1870-1899: Bangor Brownies
I never considered brownies a form of cake, but legend has it that the first brownie was a cake accident. Born in Bangor, Maine, a housewife was making a chocolate cake. When she didn't add any baking powder, the result was the semi-dense, chewy, delicious pan of brownies we've come to know and love.
In American Cakes, the brownie recipe, though called Bangor Brownies, is from Chicago.
Wherever and however brownies originated, this recipe is one you'll use over and over again.
1/2 cup flour minus 1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp corn starch
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup earth balance
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350° and grease an 8" square baking pan.
Make your cake flour. Sift together the flour and the corn starch.
Chop the chocolate and place it in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave the chocolate until it melts. It's best to microwave it in 15 second increments, stir, and repeat.
Set the chocolate aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a spoon until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the mixture is smooth.
Fold in the cooled chocolate.
Fold in the flour and salt.
If you're adding nuts, this is the time to fold those in.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the brownies until the top is a bit crusty, but the middle is soft--18-22 minutes.
Let the brownies cool for 20 minutes, then enjoy!
These brownies are just as good as the ones that start in a box. At some point, I shall experiment with making them gluten-free and vegan. The gluten-free experiment is easy; I'll replace the flour with my favorite gluten-free flour blend and add 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum. The vegan experiment might be a bit trickier. The eggs in a brownie help it hold together, but we'll see how it goes!