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Culinary Chatter – Special Brownies

By December 8, 2021December 22nd, 2021No Comments

Special Brownies Have An Extra Ingredient

Carola Lillie Hartley

Sometimes I just feel like making brownies. That is so true when the weather is gloomy, and I need a little “pick me up,” so to speak. On those kind of days, I have a special brownie recipe I use that I will share with you today. But first, I want to explain a little something about the dessert we call a Brownies.

While researching the history of the Brownie I discovered it was invented in the US. So I guess you can say Brownies are as American as Apple Pie. Not all food historians agree about the origins of the Brownie recipe. Some say the Brownie dates back to 1893 and the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, IL. It seems Mrs. Bertha Palmer asked the pastry chef in her husband’s hotel to create a cake-like dessert smaller than a piece of cake that could be included in boxed lunches for the ladies attending the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition that year. The chef created something that was eventually called the Palmer House Brownie. The recipe for that dessert was not printed until three years later in The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook, and again in the Sears Roebuck Catalog published in Chicago in 1898. (For those who are interested, you can get the original recipe for the historic Palmer House Brownie on line at )

Other accounts claim the origin of the Brownie was invented when a woman by the name of Fanny Farmer adapted her cookie recipe to be baked in a rectangular pan in that 1896 edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cookbook. However, Fanny’s recipe did not contain chocolate.

Another account said the earliest-known published recipe for a modern style chocolate brownie appeared in the Home Cookery (1904, Laconia, NH), Service Club Cook Book (1904, Chicago, IL), The Boston Globe (April 2, 1905 p. 34),and the 1906 edition of Farmer’s cookbook. These recipes produced a relatively mild and cake-like brownie.

I also read that the Brownie came from Bangor, Maine, the hometown of a housewife who created the original recipe. As the story goes, the Bangor Brownie added an extra egg and a square of chocolate to the recipe to create a richer, fudgier dessert. That recipe appeared in Lowney’s Cook Book by Maria Willet Howard (published by Walter M. Lowney Co., Boston, MA) as an adaptation of the Boston Cooking School recipe for a “Bangor Brownie”.

Regardless of what version you accept, there is no disputing the fact that the Brownie has been around for over 100 years. And each generation thereafter has enjoyed that delicious sweet treat. Some serve it plain, some add whipped cream, and some top it off with ice cream and chocolate sauce. Whichever way you eat it, it‘s still a Brownie and one of my favorite pastries.

Here is the Special Brownies recipe:

13” x 9” Brownie Mix (use any brand you like)

Follow directions on back of package but add one egg, about 1 extra tablespoon water and a pinch of baking power to the mix.

Stir mixture using about 50 strokes. When mixed add:

½ cup miniature marshmallows

½ cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (any brand you like)

Mix well and pour into a 9” x 9” baking dish that has been coated (bottom only) with non-stick cooking spray.  (For thicker brownies bake in a 8” x 8” baking dish.)

Bake in 350-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes (depending on the oven).  If you are using the 8” x 8” dish the baking time may be longer. To make sure the Brownies are completely cooked, insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the Brownies are done. Remove from oven.

Let cool, cut into squares and serve. This can be served plain, or finished with your favorite topping. Enjoy!

Cover any leftovers loosely. But I suspect you will not have many leftovers.

I’ve shared my recipe in this article and I would like to share a special one you have. Send it to me at And keep on cooking!