Since hearing that one of my friends from high school was battling end-stage cancer (her second go-round) I’ve been finding myself indulging in the past, including watching reruns of Friends from start to finish.
I have this vivid picture of Linnea in her cheerleading uniform on the field after a football game ended her face awash in muted sadness. In the first week of our senior year of high school, a bunch of us girls, and I mean a bunch, met at Linnea’s house, sprawled across her living room floor and used puffy paint to write “We Eat Frosh” on the front of plain white t-shirts and “Seniors/Class of ’97” on the back. When I learned it was inevitable Linnea was going to lose her battle with cancer, I thought back to all the good clean mischievous fun we got into in high school and wondered what we would have done differently if we had had a crystal ball and knew Linnea would be gone 25 years later.
I can’t remember the last time I saw Linnea. I haven’t lived in my home state for more than a decade and the older I got, the less I was able to “keep up” with what was once a long list of high school friends. I currently speak to three of them; one regularly (as of recently), two every so often. I know this is not abnormal, but when one of your good friends from high school dies from cancer at 42 you suddenly take stock of your life. You wonder when you stopped talking to her and why. And, if you’re like me, you take inventory of all relationships that flamed out over the decades.
My friend Heather is the friend who broke the news about Linnea. A few weeks ago when Linnea went into hospice, we spent the evening bawling on the phone together from across the miles. Continuing in my past life indulgence, I decided to remake these brownies. Conveniently, I had all of the ingredients on hand. But really I was craving the memory of a happier time. Not coincidentally, Heather is the friend I reference below in what I wrote about these brownies back in 2010:
I was first introduced to these mint brownies in high school. Since my friend first made them for me nearly 17 years ago, I have since incorporated them into my annual Christmas cookie repertoire. (They were a huge hit in the office last Christmas.) The best part about this recipe is that it’s super easy. It’s perfect for Christmas time because you make the brownies in three steps, and in the downtime in between the steps I can get other recipes going.
Recently I made these before my big road trip accompanying my friend who first introduced them to me across the country. This recipe is widely published on the internet (where I found it!), but I’ve added my own unique twist by doubling the filling and icing ingredients and adding a special garnish. The result? Pure decadence.
R.I.P. Linnea Harrington 2021.
- 1 can Hershey’s syrup (15 oz)
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 4 eggs
- 1 c. flour
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 c. butter
- 4 T. milk
- 1 to 2 tsp. mint (or peppermint) extract
- Green food coloring (I used gel, about 20 drops)
- 4 c. powdered sugar
chocolate icing ingredients.
- 1 c. butter
- 12. oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- For brownie: Mix ingredients well using a mixer. Bake 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes in greased jelly roll pan. Refrigerate 20 minutes or until cool.
- For filling: Mix ingredients well and spread over brownie mixture. Refrigerate 20 minutes more.
- For chocolate icing: Melt ingredients in microwave. Spread carefully over green or layer. Refrigerate until chocolate is set. Sprinkle with chopped Andes Candies garnish if desired.