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Today's Case

Magic Mommy Brownies

Subject: Magic Mommy brownies
From: Jonathan
Date: 10/16/2019, 3:35 PM

On 10/16/2019 2:35 PM, Jonathan wrote:


My sister and I (and the whole family) loved Magic Mommy brownies in the 80's 
and were wondering what happened to them.

Upon searching the web, I came across your website (as the sole source!) with 
a chain of information on these brownies.

While I trust the more local Kingston news articles listed on such, have you been 
able to find any tv news item on them (as someone in the chain had posted, or is 
this just further misinformation?)?

Please keep us posted; thanks.


Hi Jonathan,

I did a complete new search today, but I could only find one item about the Karpes and Magic Mommy that I had not found before. There is a book called "Parsons Bread Book" that has an article about the bakery in its heyday, with photos. No recipes. See page 34 here:  Parsons Bread Book

As for television, I imagine that item on Channel 7 was just a brief evening news item. I could not find any other mention of any tv news items about the subject.


The "Magic Mommy" saga from 2012 bears repeating. See below. Kenneth Karpe and Robin (Elaine Herzog) were married in 1966. The State of New York marriage license record is online:
Karpe, Kenneth married a bride named Elaine Herzog in the year 1966 on license number 30875 issued in Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.A

Kenneth Lee Karpe was a well-known jazz promoter and producer in NYC. He died in 2003, his obituary is here: NY Times :

"Paid Notice: Deaths   
Karpe, Kenneth Lee "KK."
Dec. 21, 2003

Karpe--Kenneth Lee ''KK.'' On November 28. Writer, architect, designer, innovator, 
Magic Mommy founder and loving producer of jazz. "Beloved companion Sheba, children 
Koz, Randi, Wendi and Debi, grandchildren, niece Daniele, nephew Gregory, cousins, 
dear friends and jazz brethren cherish his ever-expanding heart of love, laughter, 
music and dreams. Unforgettable."

The Magic Mommy story seems a sad story to me. Despite the rumors, I think that the idea they put hashish in the brownies is questionable. They certainly would not have been able to sell them in health food stores in New York City if they contained cannabis in any form. The "Magic Mommy" bakery site wasn't a commune, according to people who visited it. The Karpes lived there with their children, not commune members. The lawsuit against "Magic Mommy" appears to have come about because of a dispute with their mortgage holder, the woman who foreclosed on the land that the bakery and their home was on, but it appears the brownies were still being made into the 1980s. Perhaps the issue was resolved or the bakery was moved elsewhere. At any rate, Magic Mommy's does not seem to have continued into the 1990s. Too bad, the brownies appear to have been magically delicious, even without any hashish. As for the recipe, I suppose the only possibility might be one of the Karpe's children.



-----Original Message----- 
From: Beth
Sent: Monday, September 03, 2012 2:25 PM
Subject: Recipe for Magic Mommy Brownies

Hi Phaedrus,

Back in the late '70s (?) and through the 1980s, you could find these delectable, 
moist brownies in health food stores. The ingredients listed carob - but I can't 
recall whether carob replaced chocolate or supplemented it.

They haven't been around in years, but I'd like to find out the recipe if anyone 
has it or has tried reverse-engineering it.  Short of that, I would be curious 
to hear who made them and what happened?


Hi Beth,

I could not find anything other than just a couple of brief mentions of these. No recipes, no history, nothing. There was a "Magic Mommy Brownies, Inc." registered in New Jersey about 10 years ago, but I could find nothing more about it. There was a small company named "Magic Mommy" in New York in the 1975 - 1980 timespan that was involved in a legal case, but I could find no indication that it made brownies. I suspect that this brownie maker was a small business that had a good product and started out well, but failed for one reason or another.

I'll post this on my site. Perhaps someone knows something and will respond.


