Chicago’s iconic Palmer House Hotel has long been credited with the invention of the chocolate brownie. The baked treat was by most accounts created in the hotel’s kitchen in the late 19th century. It was served at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 at the direction of Chicago socialite/philanthropist (and wife of hotelier Potter Palmer) Bertha Palmer.
With all of us staying at home, spending more time in the kitchen and looking for recipes that are easy to follow (not to mention fun to make with the kids), here’s the Palmer House’s recipe (more than a century old) for the brownie, which, according to a hotel spokesperson, remains the most popular treat served at the Monroe Street hotel (now part of the Hilton chain).
The Palmer House Chocolate Brownie
14 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 lb. butter
12 oz. granulated sugar
4 oz. flour
12 oz. crushed walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Mix the sugar and our together in a bowl. Combine chocolate and our mixtures. Stir 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs and continue mixing.
3. Pour mixture into a 9x12 baking sheet. Sprinkle walnuts on top, pressing down slightly into the mixture with your hand. Bake 30-40 minutes.
4. Brownies are done when the edges begin to crisp and has risen about 1/4 of an inch.
Note: When the brownie is properly baked, it will remain “gooey” with a toothpick in the middle due to the richness of the mixture.
Glaze: Mix together 1 c. water, 1 c. apricot preserves, and 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin in sauce pan. Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil for two minutes. Brush hot glaze on brownies while still warm.