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World Baking Day #pledgetobake chocolate brownies for someone special

May 17, 2014

Have you ever been invited to pledge to bake bake for someone special? I am sure you have baked for someone before, and witnessed the joy that something that you made with love and your own hands brought to someone else. I love doing that. As you all know my signature recipe is brownies….with a name like browniegirl it HAS to be! It gives me so much joy to see someone happy and uplifted because I have actually made something for them, with love. It is far more meaningful really than going to buy an “its the thought that counts” gift. That is why, when I Love Baking SA (proudly sponsored by Stork) sent me the challenge to make a pledge to bake for someone special for World Baking Day 2014 I accepted straight away. I signed up and was sent a pledge pack, which arrived via courier in a beautiful aqua polka dot  box.

When I opened up the box I knew we were in business. It contained everything from the brick of Stork Bake to the baking parchment, to the Le Creuset silicon spatula to mix it all together with. Eggs neatly wrapped in straw in little plastic tubes, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, flour, walnuts, vanilla, baking powder. Even the recipe I was to bake. I was now without excuse. My day had arrived and I was going to bake!

 

I just didn’t know who to bake for yet. I bake for my family all the time and they are so used to getting sweet treats so it had to be someone outside of my family circle. That was when I had a lightbulb moment and thought about a small group that I had only fairly recently become aware of……a group of elderly ladies living below the breadline in a building in the midst of our little town.  Almost a year ago now, 17 July to be exact, a care group was formed, under the leadership of a young man who has a hearts desire to assist these women with their plight. This man is Tone Alexander and the group was named The Pauline Loots Care Group in honour of one of the ladies who tragically took her life just the day before. I knew Pauline, as well I guess as Pauline would allow anyone to know her, but I never knew about her situation. Her death was an absolute tragedy and yet something so good has come out of that tragedy. The Pauline Loots Care Group, made up of Tone and a group of caring local people have taken these women, and the place where they live, under their collective wing. They have painted, renovated, begged for second hand fridges, stoves etc to make their living spaces homely and functional. Every second week someone cooks a meal for the ladies and this is served to them in the dining room and lounge that have been renovated out of storeroom space so that they have a little meeting place, a place where they can socialize and interact with one another, watch television and chat or read. A place where they don’t have to be lonely. Loneliness kills. Over and above all that the women cannot afford to buy all the monthly essentials for themselves so these are bought by members of the care group and delivered on the last Thursday of the month to a collection point. They are then made up into hampers to be handed out to each resident at dinner that night. These hampers would include stuff like toilet rolls, essential toiletries, cereal, tea, coffee, sugar, milk, cup a soup, tinned goods like tuna, sweetcorn, tomato and onion mix etc. marmite, bovril (dare one mention those two in the same sentence haha) peanut butter and other things that they would use. One other item needed is R50 electricity vouchers to help them get through the last few days of the month.

So then, to get back to the baking thing……. On Wednesday afternoon I got into brownie baking mode. I baked two batches of the brownies as I knew one batch would not be sufficient for the group. I used the recipe given to me and I was very happy when the brownies came out of the oven just perfectly…..crackly on the top and fudgy soft in the middle. A winner of a recipe!

Late Thursday afternoon Donald and I delivered the chocolate brownies that I baked to the Pauline Loots Care Group in Fish Hoek because I believe they deserve to have a little bit of love and sweetness in their lives. Donald bought a tub of ice cream on the way home from work and this, together with the delicious brownies, was served for dessert after the homecooked dinner. We were deeply touched to meet the residents of Clifton Parade in Fish Hoek. We were touched by their plight at this stage of their lives, and we were deeply touched by the amazing work that is being done by Tone Alexander and his amazing team who help these elderly women to live a more comfortable, dignified and happy life. It was wonderful to participate and interact and to meet these lovely old folk and to see the delight on their faces as they saw what was for dinner and for puds. Thank you Stork and I Love Baking SA for the opportunity to bake for someone else in need. It brought both Donald and I great pleasure to play a small part in bringing a bit of joy and sweetness on a cold, blustery very wet winters night into the lives of  these deserving souls.

For a while those lives have been made a little easier, a little happier, a little warmer, their bellies a little fuller, their hearts a little lighter….it is not a lot to ask and it is always good to remember that there, but by the grace of God, go I. It can happen in any of our lives that, for some reason, we are left destitute, with nothing and nowhere to turn to…..this team of caring people are making a MASSIVE difference in the lives of these people right here in our midst in our little village. Local folk can get involved by committing to donate the essentials mentioned once a month, or if you live further afield donations for electricity and other incidentals would be gratefully accepted. Or join the team and cook a meal for them every once in a while. You would be making a huge difference in the lives of beautiful women who have fallen on hard times for various reasons. It was such an honour to be there helping in a small way and we will definitely go back……

Here is the recipe for Chocolate Brownies as given to me by Stork SA

Makes 12 (I managed to get 16 adequate squares out of each batch)

Ingredients:

140g Milk Chocolate – broken into small pieces (I used dark chocolate)

130g Stork Bake – cut into cubes

3 Eggs

225g Sugar

5ml Vanilla Essence

40g Flour

25g Cocoa Powder

Pinch (about 2 1/2 ml) Salt

5ml Baking Powder

Method:

Preheat oven to 160deg Celcius

Spray the base and sides of  a square ovenproof dish and dust with flour. Line the base and sides with baking parchment and set aside

Melt the Stork Bake and the chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water or in a microwave (60% power for about 1 minute then stir until smooth) then set aside

In the bowl of an electric mixer whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla until the eggs are thick and pale

Pour in the still warm/hot melted chocolate mixture while whisking

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt over the mixture and fold in gently with the spatula – dont overbeat!

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top looks crackly. A skewer inserted will come out with a few crumbs attached indicating that it is still a bit moist in the middle. That is as it should be!

Allow to cool in the pan for about half an hour before cutting into 16 squares, cool completely on a wire rack and store in an airtight container

I dusted the tops with icing sugar and served each square with a scoop of ice cream but they are equally delicious with a spoonful of creme fraiche or mascarpone!

 

WHO ARE YOU GOING TO #PLEDGETOBAKE FOR? World Baking Day is on Sunday so haul out those baking ingredients and turn the oven on! Pop over here now and fill in the pledge form which will enable you to post a little card, tagging the one you want to shower with some love and sweetness, onto social media. 

 

Go out and make a difference in a life….make someone smile! Give them something to look forward to! It really is the easiest thing to do.

Have a great weekend,

Colleen

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 17, 2014 10:19 AM

    Colleen, thank you for sharing this moving story about hearts reaching out to other hearts. How sad to realise that there are desperate people living so close to us, when we so often imagine that they are only in the so-called poorer areas. But how equally wonderful to know that there are people who have gone further than “ag shame” and really made a tangible difference, not only to the lives of those they are helping, but to their own lives.Your describing this group of women as “beautiful” really touched me. I have been sitting (inactively) with an idea for reaching out to a group for a while now and reading this has prompted me to put the wheels in motion. Many blessings upon the beautiful ladies, the Pauline Loots Care Group and every individual who has ever chosen to look outwards and make a difference.

    • Colleen permalink*
      May 20, 2014 12:52 AM

      Hi Sandy, thank you so much for your lovely comment. It amazes me that I never heard about this little group of needy women until just under a year ago. It breaks my heart that they find themselves in this position now when they should be comfortable and taken care of. And I thank God for Tone and his team of helpers. They are doing an amazing job there. I wish you all the best with your project that you will be working on. May it bring you great joy and good quality of life to the group. Hugs and thank you again xx

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