This article was written by Patch Editor Ashley Reams.
It’s safe to say that Bertha Honoré Palmer was an amazing woman.
Not only is she recognized for founding Temple Terrace and advocating for women, she’s also credited with helping invent the brownie.
Before Bertha bought 19,000 acres of property in the Temple Terrace area in 1910 and planned for a community of about 500 wealthy people here, she married Chicago real estate mogul Potter Palmer.
Potter built her a hotel in Chicago as a wedding present and called it The Palmer, according to a story on examiner.com. When the Great Chicago Fire blazed through the city 13 days later, The Palmer burned to the ground.
So, Potter rebuilt the structure, and this time named it The Palmer House, the story states. It was completed in 1875.
In 1893, Bertha played a major role in creating the World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World.
Fair attendees stayed at The Palmer House, according to the examiner story, and Bertha made sure the guests were comfortable.
“For Mrs. Palmer that meant asking her chef to create a desert that would not dirty the hands of the guests,” the examiner story states. “What he came up with was the brownie.”
Here is the original recipe, according to examiner.com:
1 lb. 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
1 lb. butter
1 lb. 8 oz. granulated sugar
8 oz. cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 lb. crushed walnuts
1 cup water
1 cup apricot preserves
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1. Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler.
2. Mix sugar, flour, baking power in a bowl.
3. Mix chocolate/butter combo with dry ingredients for 4 to 5 minutes.
4. Mix in eggs.
5. Pour batter into a 9-by-12 inch baking pan. Sprinkle and press walnuts on top.
6. Bake in oven at 300 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.
7. Brownie will be ready when edges are crispy but middle is still gooey.
8. Remove tray from oven and allow brownie to cool for about 30 minutes.
9. While brownie cools mix water, preserves and gelatin in a saucepan and let mixture boil for two minutes.
10. Pour hot glaze over cool brownies.
11. Place in freezer for 3 to 4 hours, and then cut into portions.
The Palmer House still exists today as a landmark known for its delectable dishes and luxury suites, the story states. The original brownie recipe is still used.