Payne’s Pantry: Mother-in-law’s 1947 Brownies

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, October 25, 2017

By Anne Payne

My late mother-in-law, Loree “Larry” (Sparks) Payne, originally of Brady, Texas, but she lived most of her life in Sulphur Springs, Texas, was a gourmet cook!  She had 4 children, the first three in 3 1/2 years with my husband David as the oldest and only male, followed by #4 baby when David was 10.  She sewed most of her daughters’ clothes, played bridge, solved crossword puzzles like Daniel Webster would, and cooked passionately. I do not want to forget to say that She graduated from Texas Woman’s University in Mathematics at the top of her class.  She and my late father-in-law, Thomas Jefferson Payne, were married a little over 50 years when she passed in 1998.  I want to share a special brownie recipe that the entire family still cherishes, “Larry” Payne’s 1947 made-from-scratch brownies.

1947 Retro Brownies

by Loree “Larry” Payne


Baker’s Choice bakespray

8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 12″ Pan

2 cups Sugar

4 1/2 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 1/3 Sticks Margarine

3 Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla

1 cup All-Purpose Flour

1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans


Grease and flour or spray brownie pan with baking spray.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt margarine in microwave or on low heat on stove.

Set aside.

Mix sugar and cocoa well in large bowl.  Add melted and cooled margarine and eggs, adding eggs one at a time, to dry mixture. Then, add vanilla.  Next,

add flour, mixing everything together very well by hand.  Finally, fold-in finely chopped pecans.

Spread thick mixture evenly into pan.  Bake for 36-38 minutes.  Allow brownies to cool before cutting. When completely cool, store brownies in sealed bag to prevent dryness and to keep moist.

My mother-in-law started making these brownies for my father-in-law as a young bride when they married in 1947, and she continued baking them through several businesses he shared with his brothers in Hopkins County, such as Payne Butane, mini warehouses, real estate, Payne Welding, etc.