From: Rebecca
Subject: Hi, I have info on one of the recipes that's listed
Date: Thursday, June 05, 2014 1:43 AM

Hi , I came across your site looking for different recipes, I read something that 
someone posted looking for info on “Magic Mommy Brownies”. I did not know how to 
respond on the page, that is why I am writing you this email. Please feel free to 
share. Back in the 70’s and early 80’s in Kingston NY, there was a small commune 
way back in the woods off a rd. called rt 28A  ..  It was a hippie commune.  
My Dad knew the man that ran the commune  his name was Kenneth karp, his 
wifes name was Robin (not sure if they were legally married) Mr. Karp was also 
known as Magic Mommy, they baked brownies at the commune, that is how they all 
survived, the monies profited by the sale of the brownies. To my knowledge, as I 
was only 12 or 13 yrs old at the time, was that the brownies were manurfactured at 
the commune, then brought to ny city for sale. they were also sold locally around 
Woodstock, In the post someone wrote how they, well referred to the ingrediants, 
I was told by my dad who was a member of the commune later on, that the brownies 
secret ingredient was hashish.  ....  weed.    
Is this true?  I don't know,,,   I have no proof, other than what I was told.  
I don't know what happened to the commune or Mr. Karp.  He was a very tall lanky 
man with very long black hair and a deep voice.  He was your typical hippie! lol   
His wife Robin, was a medium, and claimed she could channel her spirit guides and
 talk to the dead.  They lived on a huge piece of land back in the woods about 
5 miles south of Woodstock, and had many followers. The brownies were baked every 
day, with all natural ingrediants, and then some I guess  lol well I hope this helps 
the person who wrote the post on your website.   
Thank You,  Rebecca R.
I bought them at the Heath Nuts in NYC.  One morning I saw the shelf was empty.  
The clerk told me law enforcement removed the Magic Mommy Brownies from all their 
stores but would not say why. It made the news!  That night on channel 7 Eye Witness 
News the bust was covered and they said the makers of Magic Mommy Brownies were using 
hashish as an ingredient.  I was in my 20's and clearly remember, and yes, they were 
the best, I ate them every day for years. Mark O. 
From: Phyllis 
Sent: Saturday, March 19, 2016 11:30 PM
Subject: magic mommy brownies
Hi, I just read something on your site about Magic Mommy Brownies. I was searching to 
see where the place, the farm, existed.
I knew Robin and Kenneth Karp very well. First off it was not in any way shape or form 
a commune. They lived there with their children. The bakery was there as well. There 
was no hashish in the brownies. Where in the world does all this misinformation 
come from.
Kenneth Karp died several years ago. I don't know what happened to Robin. The children 
were all hers except for Cosmo who, I believe was adopted.
I too would like to have the recipe for the brownies but it's probably lost. One thing 
I remember is that they used fructose and not whole sugar in the brownies. 
The rest of the information given there was correct. I have inquired of people in 
Phoenicia in order to figure out where the place was located. I had spent a small 
amount of time there many years ago. But no one remembered anything about it.
best wishes,

Hi Phyllis,

Thanks for writing. My thinking is that the stories about the commune and the hashish in the brownies were probably just rumors that went around back then. I used to have an e-mail from someone who said Robin had passed away in California from lung cancer, but it was lost in a computer hard drive failure. I did find an obituary that seems to be hers here:

Elaine "Robin" Karpe Age 70, of San Anselmo, died on September 21, 2006. She was born 
August 23, 1936 in New York City to parents Mary and Jack Herzog. She is survived by 
her brother Stanley and her five children Randi, Wendi, Deborah, Koz and Paul, and her 
eight grandchildren. Please join her family on Tuesday, September 26th at 11:00 a.m. at 
Monte's Chapel of the Hills located at 330 Red Hill Avenue in San Anselmo, (415) 453-8440. 
Memorials may be sent to the American Lung Association Redwood Empire Branch, 115 Talbot 
Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 or the Guide Dogs for the Blind, 350 Los Ranchitos Road, 
San Rafael, CA 94903.
Published in Marin Independent Journal on Sept. 26, 2006

As for locating the property on which the bakery stood, I found relevant newspaper articles in the Kingston Daily Freeman from Kingston, New York in 1977. The articles are from, which, if you don’t have a subscription, you get the uncorrected scan text, containing a lot of OCR scan errors, as you can see below, These are in regards to the foreclosure of the property on which the bakery was located, on Route 28A property in Stony Hollow, NY.

