Half-Birthday Boy and Cookie Butter Crumble Topped Brownies.
Before I share this yummy cookie butter crumble topped brownie recipe with you, let me first tell you why we celebrate the half-birthdays of my “little” herd. It all began on April 15, 2003; the day Baby Kade turned 6 months old. Well, actually – it really began way back when Baby Kade was about 4 days old & since I haven’t told a good story in a while – what better way to tell a story than with a perfect brownie as the punch-line?!
When Kade was four days old, it was one of my favorite types of weather days: gray, misty, a moderate gusty breeze and there was that new chill in the air. Or at least that is what I imagined from within the walls of my hospital room.
I had earned a nice 5 day hospital stay due to a very emergent c-section ((oh, yes have I got a story about his birth – but that isn’t today’s story)) and by the middle of day 4, most of our guests had come and gone and Kade and I found ourselves alone in my room. It was a joy I had never known and I drank in that new baby smell sending me on a high I had not previously imagined possible.
I was a “good” first-time momma, having previously interviewed and selected a pediatrician for Kade while he was still cozy in my tum – but that pediatrician did not have privileges at our hospital. So, we were given the “luck” of the draw and received care from the on-call pediatrician.
It just so happened, I really came to like this doctor. Over our brief exchanges he had a habit of coming for check-ups early in the morning (4 am) and he ALWAYS changed Kade’s poop diapers. Need I say more??
But on that cold gray afternoon of day 4, something that doctor did changed my life. He called me on the hospital room phone from his office to share some findings he had discovered earlier and already had confirmed by a specialist. Baby Kade had a substantial heart murmur. The murmur was indicative of a moderate to large-sized hole in the wall separating to two lower chambers of the heart.
With those words, the walls in my happy heart fell into a countless number of pieces, the colors of the October sky outside my small hospital window crept boldly into my soul and I sank, deeply.
Strangely, that doctor’s presentation of difficult news to a first-time mom like myself made me love him. I cancelled the appointments with that other pediatrician I had meticulously chosen and instead attached myself to this doctor, who would almost 8 years later help diagnosis Gracie’s mysterious illness ((yes, another story – or three)).
I stayed in dark, deep places for months – it didn’t help that Kade’s pediatric cardiologist gave me clear instructions to avoid crowds, public, large groups of people who will want to hold and kiss him and most of all church. I was isolated and alone. I stayed home for the first Thanksgiving in my life.
I was sad and even the light of day was dark to me.
Time passed and spring came, my baby was giant and healthy and clearly thriving. With the passing of flu season and renewal of all things fresh and colorful, so were those dark, sad days disappearing. At Kade’s 6 month well check, our doctor gave me good reason to be hopeful and the cardiologist concurred. Although, we needed to see what Kade’s heart would look like at 2 and 5 years – it looked as though miraculous healing was taking place.
It was time to celebrate. Momma and baby survived the first 6 months of life! It was then that I learned what an accomplishment it is to make it through ((survive)) those early months. And with each baby that followed that celebration continued.
But, being the momma bear of four that I am, somewhere along the way I realized – life has enough “tear you down” days and not enough “hey, I think you are awesome and, to me, you are a special prize” days. So we made a whole herd decision to celebrate halves and wholes. That little act is a big-time cup-filler – oh how the kids love it.
We keep it simple, with a special dessert and one small-ish present – but lots of love and hugs and singing, of course.
“Happy Half-Birthday to you…” actually sounds pretty good!
If you haven’t noticed, I managed to make Brod’s half-birthday all about Kade, whose heart was given an all-clear ((without surgical repair)) at 5 years of age. Poor middle-child. At least, we sang to him and not to Kade.
Speaking of simple desserts, let me quickly tell you about one of my favorites: homemade brownies. Brownies are my “thing”. I can whip them up in almost less time than it takes to open a boxed mix, really – I am speedy!
I always like to make the brownies with a twist. Somehow plain brownies are just too, well — plain.
My twist for this occasion was to mix 1½ c of powdered sugar with about 1 c of crunchy cookie butter.
Simply stir these 2 ingredients to combine, creating a cookie crumble. I will warn you – don’t start tasting this, it can cause uncontrolled pants-tightening.
Sprinkle the crumble over the brownie batter and bake.
Although I didn’t get the best photo ((because it was dark outside by the time we celebrated)), I think you get the idea that these were SO VERY GOOD.
And now you know the long-version of our half-birthday traditions. Oh, and how to make some mad brownies, well – actually they are happy brownies… Happy Half-Birthday Brownies to be exact.
- 1 1/3 sticks butter, partially melted (I used salted)
- 1 1/2 c pure cane sugar
- 1 T vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 t kosher salt
- 8 heaping T cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 1 c crunchy (or smooth) cookie butter
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9" x 7" ((smaller rectangle size)) glass baking dish with parchment and spray with a non-stick flour blend spray. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Next, stir in the vanilla, eggs & salt. Whisk until the eggs are completely incorporated. Add the cocoa powder, stirring until no lumps remain and the powder is well combined. Last, add the flour, gently stirring but taking care not to completely combine the flour into the batter*. Leaving a few pockets and traces of flour keeps the brownie batter from getting overworked (which leads to tough brownies).
- Spread the brownie batter into the bottom of the lined and prepared baking dish.
- Mix the powdered sugar and cookie butter until combined. Pour the crumble mixture over the uncooked brownies, evenly. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 38-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool 10-20 minutes before serving.