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A chocolate brownie is a flat, baked square or bar introduced in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century and popularized in both the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the twentieth century. The brownie is sliced from a type of dense, rich chocolate cake, which is, in texture, like a cross between a cake and a cookie.[1] Brownies come in a variety of forms. They are either fudgy or cakey, depending on their density, and they may include nuts, frosting, whipped cream, chocolate chips, or other ingredients. A variation that is made with brown sugar and no chocolate is called a blondie.
 

Brownies are common lunchbox fare, typically eaten by hand, and often accompanied by milk or coffee. They are sometimes served warm with ice cream (à la mode) or topped with whipped cream, especially in restaurants.
 

The brownie first appeared in public during the 1893 Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago, Illinois. A chef at the city's Palmer House Hotel[2] created the confection after Bertha Palmer requested a dessert for ladies attending the fair; it should be, she said, smaller than a piece of cake and easily eaten from boxed lunches. These first brownies featured an apricot glaze and walnuts, and they are still being made at the hotel according to the original recipe.[3]

The earliest published recipes for a brownie like those of today appeared in the Home Cookery (1904, Laconia, NH), Service Club Cook Book (1904, Chicago, IL), The Boston Globe (April 2, 1905 p. 34)[4] and the 1906 edition of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer. These recipes produced a relatively mild and cake-like brownie. The name "brownie" first appeared in the 1896 version of the cookbook, but this was in reference to molasses cakes baked individually in tin molds, not true brownies.[5]

A second recipe appeared in 1907 in Lowney’s Cook Book, by Maria Willet Howard and published by the Walter M. Lowney Company of Boston, Massachusetts. This recipe added an extra egg and an additional square of chocolate to the Boston Cooking School recipe, creating a richer, fudgier brownie. The recipe was named Bangor Brownies, possibly because it was created by a woman in Bangor, Maine.[5]

The chocolate brownie, once familiar only to Americans and Canadians, can now be found in many bakeries in Europe.

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review by . January 18, 2011
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It is a treat that Americans have been enjoying since they were first introduced at the Chicago World's Fair way back in 1893. Evidently those who tasted the first brownies found them to be an irresistible treat. Word spread and a few years later in 1897 the first known recipe for brownies was published in of all places the Sears Roebuck catalogue. What people liked so much about brownies was that you could pick them up and eat them just about anywhere. They are the ultimate comfort food and …
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