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    Entries in chocolate (19)


    The History of…. The Brownie.. (Maybe)

    The History of…. The Brownie.. (Maybe)

    History intrigues me. I always have felt you cannot look to the future until you look at your past. My 5th grade teacher Mr. Fickart said “History Repeats Itself”…

    This is a new idea I have regarding history of food. When I was researching my latest book L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants three of the recipes in the book were “firsts”. I thought it would be an interesting blog as to the “firsts” as we know them in food. Or the claims we have heard. With a recipe or two thrown in. 

    The Brownie.

    Many have claimed they invented what today we know as “the Brownie”  I enjoy the Potter and Bertha Horne Palmer story. It all starts at the Palmer (Today known as The Palmer Hotel ~ A Hilton Hotel). Today the Palmer sits 17 E. Monroe (at State) in Chicago. The current hotel is the third Palmer at this location. The first was built in 1871 (as a wedding gift to his wife) and 13 days later it burnt down in the Great Chicago Fire. Four years later, it reopened as “The World’s Only Fire Proof Hotel”. In the 1920’s the current hotel was built bigger on the same site to accommodate the business in downtown. Today the Palmer has 1,641 rooms that make it the second largest hotel in Chicago.

    Bertha Palmer was the President of the Board of Ladies Managers of the World’s Columbian Commission in 1890. Duties of the President were important besides conducting and leading dozens of the lady managers of the board. Because of her influence and stature in the community and having the largest most opulent hotel didn’t hurt. Bertha called on her pastry chef at the hotel to design a dessert for the upcoming woman’s picnic for the board (It was held at Grant Park in the Ladies Pavilion). She knew the ladies could not have a piece of cake or pie in their picnic basket without it ruining their gloves.  Cookies were too mundane. So he created a “bar cookie” of sorts. Today when you stay at the Palmer, you get a brownie during turn down service.

    Technically, there is no written evidence on menus or such that the Palmer called them Brownies. The first recipe for “brownies” in a cookbook was Fanny Famer, in the 1896 edition of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. But it didn’t have chocolate, so it was what we today all a “Blondie”. The first time in print with reference to Chocolate and Brownie was on April 1st, 1898 in the Kansas City Journal on sale for .15 cents a pound. The updated 1909 Boston Cooking School Cookbook had two recipes one for Brownies with and one without chocolate.

    Palmer House Brownie Recipe

    1909 Boston Cooking School Recipe

    Pumpkin Brownies

    Here is a list of my October Classes and Signings

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    Chocolate Pecan Bars

    Chocolate Pecan Bars.. They are too hot to cut! 

    Here is the recipe.. Have a great weekend! 

    Chocolate Pecan Bars


    Double Chocolate Walnut Cookies

    I posted pictures of my classes here in the south and so many requests for these cookies.. Here you go!


    Update on France 2017.. 1/2 full! Email for details.


    Cookie Time.. Red Walnuts and Lavender Buds!

    Last weekend I went to the Temecula Farmers Market looking around for new fresh items of the season. Red Walnuts and Lavender Buds for cooking.  The walnuts were a bright hue of red that do not loose their color when baking. If you are not close to this farmers market you can get them from Amazon.

    Notice the pure color that does not look like they are just dyed.

    I made Red Walnut Oatmeal cookies that turned out terrific! Here is the recipe:

    Red Walnut Oatmeal Cookies 

    Keys Creek Lavender Farm up the road from Temecula has a table filled with the only organic certified farm for lavender around. The farm used to be open to the public, but now only if you are attending a class or function. Their Linen spray is the best on the market and made at the farm. I purchased the food grade buds to make lavender sugar and to decorate the cookies.

    Have you even purchased something from I was looking around at rolling pins and found these remarkable tools from Rolling Woods: They even make to order.. They are out of Poland, but no worries if you order with Paypal.. My pins arrived within 3 weeks from ordering! Rolling Woods

    I made Lavender Butter Cookies using the Lavender buds and European butter:

    Lavender Shortbread Cookies 


    Lastly,  I am a sucker for a good Chocolate Chip Cookie. I love how these turned out with the soft inside and outside with a little crunch. They also look like ones my grandmother made..


    Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies







    Thursday is National Cheesecake Day.. Post coming soon.. I will be on LIVE CW6 San Diego Living.. Tune in.. 9am! 



    Father's Day

    Monday on SDLiving I will be doing a special show for Dad's.. Mainly my dad!

    Here is a rare picture of us.. Mom really didn't let Dad hold us.. In fact some didn't think we had legs that worked! Father's Day is a tough day for gifts.. You try to get something useful yet fun.. So I came up years ago with a blend of Cinnamon Sugar that dad likes on his buttered toast in the mornings.. I packaged it and put lables with this picture.. Wala! A perfect personal gift.. We will be making this and also a Steak/Rub rub. Also some of Dad's Favorite Chocolate Desserts!

    Join me on SDLiving Tomorrow LIVE at 9am.. Here are the recipes...

    Dad's Cinnamon

    Dad's Steak Rub

    Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes

    Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies 


    See you on the HAL Flagship... The ms Amsterdam on Sunday out of Seattle.. Heading to Alaska for a week! 

    We are 1/2 full for France 2016.. Will you be coming with us? It maybe our last weeks in the villas for a while..