State Fair Classic Recipe: Chocolate Brownies

Thanks to a recent donation from former Administrative Assistant Skipper Vancil, the State Fair Creative Arts Department now has a complete set of Fair cookbooks.

Former State Fair employee Skipper Vancil donated the complete series of Creative Arts Cookbooks
Former State Fair employee Skipper Vancil donated the complete series of Creative Arts Cookbooks

First sold at the State Fair in 1977, the cookbook was originally created by former Creative Arts Director Elizabeth Peabody as a collection of prize winning recipes from previous contest winners. The State Fair continues to serve as a gathering point for the state’s biggest cooking enthusiasts, who return year after year to compete in our contest series.

To showcase the donated collection, we will post classic recipes from past cookbooks that are sure to delight the tastebuds even today. Below is today’s classic recipe – Chocolate Brownies – created by Robin Heinz and published in the first edition of the State Fair of Texas Cookbook, printed in 1977.


P.S. – Some kitchen equipment and food/baking terminology has changed since our first cookbooks were published.  We’ve helped you out by adding suggestions in parenthesis.

Chocolate Brownies

Robin Heinz
Best-in-Show, 1977


1/2 c. butter or margarine
2 squares unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. double-acting baking powder
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. chopped nuts


Lightly grease an 11 x 7 x 1 1/2 inch or a 9-inch square baking pan. Start oven 10 minutes before baking, set to 350º. Put butter and chocolate in top of double boiler; place over hot, not boiling, water to melt. When melted, stir thoroughly and then cool. Sift flour, measure, resift 3 times with baking powder. With rotary beater (or an electric hand mixer), beat eggs until thick and fluffy. Add sugar in 3 portions, beating well after each addition. Beat in chocolate and vanilla. Remove beater and use a wooden spoon to fold in nuts (we suggest walnuts or pecans). Bake until done at 350º (approx. 20 minutes).

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