In my last post, I made Fannie Merritt Farmer’s molasses brownies, the earliest incarnation of brownies. Chocolate brownies came on the scene just a few years later in the early 1900s, although historians don’t agree on which exact recipe was the first. This 1904 recipe for Bangor Brownies is certainly one of the earliest brownie recipes to include chocolate.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 squares Baker’s chocolate, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Cream together the butter and sugar.
- Stir in the melted chocolate, then the beaten eggs.
- Add the flour and walnuts.
- Pour into an 8×8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes. When cool, cut into squares.
These brownies are very similar to many modern brownies, although they are not quite as fudgy or as chocolately as modern versions can be. I did find a later version of this recipe from the 1920s that added an extra square of chocolate; I might try that sometime to see how it turns out. Still, these have everything that I like about brownies: the top is crackly, the inside is soft, and the walnuts are crunchy. I can see why the basic brownie, with variations, has remained popular for over a hundred years!
The Service Club of Chicago. (1904). The service club cook book. United States: (n.p.). https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Service_Club_Cook_Book/rfgpAAAAYAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0
Smith, A. F. (2013). Brownies. In Food and Drink in American History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, LLC.
Zanger, M. (2004). Brownies. In A. F. Smith, (Ed.), The Oxford encyclopedia of food and drink in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.