The Boarding School Brownie


I spent seven very happy and entirely sugar dependent years at boarding school.

Last weekend I went back to my old school for Seniors’ Day. At such events Seniors are meant to look back fondly and realise that school made them who they are today. That experience was certainly true for me.

As I approached the school last Saturday the first thing I saw was a girl crossing the school grounds eating a break time cookie. If she knew what was good for her she probably had one stashed in her hoodie too. Boarding school made me the baking obsessive I am today; I suppose this blog was born there.

In those days, blissfully unconscious about our appearance and living in a bubble, we marched to the tune of Cake, Chocolate and Pudding- in no particular order, every single day. I loved it.

Some of us used to stalk the night watchman to elicit extra night time chocolate (he had access to a secret chocolate stash). Looking back I feel bad that I don’t remember anything about the night watchman: he was a mere vessel for chocolate and we exploited him shamelessly.

By the sixth form we were skilled at opening lessons with the line ‘we’re just not going to be able to do any work unless you get us some biscuits/ chocolate/cake’. Teenage pregnancy was never going to be a problem for us. As one friend commented: ‘I’m surprised they didn’t have to roll us down the drive at the end of our seven years’. I can’t think of a single one of us who isn’t significantly slimmer and healthier today.

Last weekend we sat in the manicured grounds eating a picnic and reminiscing. I was surprised by how many girls were out practising sport voluntarily. Why weren’t they sat on their beds reading Heat magazine and eating biscuits? Or focussing on becoming word perfect to Blue: One Love?



This brownie recipe hails from our school cookbook and was contributed by the school Chaplain. Unsurprisingly, weekly religious meetings became very popular when a batch of these were promised. They carry an almost legendary status within the school, which is why they were my contribution to the picnic last Saturday.

This is my go-to brownie recipe. These can be whipped up no problem at 10pm after half a bottle wine.

I love this recipe for its simplicity. Measurements are in imperial, it is four lines long and there are no time guidelines. Old school.

The Boarding School Brownie

5oz dark chocolate
4oz butter
8oz caster sugar
4oz self raising flour
2 eggs
5oz chocolate, cut into chunks (white is a winner)

Melt the butter and chocolate. Add all the other ingredients and mix. Spread out in a lined and buttered 8 inch square tin and cook at 180 degrees Celsius until just solid. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into squares.

*baking time is usually around 25 minutes.

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2 Responses to The Boarding School Brownie

  1. Tollhouse Girl says:

    One day I’m going to write a book called “Boarding School Gave Me an Eating Disorder” discussing the reliance on cakes, puddings and the tuck shop as well as an unhealthy addiction to toast and bizarre cornflake-topped apple concoctions.

  2. I will be your co-author if you want! I will write a chapter on dressing in balaclavas to steal sixth formers’ cakes and another one on chocolate toasties (as a regular 6th meal/ snack of the day).

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