January 20, 1977
The Kingston Daily Freeman from Kingston, New York · Page 1
Property Owner Wants Brownie Bakers Out ‘Magic Mommy’ Faces Eviction The Karpe farm, which 
resident animals Fnwman Photo by I.vnn Malvan#? By LYNN MULVANEY Freeman Staff HURLEY — 
A Yonkers woman is demanding that Ulster County law enforcement officers arrest ‘Magic Mommy’ 
Bakery owners Kenneth Karpe and his wife, Robin on charges of trespassing on her Route 28A 
property in Stony Hollow. Gwendolyn Kirsner wants the Karpes evicted from the property so 
she can carry out plans to sell it Feb. 18 before the mortgage is foreclosed. But she claims 
her pleas are falling on deaf ears. Not so, say local authorities who are first trying to 
decide whether it is a civil or criminal matter before moving to evict the couple, who in 
1974 were charged and fined by the state for operating an unsanitary and unhealthy bakery. 
Mrs. Karpe, a practicing psychic, is also known as one of the county s resident healers. 
She once told the Freeman that her personality has been replaced by another spirit, Astrud, 
who speaks through her. When Mrs. Kirsner had the couple evicted in December, they reportedly 
moved right back on the property, known as Magic Mommy Ltd.. 
"We have put our blood sweat and tears into this place” say the Karpes, 
The Kingston Daily Freeman from Kingston, New York · Page 5
Publication: The Kingston Daily Freeman i Location: Kingston, New York Issue Date: Thursday, 
January 20, 1977
...claim it was their property to begin with— “ nothing but a little shack’’— which they 
transformed into a larger bakery and living area It remains incomplete due to the un< er- 
tninty of the rights to possession. The Karpes allege that Mrs. Kirsner, their former business 
partner, foreclosed on their second mortgage and that her son, Gary, who filed a $1.4 million 
bankruptcy claim in U. S. Bankruptcy Court in Poughkeepsie in late 1975, "wants to take our home.” 
"We have our blood in this place... . we are not going to leave," an adamant Robin Karpe declares, 
saying at least 40 members of her psychic heal ing group stand ready to support her und her family. 
Gary, who resides in Glenford, and his mother want "all" the people on the property urrested for 
trespassing. “Arrested daily, until they leave permanently." Children and other adults have been 
reported living there with the Knrja . at various times, he claims. 
But there is a definite question in the mind of Hurley Justice C. H. DuMond: whether the case 
should be treated as civil or criminal matter. He said he plans to confer with District Attorney 
Francis J. Vogt before taking any action. A previous attempt by Mrs. Kirsner to gain possession 
was made by filing a charge of criminal trespass against Kenneth Karpe, according to J. Michael 
Hruhn, Kirsner’s attorney. But Judge DuMond reportedly dismissed the information on the 
recommendation of Vogt. I lie DA said his move to have the criminal charge dismissed followed a 
talk with Karpe’s lawyer, Louis Klein, who, he said, raised several legal questions of a civil 
nature. Bruhn countered by saying there is no civil proceeding pending. Klein however maintains 
that the i i*-e is a civil one since the Kirsners, when they first brought foreclosure proceedings 
against the Karpes, "never mentioned the fact that they and the Karpes were involved in a corporation 
known as Magic Mommy Ltd.; that Magic Mommy has always been a tenant of the property and that the 
corporation has never been served in the conviction proceedings. Klein also points out that the 
Karpes have been given authorization, in writing, to remain in possession of the property. The 
authorization was given by Stanley Isaacson, of New York City, who holds the first mortgage. Vogt 
has since suggested that an appearance ticket be issued to Karpe and the others on the property 
instead of arresting them. “I can well understand the Kirsner’s frustrations, but an arrest is a 
pretty serious thing, said Vogt, Gary Kirsner claims that anything short of daily arrests of the 
Karpes and the others in residence, won’t do any good, citing the Karpe s return to the property 
after their last eviction. Meanwhile Bruhn indiciated that another criminal trespass charge was 
filed this week by the Kirsners with Judge DuMond. He said that although there is a foreclosure 
pending against Mrs Kirsner by Isaacson, it should not affect the Kirsner right or ability to 
gain possession because she is still the title owner. Mrs. Kirsner is presently in the process of 
entering into a contract of sale of the premises, and one of the conditions of purchase is that 
possession be given to the purchaser at the time of closing. Gary Kirsner said he sees significance 
in the fact that Isaacson, the owner of the Kirsner mortgage, is reportedly a brother of David 
Isaacson, an attorney who represents Kenneth Karpe in New York City.


