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Baking with Heart: HHS’s Sugar and Sweets Diva

Emily McConnell, Junior Staff Writer

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peeled and coredShe is at it again! If it’s Wednesday, the HHS Baking Diva Mrs. Mary-Mathews Bebech has crafted something scrumptious. This time I’m being coached at the sugar-and-sweets lesson, and as with all of her other desserts, this Swedish Apple Pie turned out to be nothing short of pure perfection. (Although it may be second only to her highly acclaimed, triple-fudge brownies!)

This past week I had the pleasure of stepping into Mrs. Bebech’s kitchen to learn how the magic unfolds. I found that she bakes with nothing but the best, Eggland’s Best that is, and she doesn’t believe in, “…bak[ing] with sugar free anything.”   “I’m basically a purist,” she laughs quietly under her breath as she pulled out the flour and sugar. So started our adventure.

The filling consists of four Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut. One tablespoon of sugar and a “Rachael Ray” dash of cinnamon for the apples. Now for the crust, “…that’s not really a crust, but it’s better,” she explains.  Then we add three-fourths cups of melted butter and “one cup of sugar, enough to kill anyone,” she chuckles merrily.  To this we add one cup of flour and one Eggland egg.  To push it over the edge just a bit, we throw in one-half cup of chopped nuts. All of this wonderment is stirred together by hand and placed over top of the expectant apples. Mrs. Bebech moves all this deftly into an oven for 45 minutes, and we have time for an interview.

Mrs. Bebech always loved to bake, she explains. Although she didn’t grow up in a household that got desserts often, she enjoyed creating them because people simply loved sweets. And “good gravy!” People do love them! Years before moving up from the middle school into the high school, Mrs. Bebech would, “…always make whatever the students wanted for their birthday. But one day the school said I wasn’t allowed anymore, she complained. It stinks, because everyone deserves to be celebrated on his or her birthday,” she exclaimed.

When she moved into the high school though she said that at first the transition felt, “awkward and lonely.” So as a compromise, “I started baking when I moved to the high school. It got the teachers to talk to my students. And now I bake muffins every Wednesday!” Every faculty, administrator and staff member loves that day.

The minute I asked her if she had ever wanted to own a bakery, I learned how truly selfless a person Mrs. Bebech was.  Her response left me awestruck, “Of course not,” she stated. “It’s a fun pastime, but I always knew I wanted to work with children with exceptionalities.” So if you have never had Mrs. Bebech’s baking, now rest assured of two things: one, her sweets are debatably the best you will ever have; and two, she truly is baking with heart.

Oh! And when asked what dessert is her favorite, her response was so charming, “I’m not really a baked goods person, which sounds funny… I really like ice cream!”

pie

Bebech Triple Fudge Brownies:

Batter:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can (16 oz) chocolate syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts /or/ ¾ cup chocolate chips of chunks

Frosting:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

1) In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate syrup and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts (or chips/chunks).

2) Pour into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 335 for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

3) For frosting, combine the sugar, milk and butter in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat’ boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add chocolate chips; stir or whisk for 5 minutes or until smooth. Spread over brownies.

 

 

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Baking with Heart: HHS’s Sugar and Sweets Diva