Brownie Sundae - © Charles Schiller -Woman's Day

Warm Your Winter: Celebrate ‘Have A Brownie’ Day!

I just checked the National Food Days calendar to see what was coming up and what what I’d missed recently. And I discovered that today is National ‘Have a Brownie’ Day! I can’t think of any better thing to banish the winter blues than a pan of good, old fashioned Brownies…

Brownie Sundae - © Charles Schiller - Woman's DayFannie Farmer’s Famous Brownies…

A little history…

According to Foodimentary: A Food Lover’s Notebook, by John-Bryan Hopkins, these are the five most important things to know about the ubiquitous Brownie”

  • It is said that the Brownie was created at the Palmer House Hotel during the 1893 Columbian Exposition (the largest World’s Fair of it’s time) when the owner Bertha Palmer asked the chef to make a ‘ladies’ dessert’.
  • The word ‘Brownie’ became so popular that, soon after the Exposition, Kodak named one of it’s first hand held cameras in honour of it, the little ‘Brownie.’
  • Brownies were one of the very first prepackaged food ‘mixes’ ever sold, first appearing in the Sears, Roebuck catalogue in 1897.
  • Fannie Farmer, the ‘First Lady of American Cookery’, published the first written recipe for Brownies in 1896.
  • A popular turn of the century alternative was considered of equal importance, the Blondie, which used many of the same ingredients except chocolate. At that time, any believed chocolate to be a ‘vice’ on the same level as alcohol and even coffee. (They were right. Today, researchers have proven that Chocolate is as addictive as Alcohol, Tobacco or Cocaine.)

Here’s Fannie’s Famous Recipe…

It’s an easy one, and all but foolproof!

What you’ll need:

6 oz. unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cup Butter
4 Eggs
2 tbsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 3/4 cups Sugar
1 1/2 cups all purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Walnuts (chopped) (optional, but recommended; omit only if nut allergies are an issue)

Yes, this is a hallmark of the Classic Brownie; the only leavening is the Eggs. I like to separate my Eggs and beat the living daylights out the Whites folding them in them last of all to the mix. Makes a lighter, meltier Brownie. You need not go to the bother, though; you’ll still get great Brownies!

What you do:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In a heavy bottom pan melt the Chocolate and Butter over low heat, watching and stirring often.

When melted remove from the heat and cool.

In a mixing blow, add the Eggs, Vanilla, Salt and Sugar. Beat well using an electric mixer for 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the Chocolate mixture gently, then add the Flour, stirring only until blended.

Stir in the Walnuts.

Spread evenly in the pan and bake for 25 minutes. When done the center should be moist.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely and cut into whatever size squares or rectangles you like.

Yup, It’s that easy!

Now, sit back and enjoy a Brownie, still warm from the oven, loaded with Chocolate goodness, and melting in your mouth…

I like to take my Brownies the classic way, with a glass of cold, fresh Milk.

But I’ve also enjoyed Brownies with a glass of Red Wine for special occasions. ‘Chocolate and Red’ is a classic combo.

Champagne goes with everything, and so it goes with Brownies. For a more subtle taste treat, try Champers with a Blondie.

Nothing satisfies an illicit but irresistible late night snack urge than a beautiful, chewy Brownie.

I love to make Brownie ‘Sundaes’ as an easy, fun and pretty desert: Just top a nice, big Brownie with a scoop of Ice Cream, Chocolate Syrup, Whipped Cream and a Cherry (see photo, top of page). Kids especially love this one.

Brownies and Ice Cream have been an item since forever. I prefer plain old Vanilla Ice Cream, but some insist it must be Chocolate.

Brownies can follow any meal as desert. They just seem to complement everything!

My plan for today…

I’m going to make a pan of brownies this morning and serve them to my family at every meal!

~ Maggie J.

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