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The history of brownies

All you need to know about these moist, gooey and sinful treats.

by: Food24 | 29 Mar 2010

Brownies are thought to originate in America and get their name from the colour of the baked goodie. Who made the first brownie is up for debate, but the most popular version says that Mildred Schrumpf, a home economics teacher in Maine in the United States, forgot to add the baking powder to the chocolate cake she was demonstrating to her class. Not wanting to let on that she had made a grave error, she simply removed the flat, squidgy sponge from the oven, cut it into squares and announced she had cooked some "Brownies".

The first known recipe for brownies was published in the 1897 Sears, Roebuck Catalogue.

Few foods are invented; rather they evolve over time according to what's available and what people like to eat. Towards the end of the 19th century chocolate was no longer a luxury only for the rich and everyday cooks started to experiment with it. Along the way the brownie, cake batter with lots and lots of chocolate, was born.

According to old cookbooks, blonde brownies or blondies came before chocolate brownies, though under different names. The primary ingredients of blondies are brown sugar or molasses and butter, to make butterscotch, a sweet that was popular in America in the mid-19th century. The butterscotch ingredients are then mixed with eggs, flour and nuts (but no chocolate) to create butterscotch bars with a cake-like texture.

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