Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Brownies Recipe

Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Brownies Recipe

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In our quest to find the perfect best brownie recipe, we ran across this one in Fannie Farmers 1896 cookbook. Is it the first written brownie recipe? Not sure about that, but it is different than what we would call a brownie today.

What we need to remember is that in 1896 chocolate wasn't widely available, and these were probably called brownies because of the colour of the molasses. Eventually chocolate would be added, molasses would be removed and the modern brownie would be born.

This recipe however would live on as what we would today call the Blondie.

As with all recipes from this time period - the recipe writer didn't hold your hand and go into any detail about how to make the recipe... you were expected to know what to do. Recipes were mostly a list of ingredients, a temperature, and if you were lucky a tin size and time to cook. 

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How to make Fannie Farmer’s 1896 Brownies
This is a slightly modified version of the 1896 brownie recipe in Fannie Farmers cookbook - sadly there is no chocolate…
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter at room temp
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) powdered / icing / confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) cooking or fancy molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 7/8 cup (240 mL) bread flour
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped pecans
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (180ºC)Mix ingredients in order, then bake 15-20 minutes in small shallow tart tins.Makes about 4. Let cool on rack before serving.You can easily sub darker molasses or Maple syrup for the fancy molasses if you wish.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4
Fannie Farmers Brownie Recipe tall.jpg
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