Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Bangor Brownies

Posted by bakinghistory on July 12, 2007


Fudgy, moist, chocolaty, and full of walnuts.

From the original recipe by Maria Willett Howard

In “Lowney’s Cook Book” 1912–USA


1/4 cup (57 g) butter (room temperature)

3/4 cup (95 g) flour

1 cup (200 g) brown sugar

1 egg (room temperature)

3 squares (90 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

1 cup (120 g) shelled walnuts pieces

1/4 tsp (1.5 g) salt

Cream the butter, add gradually the brown sugar, add the egg and beat until well incorporated, then add the melted chocolate. Stir in the flour sifted with the salt and finally fold in the walnut pieces.

Place the batter into an 8×8-inch (20×20 cm) square pan lined with aluminum foil (cut the foil large enough to overhang from the sides of the pan) smoothing it with the back of a spoon and bake in a preheated oven (325°F-165°C) for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out slightly moist. It is important not to over bake them.

Use the foil to take the cooked brownie out of the pan and transfer on a rack to cool. When cold cut the brownie into 9 squares and peel off the foil.


5 Responses to “Bangor Brownies”

  1. elf said

    How did they taste?

    According to The All-American Cookie Book, by Nancy Baggett, the first published brownie recipe was in the 1906 edition of The Boston Cooking School Cook Book and the next two were in the 1907 edition of Lowny’s Cook Book. Were there still two recipes in the 1912 edition? I’m curious because Baggett’s recipe for Lowny’s Brownies is a bit different from the one you posted. I made them once and they were terrible, but I keep wondering whether the recipe was bad or whether I did something wrong (for example, accidentally doubling the sugar).

  2. bakinghistory said

    Hi! 🙂

    Yes, there are still the same two recipes for Brownies in the 1912 edition, of which I have a (very battered) copy.

    As far as I know, Fannie Farmer taught Maria Willett Howard at the Boston Cooking School; Maria apparently created Lowney’s brownies based on Miss Farmer’s 1906 brownies recipe. I wonder whether the Bangor Brownies recipe is an original creation of Maria’s, or simply another variation she made on the first recipe by Fannie Farmer.

    I think they taste very good, the texture is moist and slightly grainy, I like the high ratio of walnuts. Baker’s chocolate adds its distinctive taste. I still have to try the other recipe, which calls for more butter and eggs (and less chocolate!) than this one.
    What did you dislike in Lowney’s brownies?

  3. elf said


    I thought the brownies were much too sweet, insufficiently chocolatey (surprise!) and generally lacking in flavor (vanilla would have helped, but I realize that Americans didn’t have easy access to it back then). I’m also not a huge fan of nuts in brownies, so I left them out.

    Maybe this just wasn’t the right recipe for me. The only reason I chose it is that I happened to have all the ingredients on hand.

  4. bakinghistory said

    Yes, it’s true, these earliest versions have much less chocolate than modern ones, and more sugar.

  5. Switzerland School said

    Did you say the brownies were terrible please let me know PLEASE I MUST MAKE A RECIPE!!

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