The Life of a BYU Mint Brownie

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It’s springtime on campus again, which means the flowers are in bloom, the snow is finally melting off the mountains and thousands of women are gathering to be inspired and receive instruction at Women’s Conference.

For BYU Dining Services, their interpretation of the theme, “And They Were Armed with Righteousness and with the Power of God in Great Glory,” means it is time to bake hundreds of pounds of mint brownies, an integral part of the Women’s Conference experience.

“There is a lot of tradition with the mint brownies,” said Sugar n’ Spice employee Marie Braginton.

For the brownie, the moment of satisfaction comes when it is passed over the counter or when it is revealed to new surroundings as the box lid squeaks open in the final phase of a journey across BYU campus.

The journey begins north of University Parkway at Central Receiving where stacks of dry goods are assembled atop pallets in the warehouse. From this warehouse, the bags of sugar, cocoa and flour await their transfer over to the kitchens in the Culinary Support Center.

From there, it’s a quick drive for the ingredients to the Culinary Support Center, home of Executive Pastry Chef Fernanda Dutra and her crew of cooks.

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This kitchen is where the brownies are born
Wrapped in white chef coats and surrounded by state-of-the-art equipment, these chefs are responsible for the thousands of brownies that will be delivered to campus for Women’s Conference.

The demand for the brownies requires advanced preparation at every level of Dining Services, from pre-ordering extra supplies to scheduling extra shifts.

“We base each year’s production off of last years’ numbers, but we are always a little bit short it seems,” Dutra said.

While the official recipe is confidential, Dudra was willing to share the amount of dry goods required to make enough brownies.

“We’ll use around 300 pounds of cocoa, 500 pounds of flour, and 970 pounds of sugar this week,” Dudra said. “We’re making a lot of batter.”

The kitchen is armed with an 180 quart mixing bowl, and a full batch of brownies uses every pint. Each batch of brownie batter produces enough dough for 30 sheets, with a 40 individual brownies capacity per sheet.

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This mixing bowl holds enough brownie batter for 30 sheets of brownies
“We freeze them so they are as good as fresh,” Dudra said. “There’s no way we could make enough brownies the day-of, but freezing them keeps the brownies at peak condition before we deliver them.”

Once conference begins, the brownies are trundled onto trucks and shipped down to campus, where students get ready to deliver a piece of tradition to their welcoming and waiting audience.

“We’re pretty busy throughout the day, and we get rushes during meals,” Braginton said. “We’re even open on Saturday so people can get a last-minute brownie before going home.”

Braginton will be working her sixth Women’s Conference this spring, and she has enjoyed the experience.

“Selling them makes people happy,” she said. “They’ve been in classes all day, waiting in line, and when you hand them that brownie, you can just see them get so excited. The women just really like how they taste, and they always ask for the recipe.”

So whether your piece of BYU tradition comes in a box, shrink-wrapped or is going to be carried home for family, take time to appreciate the significance of the BYU brownie. They really are as good as they look.

 

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Saige Stratford of Portland, Ore., and Kaylee Jensen, of Nashville, Tenn., enjoying a piece of BYU tradition

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