The sweet treat was ordered by Bertha Palmer to be served at the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in 1893 — and the Palmer House hotel has been serving them up ever since.

By Tanner Saunders
April 05, 2020
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Hotels have given us a lot over the years. They offer us a place to rest our heads after a long day on a work trip and a place to look forward to going on vacation. They’re places where we congregate in the lobby bar before heading out for a night on the town and somewhere to make a temporary home wherever we go.

Credit: Courtesy of Hilton

They’re also responsible for everyday creations we all know and love. For example, did you know the ever-refreshing Piña Colada was invented at the Beachcomber’s Bar at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan back in 1954? Or that the Waldorf salad — the famous chicken salad that combines grapes, celery, walnuts, and apples — was first created at New York City’s Waldorf Astoria in 1896? And not only that, the famed hotel (which is currently closed for a years-long renovation) is also credited with creating eggs benedict, red velvet cake, and Thousand Island dressing.

Credit: Courtesy of Hilton

If you’re looking for a hotel-inspired treat to whip up right now while we’re all stuck at home, it’s time to make something classic — and something you probably eat regularly and had no idea had its roots planted in an American hotel: the brownie. The brownie was created more than 100 years ago, in 1893, at the Palmer House in Chicago. Though the original reference to the classic dessert was first published in a Sears Roebuck catalog in 1898, the sweet treat was ordered by Bertha Palmer to be served at the Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in 1893 — and the hotel has been serving them up ever since.

Now, thanks to our friends at the Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, we’ve got the original recipe for you to recreate at home. Toss on a hotel-worthy robe and bake these delicious brownies and you’ve got yourself an A+ staycation. Don’t forget to toss up some of these hotel live cams on your TV, and between the rich, chocolate taste and awe-inspiring views, you might just find a new slice of paradise.

Or, if you really want to lean into the Palmer House, eat these brownies while taking a virtual tour of the hotel online.

Credit: Courtesy of Hilton

Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel Original Brownie Recipe

Ingredients: 

14oz. semi-sweet chocolate

1lb butter

12oz. granulated sugar

4oz. flour

8 eggs

12oz. crushed walnuts

Vanilla extract

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Mix the sugar and flour together in a bowl. Combine chocolate and flour mixtures. Stir 4 to 5 minutes. Add eggs and continue mixing. ​
  3. Pour mixture into a 9x12 baking sheet. Sprinkle walnuts on top, pressing down slightly into the mixture with your hand. Bake 30-40 minutes. ​
  4. Brownies are done when the edges begin to crisp and has risen about 1/4 of an inch. ​

Note: When the brownie is properly baked, it will remain “gooey” with a toothpick in the middle due to the richness of the mixture.

Glaze:

Mix together 1 c. water, 1 c. apricot preserves, and 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin in sauce pan. Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil for two minutes. Brush hot glaze on brownies while still warm.