Everyone Loves a Brownie

Just about everyone loves a brownie.

That is why we thought it would be fun to celebrate National Brownie Day, which happens on December 8th.

What Is a Brownie Anyway?

black beansThe wonderful, delicious blend of cookie and cake called a brownie is so irresistible that it hardly requires an introduction.

But just in case, let’s review what makes them so special.

The brownie is a square, baked chocolate dessert that can be either fudgy or cakey depending on its density.  

While we normally associate the word ‘brownie’ with chocolate, the blonde brownie (made with brown sugar rather than chocolate) is also a popular version.

And if you are wondering, it is absolutely possible to eat a 100 percent plant-based brownie.

We will share our secret recipe in a moment but first, let’s explore the history and some fun facts about the brownie.

The History of the Brownie

Even though almost everyone is clear about what a brownie is, the origins of this culinary favorite nevertheless remain unclear.

Who was the brownie’s true inventor?

One of the favorite (but unsubstantiated) myths is that a housewife in Bangor, Maine, forgot to add baking powder to her chocolate cake. Despite the fact it did not rise like a normal cake, she served it anyway, and the brownie was born.

While the origin is a mystery, one thing that is certain is that brownies made their first public appearance in 1893 during the Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

They were presented by Bertha Palmer, the owner of the Palmer House Hotel, who had created the recipe at the request of a group of socialites who wanted to show an example of a dessert that could be easily packed in a lunch box.

The original recipe used apricot glaze and walnuts, and the hotel continues to serve a version of that recipe to this day!

The first known printed use of the word ‘brownie’ appeared in the Boston Cooking School Cook Book, authored by Fannie Farmer in 1896.

However, the recipe was for individual molasses cakes rather than the ‘classic’ brownie as we know it today.

The second brownie recipe appeared in Lowney’s Cook Book Illustrated, written by Maria Willet Howard in 1907. Ms. Howard’s recipe was for a rich, chocolatey cake that more closely resembles the modern-day brownie.

Although it was well established at the turn of the century, the brownie really exploded in popularity during the Roaring 20s.

Today the brownie is an undisputed institution in the US and beyond.

Brownie Fun Facts

bowl of walnuts top viewHere are some fun facts about the brownie:

  • Brownies are classified as ‘bar cookies’ because they are considered to be a finger food.
  • Many believe the name ‘brownie’ originated from the elf-like characters that were featured in Palmer Cox’s popular late 19th-century book called The Brownies.
  • Kodak used the name ‘Brownies’ for one of their cameras around the same time.
  • The first brownies—called ‘Blondies’—were made of brown sugar and molasses; they had no chocolate.
  • The largest brownie in the world was made in 2001 and weighed 3,000 pounds.

Dr Rosane Oliveira and Baked Bean BrowniesIs it Possible to Eat a Plant-Based Brownie?

The best part about brownies is that you can enjoy their delicious taste the plant-based way!

As promised, here is one of our favorite brownie recipes: Black Bean Brownies.

Once again proving that you can ‘have your cake and eat it too!’

Enjoy your National Brownie Day celebration!