Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Honestly Good Brownies for Lincoln's Birthday

Happy Birthday, Abraham!

It made me happy that Daniel Day Lewis won a BAFTA Sunday for his compelling performance in Stephen Spielberg's "Lincoln." I have a big, soft spot for the 16th president! He's my favorite. Ask any American kid to name three presidents and they're sure to say: Obama, Washington and Lincoln. His rail-splitter-to-President tale of success is inspirational to youngsters and typifies an age-old ideal of the American dream. That Honest Abe wrote eloquently and intelligently, and was largely self-taught, made me love him even more. I devoured biographies on Lincoln when I was in school. As a fellow native of the Bluegrass State, I was proud that he was a Kentuckian too.

I haven't seen "Lincoln" yet but it's on my must-seel list. Today is Lincoln's birthday and I've always remembered the date — even after the government  lumped his birthday with Washington's (Feb. 22) and called it President's Day (Feb. 18 this year). So, I'm celebrating today with a big pan of Lincoln's Brownies.

Lincoln's Brownies meld in your mouth.
It's a recipe that's been languishing in my recipe box for years. I wrote it down and never wound up making them. I'm sorry to say that I have many recipes like that because I collect more recipes than I make (and I get hung up on favorites!). An Internet search doesn't provide much information about this recipe, aside from a few shares that seem identical to my copy. The recipe ran in a Dec. 1982 issue of Ladies' Home Journal as "Phyllis George's Lincoln's Brownies." The late George was married to Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown.

I have no idea why they are called Lincoln's Brownies. Maybe it's the union of the chocolate brownies and the pale cheesecake? The old ebony and ivory metaphor? That would be nice. I have read that Lincoln liked to eat Gingerbread Cookies. But I made Gingerbread for Christmas and Gingersnaps for Epiphany, so I've decided on Lincoln's Brownies. If anyone knows anything more about the history of these integrated treats, please let me know. 

Lincoln's Brownies
1 c butter
4 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 1/2 c sugar, divided
4 eggs
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 c chopped nuts
2 tsp vanilla, divided
1 pkg (8 oz.), cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or spray a 13x9-inch baking pan, then line with parchment paper; butter or spray parchment paper. 

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat (or microwave about 3 minutes in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring at the halfway point). Let cool.

With wire whisk, beat in 2 c sugar and 3 eggs until blended. Stir in vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and nuts until blended.

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese with remaining 1/2 c sugar. Add remaining egg and 1 tsp vanilla until blended, about 3 minutes.

I forgot to add the nuts, so I sprinkled them on top.
Drop 6 dollops of cream cheese mixture on top of batter. Firmly swirl with a spatula to marbleize. Spread in prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack until partially cooled, then turn out onto rack and remove paper to cool completely. Makes 4 1/2 dozen.

Swirl with a spatula. 

This recipe is being featured in the Hearth & Soul blog hop, sponsored by 21st Century Housewife and Savoring Today.

It also was shared on the following blog hops:  Everyday Food & Drinks, Jam Hands' Recipe Sharing MondayMelt in Your Mouth Monday and Flour Me With Love.


  1. Good grief, these look amazing!
    Found you at Lisa's Try a New recipe hop....
    I hardly ever get a chance to look over the other bloggers who link there so I am trying to make an effort to do so...Love this and love the hop.Getting to know many:)
    I pinned this so we can bake it after lent..
    Thank you.
    (Campfires and Cleats)

  2. Hi Chris, Thanks so much for popping by! I'm new to Lisa's Try a New blog but I can't wait to check out everyone's blog (and yours!). These will make a great post-Lent treat! Thanks for the pin too!

  3. I really enjoyed this post, as I have always admired Abraham Lincoln too. Your Lincoln's Brownies look just delicious. They must be so moist and rich with all those lovely wholesome ingredients! I'm going to feature them in my H&S post tomorrow.

  4. Thanks, April - I'm glad you enjoyed it! You're right, Lincoln's Brownies are rich and rewarding. I'm excited about being featured in the Heart & Soul post again - it's one of my favorite Internet spots!

  5. Hi! I saw your post on Jam Hands' Recipe Sharing Monday :) This looks super good. I actually made a cake for Lincoln, Vanilla Almond Cake, which was his favorite that his wife made. I got the recipe from cakespy.com and I would love for you to check it out, it's amaaazing. http://teenagecakeland.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/mary-todd-lincoln-vanilla-almond-cake/

  6. Hi Dru, Your cake looks wonderful and I love that it's Mary Todd Lincoln's recipe! The extra details about her sugar usage made it all the more interesting. I look forward to giving it a go. I think your first frosting was actually a success - it looked good. However, your second effort, the glaze, looked gorgeous! I hope you'll try these brownies - you will not be disappointed. :)