Everyone loves brownies

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on May 25, 2011 - 06:55 PM

Photo: Who can say “no” to brownies? Metro photo.

Who can say “no” to brownies? Metro photo.

The brownie, one of America’s favorite treats, is believed to have actually been first created in the U.S.A. The site is uncertain, but all evidence points to New England in the first few years of the 20th century. Food historians have several theories about its history and origin.

The name, Brownie, may have come from the deep brown color of this confection; or it could have been from the mythical pixie-like characters common in children’s stories from the same time period, as was the Eastman Kodak Brownie camera.

The first recipe for what was then called "brownies" dates to an 1896 Boston Cooking School Cookbook for molasses cakes baked in individual pans. Then it appeared in the 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalogue. Neither recipe is what we think of as brownies today. Yet there are some who believe brownies were invented at the Palmer House in Chicago as far back as 1892.

The earliest published recipe for chocolate brownies appears to have been for "Bangor Brownies" in the Boston Daily Globe in 1905. The two earliest recipes printed appear in the "Boston Cooking School Cook Book" in 1906 with two squares of Baker’s chocolate, melted and in "Lowney’s Cook Book," written by Martha Willet Howard in 1907.