mom and I would pick one or maybe two recipes to tackle and then she let me go to town. Honestly, over the course of those years, I made it all ~ everything from fudgy brownies to éclairs to Floating Island (yes.. poached meringue + crème anglaise + caramel drizzle) and it was all from scratch.

Now, I don’t want anyone thinking that I was some sort of protégé here. I was just a little girl following recipe directions with my Mom peaking over my shoulder and lending a hand when needed. These were magical culinary and childhood moments. I felt free.. free to make a mess.. to taste as I went along.. to not add nuts or raisins even if the recipe called for them (I didn’t like nuts or raisins back then).. to laugh out loud along with my Mom when I dropped an egg and the dog would lick it up (gross).. to like or not like the finished product. I felt empowered. I was honored that my Mom thought I could ‘handle’ a grown-up recipe and that it would be good enough to serve to the family.

The bottom line was that even if it tasted like cardboard or looked like crap  the dessert was served and everyone – even stinky older brothers – said it was wondrous. Free ~ Empowered ~ Honored. What a gift my mother gave me with those Sunday afternoons in her kitchen. She’s been gone a good long while now and, sadly, she never got to see me pack up and move to Paris or my first food feature or cookbook or cover recipe on Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking. Yet, no matter how many years have passed, I will always remember my time by her side whipping the meringues, poaching them in milk ~ long before I had any idea what any of those things were~ and tasting the “vanilla custard”, as I called it then, truly believing that nothing could ever taste any better…. I still think so. Her wisdom and graceful, quiet way was certainly the secret ingredient that made each recipe a wonder and it continues to do so.

While I know she’d be proud of my work, she’d be even more proud that her baking tradition continues with my own kids (just ask Tierney about the Chocolate Mousse fiasco and the laughs we had or ask Alex about the amazing meal he cooked up during the big black out) as well as with one of my gorgeous goddaughters, Izzy. I call it Sunday Afternoons in the Kitchen with YOU. Someday, I’ll write a book by the same name and fill it with recipes that I made as a child and as an adult with my kiddlings but, for now, I’ll happily watch Iz and my other goddaughter Tory as they learn to bake from scratch using my recipes and those of my friends and colleagues.

One edition of  “Afternoons”, Izzy wanted to try Nutella Fudge Brownies from my new book Desserts 4 Today.  Like the many bloggers out there who kindly took notice of these little gems, Iz made her own choices with these recipes and really made them her own. She ‘switched-in’ mini choco chips for the hazelnuts (she loves nuts but liked the extra chocolate thing even more – can’t blame her for that!) in the Nutella Brownies – GO IZZY!

Here’s me and Izzy.. with Birthday party nail polish on!

Iz working hard..

Using a mini scoop — very serious stuff going on here..

And  you really must check out  Iz LIVE and talking fashion with Victoria Beckham… Yes, THAT Victoria Beckham.. Wait.. What? Iz’s thinking of turning her back on the culinary world??

If you have young folk anywhere in your life, I encourage you to bake with them in any way, shape or form that works for you, your time and your budget. Just do it. You also must read my friend Kim’s posts on her gorgeous blog The Yummy Mummy about baking with her kids. And check out my talented pal Jennifer Perillo’s blog – she’s another mom who rocks the kitchen with her kids. Kim,  Jennifer and I agree that kids of all ages should be allowed.. no.. encouraged to step in “Culinary Mud Puddles”. We all do it differently…what’s important is that we do it for and with our kiddlings.

With a grateful heart, I thank all of the generous, warm food bloggers for their D4T support and lending their ‘take’ on my funny, little 4-ingredient brownies. You guys have rocked my world. Thank you! Please check out my blog faves for all of this cool folks who love, laugh and baked in their inspired kitchens.

Here’s hoping you end every day sweetly
~AJD

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian @ A Thought For Food March 7, 2011 at 9:49 am

You know how I love those brownies… What a lovely post this is. That looks like one happy girl.

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JenniferA March 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

What a sweet post this is! Such good memories and you are making new ones all the time.

I would totally get along with Izzy. I’ve made the Nutella brownies with mini chocolate chips many times!

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

The double choco hit is pretty darn perfect!

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Gail March 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Sweet post, Abby!!! Izzy & Tory are really lucky to have you as their Auntie Mama Fairy Godmother!!!

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Thanks Gail! I feel blessed to have these young ladies in my life.. and Iz’s little bro Sam too but he’s not into baking quite yet..

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Tickled Red March 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I adore this story Abby and promise to make sure that the boys bake always, now that I have read this I’m going to up the difficulty level for them a smidge. Sunday just so happens to be our bake days as well. XOXO

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Good on you!! Boys rock the kitchen just as much as girls! My son Alex is awesome at the stove. xoxo

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SMITH BITES March 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm

Those brownies are world famous Abby and the story of you and your mom in the kitchen on the weekends just makes me smile. Empowered is a great feeling to have when you’re so young – some of us don’t find that until much later in life, if ever . . . and serious hugs and kisses to you for carrying on that tradition to your daughters and Iz – those are some lucky, lucky girls!!

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Oh Deb.. thanks so much.. You know what? I don’t think she had any idea what a gift she gave me.. she was just ‘keeping me busy”… but who knows… just thankful that she did what she did!

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Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon March 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Abby, those days with your mom in the kitchen sound priceless. I wish we all were lucky enough to have memories like that.

