Today we celebrate all things Deborah Harry! From “Heart of Glass” to “Rapture,” Blondie had a string of hits beginning in the 1970s and continuing through the…oh, wait…wrong Blondie. January 22nd is actually National Blonde Brownie Day. My bad.
Blonde Brownies are often called Blondies, though. They may look like brownies, but they are made with brown sugar instead of chocolate. If you think a brownie without chocolate is sacrilege, you can add chocolate chips to ensure you get your daily dose of cacao. They may also be made with nuts, coconut, toffee, and other candies for added texture. Blonde brownies have a taste reminiscent of butterscotch.
Incidentally, I once got into an argument with a woman over the correct spelling of the word blonde. I insisted it had an “e” on the end, she said it did not. I later learned that both spellings were technically correct, but blonde typically refers to females and blond describes males. Which means, I guess, that the blonde brownies we celebrate today are girls. Good to know. I won’t have to lift mine up now and look at the bottom to figure out the sex.
Brownies were invented in the late 19th century in Chicago. Socialite Bertha Palmer, during the 1893 World’s Fair, wanted a dessert for ladies to enjoy. A chef at the Palmer House Hotel (this is not a coincidence; the hotel was a wedding gift from her husband. Bertha was the Paris Hilton of her day) created a treat that was a cross between a cookie and a cake. Traditionally baked in a pan and sliced into squares, brownies are tasty and portable. I’m not sure what makes them a dessert fit for ladies, but this gentleman sure does dig ’em.
Incidentally, brownies weren’t the only food that debuted at the World’s Fair that year. Cracker Jack, cream of wheat, Juicy Fruit gum, and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer were all served for the first time in 1893. Nowadays, you go to the fair, and the only innovative foods you see are deep fried Twinkies. I’m not sure if that is considered progress or not (though really, was PBR?).
By the way, there is an excellent book about the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair called Devil In The White City by Erik Larson. It intersperses tales of the world’s fair (one of the most spectacular ever staged) with a serial killer who used the setting to lure his victims to their deaths…and it’s a true story. I highly recommend it.
The nice thing about blonde brownies is, they are just as tasty at breakfast. Especially with a tall glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee. It’s always nice when we can cross the challenge off our list early in the day.
- Bake Vanilla Blonde Brownies from Scratch: In Less Than 30 Minutes (thechattymomma.com)