Subject: Magic Mommy's Bakery, Stony Hollow, NY
From: rick 
Date: 5/4/2020, 2:45 PM

  Hello, I just came across your PDF of great NY bakeries..I just wanted to mention, for any 
extant record out there- in 1971, I was introduced to Ken Karpe and Robin Karpe up at there 
farm in Stony Hollow, NY.
  At the time before the bakery was started, Robin was known to make some 'magic mushroom bread' 
from collected indigenous psychotropic musrooms known as Amanita muscaria..This was never a 
commercial venture, just something she made for her husband and friends... Ken Karpe being the 
consummate natural salesman for his developing plan to build with Robin a natural food bakery, 
ended up talking me and a friend to live and work there for room, board (the utterly amazing 
vegetarian food that Robin created).
   I was 19 or 20 at the time with experience driving trucks and buses in NYC.
It so happened he had lost his license, as I remember, and asked me to be his driver...He had 
a fleet of vehicles, including a new International Harvester utility vehicle with a plow 
(the early manifestation of an SUV), a 1963 beige Cadillac Limousine, a 1951 Korean War surplus 
Dodge Power Wagon Dump Truck, A 20 foot flatbed truck and a little Chevy Corvair...
It was heaven. The construction project had just begun..
It was a grand adventure, driving through the wooded State Conservation land adjacent to his 
property, through which his property had road was one of the access roads, driving down to NYC 
to pick up some of his beautiful jazz musician friends, who would  come up to the farm, and play 
out in the woods, echoing through the countryside in early mornings (Clifford Jordan especially)... 
I drove his school aged daughters Wendi and Randi to school in Poughkeepsie every day that year. 
Koz was a toddler, entertaining the folks living and working there.
  It was not a true commune, but was a place for like minded to live and work as guests....anyway 
I felt like mentioning it, as I've thought about my time there and always wanted to reconnect in 
some way to the Karpes...
Thanks, Rick.
Subject: Magic Mommy Brownies
From: Herb 
Date: 12/30/2020, 2:38 PM

Phaedrus - -

    I just stumbled upon the thread on about Magic Mommy brownies, and all the 
mystery surrounding them.

    I worked, on and off, for Ken Karpe for several years, doing mechanical work.  This would have 
been from about 1977 to 1981. They had a large automatic packaging machine that was a fairly complex 
thing requiring periodic timing adjustments, and other fine tunings.

    To set the record straight, the bakery was not a commune; rather, it was their home.  It was a 
fairly large piece of property.  I think that they referred to it as the "farm".  There were goats 
and other farm animals.  It was located in an area called Stony Hollow on Route 28A, just a bit west 
of where Route 28A joins Route 28.

    As for the brownies containing hashish, that's patently ridiculous.  Magic Mommy was a regular 
commercial operation, selling in heath food stored all over the metropolitan area.  The idea that 
there had been hashish in the brownies is thoroughly absurd.  Also, I used to munch on the trimmings 
from the brownie trays all the time, while working on the equipment.  Had there been hashish in the 
product, I surely would have known it.

    There was also another product from the bakery: Magic Mommy fig-cashew bars. They were the exact 
same size and shape as the brownies, and packaged the same way, except for the label.  They were a 
"blondie" sort of color, and had fig paste in them rather than cocoa.  The cashews were the white, 
unroasted kind. The fig-cashew bars were delicious.  I liked them better than the brownies.

- - Herb
Subject: Magic mommies brownies
From: Brian 
Date: 3/30/2021, 12:56 AM

I remember quite a bit of the farm where the brownies were made and made some batches with a Buddy 
from NYC I met at the arcade in Woodstock. His name was Jeff Denegris. He was a talented guitar player 
that worked at the farm making batches and at the time was the only employee there other then the Karpe 
children. This was 1976-77 ish. The things I remember about running the batches.  1) there def was not 
hash or weed in the brownies although we smoked a lot. 2) manually cracking eggs took forever. Used a 
simple syrup for brownies. Fructose or cane sugar.  Farm had some goats and other farm animals that 
required milking daily but don’t think was used in brownies. (But not sure)Daughters were cute/smart. 
Ken/Robin very kind..partying with us younguns and being very progressive intelligent folks. It was 
NOT a commune more a layed back family farm. I had a lot of fun hanging out with them. They had a nice 
house I remember on Meads mtn rd. In Woodstock. I don’t know if renting or owned. I used to plow it!  
I believe Ken was a music producer in the 50s and was caught up blacklisted during McCarthy era and 
lost some fame/fortune. Not sure about all that but seemed correct. The brownies were very good nice 
and moist. The farm- that would have made a good book. 
Thanks Brian 
Subject: Yet another Magic Mommy refugee spills the mushrooms
From: Dick 
Date: 10/26/2021, 2:10 PM

