Sweet home Chicago home to 1st brownie

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Chicago is home to many sweet things and one decadent treat was baked just for the 1893 Columbia Exposition- the brownie. (WLS)

Chicago is home to many sweet things and one decadent treat was baked just for the 1893 Columbia Exposition: the brownie.

Bertha Palmer is behind the first fudgy, chocolaty brownie. Her husband, Potter Palmer, was behind the first great hotel in Chicago: The Palmer House.

"Bertha Palmer, who was president of the Ladies Managers of the World's Fair, was doing box lunches for all the guests but she wanted something other than piece of pie or cake. So she came to the hotel and charged the chef to make something like a cookie. Denser, like a cookie, but chocolatier. She loved chocolate. And ergo, the brownie," Palmer House historian Ken Price said.

That recipe created by Palmer and her chef is still used today, and it's surprisingly easy.

"Very simple. Cake flour, baking soda, sugar, chocolate, fresh eggs, vanilla, baking powder and lots of butter," Palmer House Executive Chef Stephen Henry said.

There's much more to this delicious bite of Chicago history than you might think.
The first Palmer House Hotel opened on September 26th, 1871. Thirteen days later, the Great Chicago Fire burned the brand new structure to the ground. About two years later, the next Palmer House rose from the ashes and the Palmers had created a hotel of firsts.

"First, totally fireproof building. Second, is first utilization of Edison's invention the lightbulb, Bell's invention of the telephone, and actually this contraption called the vertical railroad, which became the Otis Elevator," Price said.
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