Everything Brownies

Brownies are some of America’s favorite treats. They are a category all unto themselves. They are not a cookie and they are not a cake, but are something in between. Technically, they are referred to as a bar cookie though, since they are eaten with your fingers and not a fork.

The first-known printed use of the word “brownie” to describe a dessert appeared in the 1896 version of the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Farmer, in reference to molasses cakes baked individually in tin molds. Another idea is that Bertha Potter Palmer asked her chef at The Palmer House Hotel in Chicago to create a dessert that could be tucked into a box lunch for ladies to eat while attending the Columbian Exposition. The result was a super-rich, fudgy-chocolate confection, called a cake that could be eaten without a fork. It was known as the Palmer House brownie. Though with anything, there are always lots of rumors, theories and speculations on how things were really first created.

There are thousands of recipes for brownies, both “cake” types and “fudge” types. Either is perfectly correct—and delicious. It’s easy to see that the brownie got its name from its dark brown color. Here’s more about the style of brownies. There are numerous legends surrounding the origin of the brownie. The legend is told variously: a chef mistakenly added melted chocolate to a batch of biscuits…a cook was making a cake but didn’t have enough flour. The favorite myth, cited in Betty Crocker’s Baking Classics and John Mariani’s The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, tells of a housewife in Bangor, Maine, who was making a chocolate cake but forgot to add baking powder. When her cake didn’t rise properly, instead of tossing it out, she cut and served the flat pieces, and there are many more ideas as well. No one really knows how the brownies we all know and love came to be, but it is always fun to hear all the wild ideas that float about. Like many other things, this may be a mystery that we may never know the truth about. 🙂

I, like most other Americans, love brownies too. I make them from scratch a lot and I also enhance the ones from a box a lot too. If I am making them from a box, my favorite tried and true recipe is the Ghirardelli brand. So often times I start with the mix, then build upon them from there. And that’s exactly what I did this time too. I transformed them from really good brownies into really terrific brownies and added all kinds of goodies.

I had marshmallows that I wanted to use, so I added those on top, but that wasn’t enough. Next I added some Heath Bar Crumbles then popped the pan into the oven.

But they still didn’t look finished yet. They still needed something else. I had a few of my caramels left over The Caramels Are Done! I melted them down and then drizzled them on top of everything. Perfect! That is just what they needed.

Larry was really hoping against hope that some would be left after church, but to his disappointment, and my delight, they were gobbled up in an instant.

There is never any need to reinvent the wheel. You can always start with the basics and then dress them up from there. It’s a creative way of using up little bits and pieces of things that need to be used, and more so than not, they will will wow over your fans with your creativity. Always a win/win situation, in my book. 🙂 Make It Pretty

Have a great day and make everyday great. Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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