American Brownies and a Cuppa, Anyone?


According to Wiki, a chef at Chicago's Palmer House Hotel concocted the first brownie recipe when Bertha Palmer asked him to create a special dessert for ladies attending the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. “It should be smaller than a piece of cake, though still retaining cake-like characteristics and easily eaten from boxed lunches”, she instructed. These first brownies featured an apricot glaze and walnuts and they are still being made at the hotel today according to the original recipe.


brownie tasting


Now that we're back aboard and getting ready for departure, many of our Aussie friends are dropping by to say hello … and goodbye. It's typical to have two or three or even four visitors aboard, all chatting and sipping a cuppa. The tea kettle stays busy and there always seems to be just enough mugs to serve the coffee or tea. I like to have some sort of sweet to accompany the tea and coffee and American Brownies are always a hit. They're easy to make and I typically make a large batch of the dry ingredients in advance, so it's even more convenient. I first found this recipe in the KISS cookbook, but I've seen variations of the theme using mayonnaise (yes, mayo) many times since. Hope you enjoy it. They're particularly fudgy, but I purposely lost the apricot glaze.

The basic brownie mix:

3 c sugar

2 c flour

2 c unsweetened baking cocoa

1-1/2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

Combine all ingredients well and store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Author: Marcie Connelly Lynn
  • 2 c basic brownie mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ c mayonnaise (I prefer Hellmans)
  • 2 eggs
  • Optional: ½ c chopped nuts and/or mini chocolate chips
  1. Combine eggs, vanilla and mayo in a medium bowl. Add the brownie mix and blend until smooth. Mixture will be quite thick. Add nuts or chocolate chips. Pour into 8” square pan, prepared with cooking spray. Bake in 350F (180C) oven for 20-25 mins or until slight imprint remains when lightly touched with finger.
  2. Alternative: Hold off adding the nuts to the batter and instead sprinkle on top of the batter before putting it in the oven.
Short on eggs? You can substitute 1 tbsp white vinegar for an egg in a pinch. Some folks also add 1 tsp baking soda as well, but I use just plain vinegar and it works fine. [br]Short on mayo? Add an extra egg and 1/3 cup of vegetable oil