One evening, Jasmine was allowed to stay over at Lucy’s house. They borrowed the ‘Princess Diaries’ DVD from the video shop, brought a duvet down from upstairs and sat snuggled up on the settee to watch the film.
It had only just started when their friend Freya arrived and so they budged up to make some room for her on the settee.
‘I’m here to ask a favour,’ she said pulling at the corner of the duvet. ‘You know I’m a Guide now? Well we’ve all been asked how we can help others in the community. And I thought I could help by teaching some of the Brownies how to cook.’
‘Great idea,’ said Lucy dragging the duvet back. ‘Excuse me, I’m not covered up anymore!’
‘Well neither am I,’ replied Freya indignantly.
‘I’m fine,’ said Jasmine, sat in the middle.
‘Well anyway. I thought perhaps you two could help. Your kitchen is bigger than ours and I thought we could make the shortbread you sell in the cafe.’
‘I’m tired of doing shortbread,’ said Jasmine. ‘And don’t ask me to do soup, because that went wrong the last time I did it.’
‘Oh yeah I heard about that. Sam Foxton told me that the chilli soup was delicious,’ said Freya.
‘DON’T mention his name to me,’ Jasmine snapped, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. ‘And don’t mention chilli soup!’
‘We’re not allowed to talk about that day,’ whispered Lucy to Freya. ‘She still gets really cross!’
For a few minutes the girls watched the film in silence, while they tried to think of something to say that did not involve shortbread, soup or Sam Foxton. Then Lucy had a great idea.
‘I know!’ Why don’t we make brownies! Chocolate brownies for the Brownies!’
‘Brilliant’, Freya grinned.
They were so cosy under the quilt watching the film that they decided to make the chocolate brownies the next day. Most of the ingredients were already in the cupboard – sugar, eggs, butter, flour. The only things they needed to buy extra was a big bar of dark chocolate, and a ‘Brownie’ tin, which they bought from the supermarket.
‘An ordinary baking tin is too big and too shallow,’ said Mum. ‘A brownie tin is square with deep sides.’
The brownies were really easy and fun to make. It was just a matter of melting the butter and chocolate and mixing in the other ingredients. When they came out of the oven, the smell was amazing and they tasted delicious!
‘I’ve died and gone to heaven,’ sighed Jasmine, savouring the last mouthful of brownie. ‘I can’t believe that something so delicious could be so easy to make. A perfect recipe for the Brownies’
‘There’s something I need to tell you about the Brownies,’ said Freya sheepishly. ‘Some of them can be a bit of a handful. Most of them are OK. I just hope we don’t get any of the really naughty ones to look after.’
‘How hard can it be to look after a few Brownies,’ Lucy scoffed. ‘With the three of us, this will be a walk in the park!’
The next day after school, Freya arrived with three Brownies in tow. Lucy and Jasmine had already got out all the ingredients and arranged them on the table. Lucy started to tell the Brownie’s about what they were going to cook.
‘Today,’ she began. ‘We’re going to make chocolate brownies, a type of chocolate cake that originated from America. These are the ingredients we will be using. Sugar, flour, butter and chocolate.’
‘CHOCOLATE!’ yelled the three Brownies together, and then leapt at the kitchen table to grab at the chocolate.
‘Brownies, get back!’ shouted Freya, while Lucy grabbed the bowl of chocolate and held it above her head. Freya and Jasmine managed to pull two of the Brownies, Lauren and Claudia back, while the littlest Brownie whose name was Isabel, continued to jump up to try and get the chocolate out of Lucy’s hand.
‘Brownies if you don’t behave you will go home,’ said Freya sternly. ‘Now apologise to Lucy!’
‘Sorry, Lucy’ the Brownies muttered, nudging each other.
‘Ok’ said Lucy. ‘Ok. Those are the ingredients. Now lets look at the equipment. These are Brownie pans. They are special trays that …’ Lucy stopped speaking, as she noticed that the Brownies were no longer listening, but giggling among themselves. ‘I’m sorry, but what’s funny?’
The Brownies continued to giggle and nudge each other.
‘I’m not starting again, until you stop giggling,’ said Lucy crossly.
The Brownies pushed Isabel forward. ‘Did you say Brownie pants?’ asked Isabel innocently, while the other two giggled behind her. ‘Pants,’ Isobel continued, ‘as in Knickers!’ At that all three Brownies fell about laughing. Lucy stared at Freya in amazement.
‘Are these the naughty ones?’ she asked.
‘I’m afraid so,’ Freya replied, shaking her head. ‘Its just our bad luck. Most of the others are ok, really.’
The girls decided to try and get things over with as soon as possible, and so after they had all washed their hands, the three little Brownies were set to work on breaking up the chocolate, melting the butter and weighing the flour and sugar. The Brownies had been given strict instructions not to eat any of the mixture however Jasmine thought she saw them licking the chocolatey spoon.
‘I hope you Brownies haven’t been eating the mixture,’ she said sternly.
All three Brownies solemnly shook their heads and replied ‘not me,’ even though each had faces and mouths covered in chocolate.
It felt like a miracle when the trays of mixture went into the oven and all that was left to do was wash and tidy the kitchen. The Brownies did more fighting than cleaning, and when a dish cloth hit Jasmine on the side of her face, she decided she had had enough.
‘Right,’ she yelled. ‘That’s it. Claudia, you stand in that corner. Lauren in the other, and Isabel stand by the door. You can stay there until you have learned to behave.’
To her surprise, the three Brownies did as they were told, though they all three had sulky faces.
After a few minutes, Jasmine stopped feeling so cross and felt sorry for the three girls stood in the corners of the kitchen.
‘You know, I bet you three have eaten so much mixture, I bet you don’t feel like eating any of these brownies.’
All three Brownies nodded sheepishly.
‘Well,’ said Jasmine. ‘We don’t we make some labels, and then when they are cool, we can wrap the brownies up and give them as presents.’
Everyone agreed this was a great idea. Jasmine found some felt tip pens and card, and she and the three Brownies sat around the kitchen quietly, creating labels for the cakes.
Isobel had the great idea to write ‘Brownies made by Brownies for You!’ and then on the other side, the girls wrote the name of the person they wanted to give the Brownies.
Soon the whole kitchen smelt of delicious chocolately baking and they knew the brownies were ready. Claudia helped Lucy to take them out of the oven and divide them up into squares. Once they were cool, they each wrapped four brownies up in greaseproof paper and tied them up with a pretty ribbon and a label.
‘Haven’t you done well,’ said Freya. ‘They look amazing!’
Isobel, Claudia and Lauren looked proudly at the presents they had made.
When Pam the guide leader arrived to see how Freya and the Brownies had done, she was very impressed.
‘Well done Brownies, and well done you Freya. Jasmine and Lucy, perhaps you would be willing to come to our Brownie meeting some time, and help the whole pack attain their cookery badges?’
‘No way!’ said Jasmine.
‘There’s no way of doing that at the minute,’ added Lucy hastily. ‘We are so busy.’
Jasmine and Lucy were both looking forward to the Brownies going. It had seemed a very long afternoon. But before they went, Isobel, Claudia and Lauren all insisted on giving them a big hug. ‘We’ve had a really fantastic time,’ said Isobel. ‘Thank you so much.’
When they had gone, the kitchen seemed very quiet. ‘Do you know what,’ said Lucy. ‘I quite miss them.’
‘ Yeah’ said Jasmine. ‘May be we should help them do their cookery badge.’ Then she stopped and thought.
‘Mind you. if three Brownies could cause that much mess and noise. What could a whole pack do!’