Bingham’s Candy Store – kids eat free!

Nancy and Don Bingham’s granddaughter, Anna Claire Faulkner, sits among the goodies at Nino and Nanna’s Candy Shop, where kids eat free. (Mike Kemp photo)

Nancy and I are two of those “extremists” at the holidays – Thanksgiving and Christmas! Each year our plan is to gear down, simplify, declutter and de-stress, but the delight of church, home and family all seem to captivate us and nothing is simple. I know you understand what I am talking about!

One thing we do try to do is bake ahead and freeze. Not only is there planned company, but drop-in company is always a possibility as well. With many of the 12 grandchildren old enough to drive, they will often show up when they have a few minutes to spare before their next deadline or meeting, so it’s great to have things on hand all season long.

One of our favorite areas in our home is the “candy store.” It’s located in the kitchen, on top of an antique sideboard. On it we display a sign that lists all 12 grandchildren’s names with the proclamation that this is Nino and Nanna’s Candy Store, and kids eat free! Admittedly, it’s all non-nutritional, heart-clogging and diabetically hazardous, and it’s an apparel-tightening nightmare. But after all, ’tis the season!

One of our favorite treats is called Outrageous Brownies. They have lots of ingredients and may be a slight bit more costly to produce, but the rewards are amazing! They are great year-round and seem to have an extra appeal during Christmas! Enjoy!

Outrageous Brownies

1 pound unsalted butter

1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

6 extra large eggs

3 tablespoons instant coffee granules

2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1 baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound of the chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow it to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with ¼ cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly; refrigerate and cut into 20 large squares.

Don Bingham
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