Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brownie Hubris

Today, my last day home in Colorado for fall break, is the day of the church chile cookoff. The three categories for judging are chile, cornbread, and brownies. Christopher and I are three-time winners for our "Scrumptious Cream Cheese Brownies" in the brownie competition, the undefeated champions. Actually, the first year of the cookoff the brownies were not actually judged for a prize, but everyone agreed that if brownies HAD been judged, we would have won.

So a lot is at stake for us this year as we defend our title.

But then I fell prey to brownie hubris. I decided to submit, in addition to our award-winning cream cheese brownies, a new kind of brownie as well. I found a recipe online for s'mores brownies: graham cracker bottom crust, then brownies on top of that, then a marshmallow topping with little bits of broken graham crackers and broken Hershey bars sprinkled in.

I felt like Mary Lou Retton, who after scoring an unprecedented 10 in the first of her best-of-two-tries on her Olympic vault, ran back and did a completely unnecessary second try and scored a second 10. Would there be a two-way tie in the brownie category this year, between Claudia and . . . Claudia?

No. Hubris proved for me, as for so many others, a tragic flaw. When I put the s'mores brownies under the broiler for a minute or two so that the marshmallows could brown, instead, in a few SECONDS, the marshmallows burst into flame. My oven was engulfed with fire.

As my adoring audience stood gaping, I called 911 and the fire fighters arrived. By that time, the fire was out, the marshmallows just ashes. No permanent damage was done to my kitchen. But the s'mores brownies had to be removed from competition.

I'm off now to frost the cream cheese brownies, a wiser and humbler baker. And maybe this year it IS someone else's turn to win.


  1. I'm sorry to report that your prediction was correct. :( The brownie competition was won by Billy's "Super Awesome Ninja Brownies". In my opinion their name had an unfair influence upon the judging panel of middle school students.

    I'm also terribly disappointed that I only got to eat one very small Scrumptious Cream Cheese Brownie. I don't know how I will be able to wait until next October to get another.

  2. Thanks for being brave enough to be the bearer of the sad news, Scott. I hope it is not too unsportsmanlike on my part to think that middle schoolers might also have been inclined to vote for brownies created by a fellow middle schooler. But I will persist with offering scrumptious cream cheese brownies once again next fall, with another try at s'mores brownies as well!