The history of the “brownie,” is a complex one, but the earliest recipe we know of is found in Fannie Merritt Farmer’s, “The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book,” first published in 1896, but notably did not include chocolate. Her recipe was heavy in pecans and, “Porto Rico molasses.” Undeniably, then, we see that the “brownie,” is a New England invention. The recipe has, however, been altered a great deal since it first appeared between, “cup cakes,” and, “ribbon cake,” on pages 424 and 425 of Farmer’s classic original. 

Brownies can be made in about as many different ways as there are cookbooks, and family recipes are passed down between generations, as well. Some contain nuts, some do not, most recipes today contain chocolate, with a cake-like or fudgie consistency. You’ll find my brownies are fudge-like, and I’m fond of the addition of walnuts. This is a family recipe of mine that has been passed down for many years (for good reason, they are scrumptious). With every generation, and every baker, there is a bit of alteration, and this particular recipe is no different. I’ve added a modicum of espresso powder to enhance the dark chocolate flavor in a distinct way that is easy and inexpensive to do, and well worth it

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your own preferences, that’s how recipes have evolved over the years and keep getting better. I think you’ll find the addition of espresso powder in my recipe to be an excellent one!

Yield: 16 – 2″ brownies


3/4 cupMelted butter168g
1 1/2 cupsSugar317g
1 tspVanilla Extract3g
3 ea.Eggs, beaten147g
1/2 cupCocoa powder51g
2 tspEspresso powder4g
3/4 cupAll-purpose Flour114g
1/4 tspBaking powder
Pinch of Salt
3/4 cupChopped Walnuts83g


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Line 8″ square pan with parchment paper, then spray with cooking spray. This allows for easy removal of the brownies from the pan.
  • No mixer required for this recipe.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and melted butter until combined.
  • Add eggs, whisk well.
  • Add Cocca and espresso powder, mix well.
  • With rubber spatular, mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Do not over mix.
  • Fold in walnuts, if using.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, baking time may vary depending on oven. For fudge-like brownies bake for less time, and more cake-like brownies cook a little while longer.

Cutting brownies can usually be a messy job, but if you use a plastic knife you will get clean cuts without the tops of the brownies tearing.

Happy Baking!

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