Aunt Barbara’s Brownies

Uncle Lowell 1928-2012

My husband lost one of his dear uncles the other day.  Our family shared some wonderful times and accumulated many great memories with this great man and his wife at their lake home, at Christmas Cove, over the years.  When our kids were young, we would travel down a long, dirt road to arrive at their lake house where we were greeted with smiles, great food and the best hospitality you could find.  My kids will tell you they remember Aunt Barbara’s Oreo Cookie dessert, aka Dirt Pudding.  My husband will tell you his favorite was Aunt Barbara’s delicious brownies.  Ask my daughter about a memory at the lake house and she will tell you she remembers the long walks Aunt Barbara and her, along with me, took around the circle while the guys were out fishing on the lake.  I have fond memories of sitting on the swing, by the lake house, overlooking the beautiful waters of  the Lake of the Ozarks.  Our times at the lake happened many years ago and time together decreased over the years due to our busy lifestyles, but Steve and his uncle  remained close.  Steve’s aunt and uncle often stopped by my husband’s workplace to see him, share a story, ask about all of us and/or share  goodies (brownies included).   When many people stopped sending Christmas cards, Steve and I could always count on receiving one from Uncle Lowell and Aunt Barbara…many times their card was the first to arrive each year. The card didn’t have their names alone, but a sweet, loving note and an invite to stop by and see them anytime we were in town.  I hope you enjoy Aunt Barbara’s delicious brownies as much as my husband and all of us do!  She always made hers without frosting, but on this particular day I was in the mood for my chocolate sheet cake frosting on top of warm brownies, so here you go!

Melt oleo and chocolate over medium heat.

Stir until oleo and chocolate are combined. Remove from heat.

Add sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and stir until combined.

Add chopped nuts and mix until frosting is smooth. Pour batter into pan and bake according to directions.


Aunt Barbara’s Brownies

(Printable Copy)

2 sticks oleo
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×12 baking pan.  Melt oleo and chocolate over medium heat.  Remove from heat and add sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in flour and add chopped nuts.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Cool and slice.  

Chocolate Frosting

(Printable Copy)

1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
6 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
In a medium saucepan, melt butter on low heat.  Add cocoa powder and stir and warm until combined.  Remove from heat.  Add and stir in milk and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Stir in pecans.  Pour frosting over cooled brownies.  Let set for a least an hour before slicing brownies.  

Missouri Farm Chick notes… Oleo is the same thing as margarine.  These brownies are great with or without frosting.  Store brownies in a air-tight container.  When preparing frosting, you may need more or less powdered sugar.  You want a nice, easy-to-pour frosting.  It’s your call!



  1. I haven’t heard it called Oleo in a long, long time. My mother’s recipes would have called for it. I wonder if butter would work as well?

    These brownies look fantastic. Aunt Barbara’s brownies will live on!

  2. I love the stories that go with the recipes. Funny how food can “stir up” so many memories. I will always associate chocolate sheet cake with our family’s 4th of July celebrations. It was a tradition in our home, and a cake my mom loved to bake. I like your new design!

  3. I know what you mean about ‘oleo’ Maureen… When I share an older recipe that has oleo in the ingredients, I always debate on whether or not to change this word to margarine or butter. I do think margarine would work better than real butter, but give butter a try and share your results. Thank you for your post! I just dropped in at your blog…yum! I will spend some more time there soon!