Commenting on

Around 1973, plus or minus, my girlfriend (later wife, now ex) and I were renting a bakery in Kingston 
to produce our own hippie breads that we sold to a few local stores. It was upstairs from a grocery 
store (Mohican Market) that was no longer using it for their own products.

Around 4:00 am one night there was banging on the door at the bottom of the stairs. I went down to answer, 
and it was this lanky dude who was even scruffier looking than I was—Kenneth Karpe. He introduced himself, 
explained that he and his wife had a bakery too, and they had unexpectedly run out of yeast. Could he buy 
a pound (or maybe "borrow" was the word he used).

Then a couple of weeks later, Robin had an accident. She ran her hand through a sheeter (you don't want 
to know) and mashed it pretty good. She was going to be laid up for some weeks, and could we come work for 
them during the day temporarily? I went along with the plan. If I recall correctly, my girlfriend declined, 
or maybe she was there for a week or so and then stopped. (Long time ago, memory is getting fuzzy.) We had 
a friend who was at loose ends hoping to make a few bucks, so they hired him too.

First of all, they raised basically zero percent of their ingredients. That part of your story is just hooey. 
Yes, they had a few goats and some chickens, but my recollection is that any milk and eggs in the product 
came from a wholesale supplier, as did the mushrooms, onions, dill, and everything else. Their small flocks 
could not have come close to supplying the volume they went through.

We ate well. And Cosmo, three at the time, was a hoot. First of all, he decided he was a truck. No, he didn't 
pretend he was driving a truck. He believed he was a truck, and he was pretty convincing about it. Secondly, 
he was a nudist. No one told him to be, he just liked being naked. Nothing pleased him more than, in the 
winter, running around in his fake fur coat with nothing on underneath and flashing any old lady he ran into 
in the grocery store or laundromat. Being three, he could get away with it.

So we turned out product, and we had fun, but then when payday came around, Kenneth was behind on supplier 
bills, and those took precedence over payroll. So after about six weeks of zero pay and promises to pay 
next week, we quit.

Cut to a month or so later, and I get a call from the NYS Department of Labor. They were building a case 
against the Karpes based on someone else's complaint. If we joined the complaint, we'd get some money if 
they could collect any. If we didn't join, we'd get nothing. We were still treating the situation as a 
misunderstanding among friends, and we didn't want to make a formal complaint. End result, we got bupkis 
(our fault, to be sure). But that led to a recalibration in my mind, and I came to the conclusion that 
the whole setup was a big con. It wasn't just the thousand or so they owed me. No one was getting paid. 
Bloomingdales was paying for the mushroom bread and brownies and the rest (banana bread, etc.), but there 
was never enough money to pay the bakers or the suppliers, somehow.

At some point in the mid to late 1980s, when my then wife and I had an herb business, I was trying to drum 
up some wholesale business in New York City. I was in a natural foods store in Midtown, talking with the 
owner, when who should walk in but Kenneth Karpe, still peddling Magic Mommy. I told him I still thought 
he owed me money, and he told me what I could do with it. That's the last time I ever saw him.

Subject: I worked as a baker on the magic mommy farm
From: jeff d.
Date: 5/18/2022, 6:26 AM

Hi my name is jeff d. I am a professional musician back in the late 70’s I was a caretaker / baker for 
the magic mommy farm I fed the animals and made the brownies. Ken was my boss and his boss was Robin. I was 
friendly with his 2 daughters who were awesome Wendy and Randi I can tell you this for certain there was no 
hashish or cannabis in the recipe also I remember each batch took 40 lbs of sugar and about 12 dozen eggs 
the eggs and goat milk used were fresh from the animals on the farm (I also helped milk the goats). This 
part of my early adulthood life was a very magical time I was about 20y old and had a blast.
Thanks for posting this opportunity to share.

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