Cazuela of Spokane, Washington created this recipe during the Presidential Election of 2008 as a way of sharing a Victory with co-workers, hence the name. According to Cazuela, the Hazelnuts are the “star of the show” but walnuts may be used instead. I’ve never figured out if these co-workers were all rooting for the same result; or if the “heat” was like a Victory Touch Down Dance.
Years ago, before there was a Hubby and a Kiddo in my life, my roommates and I canvassed a neighborhood to “get out to vote” on election night. We came upon a woman who was a new American citizen – and this was her first election. She truly wanted to vote. The problem was that she had gone into labor. She believed God had sent us to her. Maybe – all I wanted to do was to get her to the hospital – after all, she was giving birth! She wanted to vote first and the fact that we were providing rides for people to vote had to be a God send. I can’t believe we actually stopped for her to vote BEFORE taking her to the hospital. And just for the record, she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.
Victory Brownies makes me think of another time in history and our Victory Gardens. These gardens were an effort by private citizens to “do their part” during WWI. As a result of the war, many agricultural workers in Europe were pressed into military service and farms were transformed into battlefields. The result was a severe food crisis. The burden of feeding millions of starving people across Europe fell mainly to the United States and Canada. To do so would have caused shortages at home, and so governments encouraged their citizens to utilize all idle land not already engaged in agricultural production. This included residential property, schools, businesses, parks or any available vacant lots. Posters called civilians to “Sow the Seeds of Victory” by planting their own vegetables. The Federal Bureau of Education even created a U.S. School Garden Army to mobilize children to enlist as “soldiers of the soil”. So great was this movement that gardens actually produced a surplus of food, and canning was all the rage. Shortly after the United States was drawn into WWII, victory gardens began to reemerge as commercial crops were once again diverted to the military overseas. With the introduction of food rationing in the spring of 1942, Americans had an even greater insensitive to grown their own fruits and vegetables. Even Flower Boxes and apartment rooftops became gardens. Eleanor Roosevelt even planted a victory garden on the White House Lawn. In just a few days, it will be the 7th of December. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could plant victory gardens again? This time, not to support a war effort but to declare victory over hunger. Food for thought . . .
I will confess, I love vegetable gardens, but I love sweets even more!
Victory Brownies with Heat
2 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 (1 oz) square semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 8-inch square baking pan; set aside.
Melt unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and butter in a saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in brown sugar, white sugar, and honey; mix until sugar is dissolved. Beat in eggs, a little at a time.
Add flour, salt, baking powder, vanilla, hazelnuts, cayenne pepper, and orange zest. Stir until blended well and mixture is glossy.
Pour batter evenly into pan. Bake until the surface looks dry and a toothpick inserted in the center has just a film of chocolate on it, 30 to 40 minutes.
Cool on a rack about 12 minutes and cut into squares while still warm.