Three life size reproductions of Christopher Columbus’s ships were unveiled to celebrate the 400th year anniversary of his famous voyage. The popular dancer, Little Egypt, put on daily shows in her skimpy attire. And the first moving sidewalk made an appearance.
Several products and inventions made their debut at the Exposition. The first ferris wheel, Juicy Fruit gum, shredded wheat, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, and cream of wheat were on that list. But it was the introduction of the delectable brownie that stole the show.
It happened when Chicago socialite and philanthropist Bertha Palmer instructed the pastry chefs at her husband’s hotel, the Palmer House, to create a dessert that could fit inside the box lunches for ladies at the fair and that could be eaten without a mess. Thus, the humble chocolate brownie was born.
Fondness for the dessert quickly spread. And in 1896, Fannie Farmer included the brownie recipe in her Boston Cooking School Cook Book.
I can’t think of any dessert that’s more versatile. It can be made plain or with icing, with nuts, fruit bits, and any number of things, whatever strikes your fancy. The brownie became the trademark dessert of the Palmer House and is still served today.
Here is the original brownie recipe:
Chocolate Fudge Brownies from the Palmer House Hilton
- 3 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 cups chopped walnut pieces
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoons apricot preserves
Preheat oven to 325 F. Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl set over simmering water. Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Stir chocolate mixture into flour mixture. Whisk in eggs. Pour into a 12 x 9 inch baking pan. Sprinkle walnuts on top, pressing slightly into batter. Bake 40 minutes, or until the edges become slightly crisp and the brownie has risen about ¼ inch. (Even when the brownie is properly baked, it will test gooey with a toothpick in the center.) Let cool 30 minutes. For glaze, combine water and preserves in a medium saucepan, whisking well. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Boil 2 minutes. Using a pastry brush, pat glaze over brownies. Place brownies in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours. Remove and let stand 10 minutes and slice.
I tend to make the same kind—walnut brownies. I might get adventuresome though. I think an apricot glaze on these would be delicious. But then I love apricots. What kind of brownies are your favorite?
I’ll be traveling home today from Fort Worth’s famous Stockyards so I can’t answer comments until I get back. Next time I’ll have a lot of pictures and stories from my adventures with my sister, Jan.
Until next time……….