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Of course I didn’t truly appreciate those days until much much later. My friend Jennifer’s spouse likes to use the term “With the fullness of time” and those words are true for this..

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Wenderly March 7, 2011 at 5:16 pm

What a precious post! Love reading about how you came to be the wonderfully talented you that you are! And it sure looks like you’ve got a potential “mini you” in the making!

AND…LOVE your new look! It’s faaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous dahling!

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Thanks Wendy! and I have @Vinoluci to thank for my shiny, new, grown-up look!!

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Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite March 7, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I am thinking I have to get your book (finally!) for next term’s Petits Chefs cooking club :-) What a fabulous post!

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 8:27 pm

So sweet of you to say! D4T is a terrific book for beginners.. regardless of age. Iz has many recipes dog-eared for future “afternoons”.

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The Yummy Mummy March 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Well, I feel like I’m in some amazing company.

This is just one of the reasons why I admire you so. You are the real deal. You don’t just do the sexy stuff, the things that other adults admire (like creating recipes, writing cookbooks, having your food in magazines) those things are great. They make a career. But you also do the things behind the scenes that make all the difference, that Izzy will remember her whole life. That means something. That is even bigger than creating a recipe.

You really are my hero.

Kim

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Abby Dodge March 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

And all this loveliness from a woman who can cure meat!!!! Seriously.. something I can’t begin to imagine let alone doing..
Seriously.. I adore all your posts about cooking with kids – in the classroom (which I used to do when A & T were young) and at home. As I said.. we all do it differently but thank goodness we do it! For me.. my time in the kitch with my Mom shaped my life in so many more ways than she .. or even me – could have ever imagined. Proves, once again, that the future is ever-open and expanding by the minute. Thx for your kind words & back at you. A

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Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids) March 8, 2011 at 1:11 am

This is a beautiful post. I, too, adore Kim and Jennifer…I love the creativity in the kitchen when kids are involved. My daughter created on of our favorite recipes – and the memory of the experience is just as delicious as the meal itself.

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Abby Dodge March 8, 2011 at 8:42 am

Thank you so much.. Kim and Jennifer are gorgeous women with gigantic hearts & both are raising wonderful families. And, you are so right.. The memory is just as wonderful (maybe more so?) than the actual meal!

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Lana March 8, 2011 at 1:19 am

Abby, I let my College Kritter learn following her own pace and taste. I stifled my impatience, bit my tongue, and stopped my hands every time they reached to correct. She sends me photos on iPhone of every meal she makes, and she is only 19:) My younger Beasties are in the kitchen with me constantly, and I call upon my inner zen to be cal, patient, and composed. Again. Hoping that one day they’ll proudly send me the photos of their culinary accomplishments.
Thanks you, so much, for awakening the memories of long lost afternoons with my mother. I just wish that I had spent more time with her in the kitchen, instead of chasing “higher dreams”:)

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Abby Dodge March 8, 2011 at 8:40 am

I’m a big believer in Quality over Quantity.. sounds like you spent the time in just the right way.. ‘sides.. there’s still time!

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Richard A March 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Super cute pics, Abs, and very nice to reminisce about your Mom, who was always very nice to this interloper. I just brought my own Mom (Eve) some of your ‘scrip brownies to her new digs, a nursing home 6 miles from my house, and you wouldn’t believe how her eyes lit up! Ah, the power of chocolate! Btw, my sons are more into baking right now than my own Izzy, who at age 12 is a bit preoccupied with ‘crushes’ of the week.

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Paula March 9, 2011 at 12:27 am

My oldest grand-daughter is seven and we have spent many fun hours baking in my kitchen. Soon her little sister will be old enough to join us (she’s 17 mos). Nothing really adds flavour to food more than love and baking with someone you love guarantees delicious results (even it it’s not *perfect*) Your photos are beautiful and the memories you are making are priceless. I’ve had your book for a few months now and you know, I still haven’t baked these Nutella Brownies yet!

P.S. a dropped egg on the floor still grosses me out and you won’t believe the amount of paper towel I use to scoop it up with.

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Josephine Wallace March 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Dutchess! This made me cry, bringing back memories of long ago days and humid afternoons spent melting butter and adding brown sugar. loved this piece.

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Kristen March 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Such a passion of mine and so important for kids… great post, Abby!

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Crystal March 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

This recipe is amazing!!! I chose this recipe for the fact that it was only 4 ingredients & also the fact that I am not a good cook. But I perfected these, & now my fiance wants me to bake all the time, scary, but fun! I love the 4 ingerdients!Thanks!

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Sara @CaffeIna April 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm

I’ve just tried these nutella brownies. I’ll be making them tomorrow with a 6-year-old baker. I’m sure she will love them too!

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Abby Dodge April 10, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I know she’ll love them.. what’s not to love? Let me know what she decides to “switch-in’ – it’s always the fun part!!

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Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal September 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Hi Abby, I tried this recipe couple of days ago and blogged about it today. I loved it and the best thing is that it just has 4 ingredients. I am hooked on to your blog now :)

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Abby Dodge September 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Thanks so much! I just gave your post a Twitter shout out!

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Natasha March 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Hi Abby!
I LOVE your Nutella brownies. I love them so much I have made about 5 or 6 different versions of them, with fillings and adaptations, on my blog.
Thank you SO much for your recipe, you have actually changed my life! :-)
Natasha

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Abby Dodge March 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

Love all your versions of my little Nutella Fudge Brownies from “Desserts 4 Today”!

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