Prep 15 mins
Cook 30 mins
The brownie was invented in Chicago in 1893 by the chef of the Palmer House Hotel at the request of Mrs. Bertha Palmer. The ladies attending the Columbian Exposition needed something they could eat with their hands without getting them dirty, making this great for the Superball game. The recipe below is the exact one used at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel on State Street today. The brownies are easier to cut if you place the whole pan into the freezer for 3 to 4 hours after glazing, then remove and cut with a serrated knife. In fact, freezing them after glazing is highly recommended for the recipe to work properly.
- 1 lb butter
- 18 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 8 ounces cake flour
- 24 ounces granulated sugar
- 4 whole eggs
- 1 lb walnuts, crushed (optional)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- Preheat the oven at 300°.
- Melt the chocolate with the butter in a double boiler or microwave oven.
- Mix the dry ingredients (except for the walnuts), in a mixing bowl.
- Mix the chocolate with the dry ingredients (4 to 5 minutes).
- Add the eggs.
- Pour the mixture into a 9” x 12” baking sheet and sprinkle the walnuts on top.
- Press the walnuts down slightly into the mixture with your hand.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. It will test "gooey" with a toothpick in the middle, due to the richness of the mixture.
- After removing from the oven, allow to cool about 30 minutes before spreading a thin layer of the glaze with a pastry brush.
- Mix together the apricot preserves, the unflavored gelatin, and the water in a saucepan.
- Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.
- Use while hot.
The recipe directions and glaze ingredients for the Palmer House brownies were slightly different as published in Bon Appetit, March 2009. The glaze consists only of melted apricot preserves, no water or gelatin. Directions not stated here include: Butter and flour metal baking pan. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in large bowl until well blended, about 1 minutes. Whisk in melted chocolate mixture (cooled to lukewarm). Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into chocolate mixture; fold to blend. Bake brownies until edges are raised and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist batter attached, about 45 minutes. Melt apricot preserves in small skillet over medium heat. Strain preserves; brush melted jam over hot brownies. Cool 1 hour, then transfer to refrigerator and chill until cold, about 2 hours. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Cut into 16 brownies. Serve chilled.