A chocolate brownie commonly referred to as simply brownie is a square, baked, chocolate dessert.
It’s easy to see that the brownie got its name from its dark brown color.
The brownie, one of America’s favorite baked treats, was born in the US.
However, there is no clear record of how brownies were first made.
One legend about the creation of brownies is that of Bertha Palmer, a prominent Chicago socialite whose husband owned the Palmer House Hotel. In 1893 Palmer asked a pastry chef for a dessert suitable for ladies attending the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition. She requested a cake-like confection smaller than a piece of cake that could be included in boxed lunches. The result was the Palmer House Brownie with walnuts and an apricot glaze. The desserts were a hit, but they weren’t called brownies. The first mentions of brownies in American cookbooks don’t come until several years later.
Fannie Farmer printed what was thought to be the first known brownie recipe in 1905. However, after some back and forth between Maine food educator Mildred Schrumpf and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, it was discovered that in 1904 several cookbooks had printed a recipe for “Bangor Brownies”, preceding Fannie Farmer’s “first” printing of a brownie recipe.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that brownies became a darling in the department of baked chocolate treats, and it never ceased.
Today, brownies come in a variety of forms and may be either fudgy or cakey, depending on their density.
They may include nuts, frosting, cream cheese, chocolate chips, or other ingredients.
Brownies get better with age, so always try to make them a day ahead. Let them cool completely in the pan – they are very soft when hot and can break easily.
The difference between chocolate cake and brownie is that chocolate cake have twice the amount of flour and less amount of cocoa than brownie. Cake uses baking powder and baking soda as basic ingredients whereas brownies do not use them. Brownies have chewy or cookie like consistency and bake very flat and with crackled top whereas cakes are light and fluffy with smooth top.
The world’s largest brownie was made at the Hudson Valley Chocolate Festival and Holiday Crafts Show in Suffern, New York, in 2001. It included 750 pounds of chocolate chips, 500 pounds of butter, 850 pounds of sugar, 3,500 eggs, and 500 pounds of flour. It weighed a whopping 3,000 pounds (1,360 kilograms)!
Dubbed as “The Most Expensive Chocolate Brownie”, the Brownie Extraordinaire can only be found in the Crystal Menu of Brulee in Atlantic City, USA. Aside from being a menu staple, Brownie Extraordinaire is also a part of Tropicana Resort and Casino’s Deluxe Proposal Package (worth $15,000).
National Brownie Day is observed annually on December 8th.