The Care Package of the Magi

On Monday, all smug with redundantly doomed parental pride, I shipped off a smartly bundled care package for my youngest son.

The source of my pride lay not in the homemade goodies or the precise content layout within the package, but in the fact that I sent it at all.

I don’t mail things. My home is a postal graveyard full of sincere thank you notes written with fat little hands and addressed with adult intention, greeting cards perfect for occasions long past, and spontaneous purchases meant for specific and now forgotten recipients.

Cursed with USPSaphobia, I bless email every day.

But Monday, for my son, I mailed a package.

He called me about an hour later…to tell me he was coming home for Mother’s Day.

Sweet, right?

My care package full of baked goods that would have tasted so much better fresh out of the oven will arrive on his doorstep roughly 36 hours before he comes home.

My particular pride in a sweet treat I invented just for this occasion seems kind of silly now, but I’ll brag a little just the same.

Every game day during Vinnie’s high school football years, I bought him a king sized Take Five candy bar, which I purchased at the gas station around the corner from my house. I used exact change every time because I am a superstitious nut.

So, because I arrived all sweaty and out of breath to his excellent Fundamentally Sound concert last week, and because I had to leave immediately after it, and because he cheerfully sent me on my way and gave me four beautiful cupcakes for the road, I made him a special treat, carefully designed to be packaged, mailed and unwrapped intact.

I call them Take Five brownies. Enjoy.

Take Five Brownies

Preheat oven to 350

Grease 13 x 9 x 2 pan (or the weird brownie pan the pushy guy at the cooking store sold a sweet, gullible member of your family)

2/3 cup cocoa

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

1 teaspoons vanilla

Peanut Butter Frosting

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup milk

16 caramel Hershey Kisses

16 pretzels

Mix oil and sugar until blended. Add eggs and vanilla. Combine cocoa, salt, flour and baking powder in separate bowl. Combine dry ingredients with wet ingredients.

Pour into prepared pan. Push one Hershey Caramel kiss per brownie into the raw batter. Bake for 25 minutes or until the sides of the brownies pull away from the pan.

Remove from oven and cool completely if using a normal baking pan.

If using frustrating brownie pan, remove individual brownies while still warm and then let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare peanut butter frosting. Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, milk and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add the milk a little at a time because you may not need the whole quarter-cup.

Frost the brownies and place one pretzel per brownie on top of the frosting. Slice and serve if using a regular pan.

Whisk the dry ingredients before you add them to the wet ones.
Whisk the dry ingredients before you add them to the wet ones.
Then bring them together as one. Can I get an Amen!
Then bring them together as one. Can I get an amen!
After you panstakingly spoon the brownie batter into these individual cups (or just pour the batter into a 13x9x2 pan), you can push individual caramel kisses into the batter.
After you painstakingly spoon the brownie batter into these individual cups (or just pour the batter into a 13x9x2 pan), you can push individual caramel kisses into the batter. I over-filled most of these squares. My bad.
Once the brownies are completely cooled, you can generously frost them.
Once the brownies are completely cooled, you can generously frost them.
I put a pretzel on top of each one to keep it from sticking to the top of the container. When I bake these at home I will add crumbled pretzels on top the frosting instead.
I put a pretzel on top of each one to keep it from sticking to the top of the container. When I bake these at home I will add crumbled pretzels on top the frosting instead.
Among the goodies is a loaf of Molly's cherry almond bread and a homemade trailmiz concoction.
Among the goodies is a loaf of Molly’s cherry almond bread and a homemade trailmix concoction.
Back in the days when I was a football mom, I bought Vinnie a game day candy bar for good luck.
Back in the days when I was a football mom, I bought Vinnie a game day candy bar for good luck.

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