Brownies were “Born in the USA” but no one quite knows who can take credit for this treat.
• Was it Fannie Merritt Farmer who published a recipe for the brownie in her 1906 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book?
• Was it Fannie’s protégé Maria Willet Howard who published a recipe for brownies in 1907 in Lowney’s Cook Book that contained an egg?
• Was it a housewife in Bangor, Maine who forgot to add baking powder to her chocolate cake who can take credit for the brownie we know today?
What we do know is that it is a favorite and well-loved treat.
Cake or Fudge?
Dorie’s version is more on the fudge side of the brownie scale than the cake side. More butter and chocolate and less flour means a more fudgey brownie.
The chocolate you use is important so use one you like. The better the chocolate, the better the brownie. I used semi-sweet Callebaut (“approved by Belgian chocolate makers” and Ottawa foodies alike), and it was delicious. If you want to use a bittersweet chocolate, you may want to use half bittersweet and half milk chocolate.
I found a great article about the brownie written by Cookwise author Shirley O. Corriher.
The Nibble has an article that talks about the origin of the brownie.
I was inspired by the Daring Bakers’ cheesecake pops to give brownie popsicles a go. I used this popsicle pan once before for my daughter’s birthday party, so it was time to dust it off and try brownies in it. Although they look cute for the photo op, I wouldn’t recommend it. This recipe was too delicate for the popsicle angle. A more cakey one would be better suited to it.
You can find the recipe for French Chocolate Brownies at this blog Di’s Kitchen Notebook or in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger!
Fannie Merritt Farmer’s original 1906 version of brownies
I have a favorite brownie recipe that is more like cake that I usually make, but I was curious about Fannie Merritt Farmer’s original 1906 version of brownies. Although I have a little cookbook by Fannie, it didn’t have the brownie recipe in it. Thanks to the internet, I found the recipe and baked up a batch for comparison. I used the same Callebaut chocolate that I used in Dorie’s version. I also cut the brownies into “shapely” pieces as recommended by the recipe! These brownies were good, but more chewy, fudge-y, and had a crisp top. But, it wasn’t as chocolate-y as Dorie’s version.
Dorie’s French Chocolate Brownie is a delicious fudgey treat that melts in your mouth. Personally, I loved the rum-soaked raisins in these bars. They added a richness to the chocolate, but some of my tasters threw a tantrum upon tasting it, begging me, through their tears, to make a new batch sans raisins. Kids these days! I will definitely be making these again (both with and without raisins).
Recipe for Next Week (June 10)
La Palette’s Strawberry Tart on page 374 chosen by Marie of A Year in Oak Cottage.