Were brownies really invented in Bangor, Maine?

If you have been on Facebook today then you may have seen this meme:
brownie day

In the meme above, there is a claim that brownies were invented in Bangor, Maine. Well, of course, this caught our attention, so we did some digging and this is what we found.

According to Mental Floss,

“Some myths state that a chef accidentally added melted chocolate to some biscuits, or was making cake but didn’t have enough flour; still others say that a housewife in Bangor, Maine, forgot to add baking powder to her chocolate cake.”

While this sounds like a great story for Bangor locals to retell, Mental Floss and other sources like to point to a third story that Chefs at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel had created the delectable dessert for brownies for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.

But since the world of cooking is not without drama there is, of course, strong debate about where brownies got their origin story. A little more digging shows that Fannie Farmer printed what was thought to be the first known brownie recipe in 1905. However, after some back and forth between Maine food educator Mildred Schrumpf and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, it was discovered that in 1904 several cookbooks had printed a recipe for “Bangor Brownies”, preceding Fannie Farmer’s “first” printing of a brownie recipe.

So, three cheers for the Bangor housewife who forgot to use baking powder!

If you’re feeling the spirit of Brownie Day then try making a batch yourself. This video below shows you how to make fudgy or cakey brownies. Have fun!