Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Miss Diether’s Chocolate Brownies

Posted by bakinghistory on November 9, 2008


Chewy brownie drops made with barley flour, spiced with cinnamon, and full of crunchy toasted almond bits

A very interesting version of brownies, shaped like drop cookies, and flavored with cinnamon, vanilla and a touch of almond extract. They also contain 50% of barley flour, which contributes great flavor and a velvety texture. Toasted almonds provide a wonderful crunch and are very well paired with chocolate. All in all, a variation on classic brownies really worth trying.

From the original recipe by Miss Diether (Boston Cooking School)

In: “American Cookery”, 1917—USA


1/2 cup (113 g) butter

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

2 squares (56 g) unsweetened baking chocolate

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (65 g) AP flour

1/2 cup (75 g)  whole-grain barley flour (stone-ground)

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 tsp pure almond extract

1 cup (145 g) blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C), place the almonds on a cookie sheet and toast them until they are a reddish-brown color. Set aside to cool, then coarsely chop.

Melt the chocolate and set aside.

In a large bowl cream the butter and add the sugar little by little—the mixture does not need to be fluffy. Add the eggs and the melted chocolate, mixing well. Finally mix in the almond and vanilla extract.

Sift together the two flours and the ground cinnamon, then add to the chocolate mixture, stirring gently just until incorporated. Finally stir in the chopped almonds.

Place the mixture for 15 minutes to chill in the refrigerator, and meanwhile lightly grease 2 cookie sheets (preferably insulated).

Shape the brownie drops by rounded teaspoons and bake in a preheated oven (325°F—160°C)  for about 10 minutes.

Let the brownies cool on the baking sheet—they are too fragile to remove while warm.

P.S. I have recreated the original recipe as it was written, so I made the brownies as drop cookies. However, they can be baked in an 8×8-inch square pan (better lined with aluminum foil and then lightly greased) and then cut into bars.


6 Responses to “Miss Diether’s Chocolate Brownies”

  1. Simona said

    I have never used barley flour. This is indeed a very interesting recipe. I like the idea of brownies shaped like cookies.

  2. Louise said

    When I saw that glorious picture, I thought YUM cookies. When I read a little into the rest of the recipe and discovered they were brownies I thought YUMMY, brownies. Although, I was a bit surprised at the use of barley flour. (but what do I know, I just enjoy them, never bake them) Thanks so much for sharing…

  3. bakinghistory said

    @Simona: I think barley flour is great, I love the taste and texture it provides, both in sweet and savory baked goods 🙂

    @ Louise: They are really good, and I was intrigued by the flavorings, which usually are not found in regular brownies, such as almond extract and cinnamon. To me, the combination was great. Barley flour is included because this recipe dates back to WWI, a time when conservation of wheat flour was vital, which encouraged the use of alternative grains. 🙂

  4. Jude said

    Wow a recipe from 1917? Never tried cookies with barley flour before.

  5. Aparna said

    I just picked up a small amount of barley flour last week, just out of curiosity.
    Was wondering what to use it in, now I’ve found something to make. 🙂
    Would these be denser than brownie bars using all purpose flour?

  6. Ivy said

    Your brownies look wonderful. I don’t know how barley tastes. I have just posted a recipe for your event.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: