Cakes,  Cookies,  Desserts,  Other

King Arthur Flour Chewy Whole Wheat Brownies: The Lost Recipe

To: Bill Tine, Vice President of Marketing, King Arthur Baking Company
From: Diane Brody,
Subject: Permission to Publish Recipe for Whole Wheat Brownies
Date: October 29, 2020, 1:20 PM

Dear Bill,

I have been a loyal subject of King Arthur for nearly 50 years, starting when I was your company’s account manager at the Boston PR firm, Robert Weiss Associates. My highlight was placing your affable bread-baking evangelist Bert Porter on talk shows. Already popular with New England audiences, this buttoned-down, down-home “Mr. King Arthur” required no selling on my part. Who else could demonstrate how to make a loaf of bread so well—even over the radio?

As a bonus, I snagged Bert as my own personal baking mentor. He gave me the courage to dismiss my previous yeasted failures and dive into bread baking, which I did in a big way.

Around that time, my friend Julie* served what she called “King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat Brownies.” These dense, deeply fudgy, nearly gooey bars made me admire King Arthur all the more. How could a brownie that rich and decadent harbor whole-grain wholesomeness? (Turns out that cocoa and whole wheat have a secret love affair, and nobody ever suspects.) It’s a swoon of chocolate with a perfect chew, uniquely grand yet easy to throw together.

Recently I sought out the origins of this recipe. I started with The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook** (1990)—one of my baking bibles—authored by Brinna Sands, wife of King Arthur’s president Frank Sands.

I recognized the recipe as “Chewy Whole Wheat Brownies” under “Whole Wheat for Dessert.” It also showed up as “Grandmother’s Brownies,” under “Cookies & Bars.” It’s from Brinna’s own grandmother, Annie Davis, and apparently so dear to Brinna that she included it twice.

I expected to see the recipe and its pedigree on your baking-mecca-website, but all I have been able to find is “Whole Grain Brownies.” A distant cousin, it calls for white whole wheat flour rather than whole wheat, plus baking powder and chocolate chips.

Why mess with perfection? You should give this heirloom recipe a place of honor on your site so everyone can marvel at it.

I’d love to feature a slight adaptation of this gem (see below) on my blog, Recipephany. Would you give me your blessing? Of course I’d credit King Arthur. It would be a little like old times, when I helped spread the word about a local company dedicated to helping us become better, happier bakers.

Faithfully yours,
Diane Brody

*The same Julie who brought us Kathleen’s Tiny Tarts: short and sweet

**The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook appears to be out of print. Since King Arthur does not publish this classic recipe in any other cookbook or on their website, Recipephany may now be the only authorized source.

From: Bill Tine, Vice President of Marketing, King Arthur Baking Company
To: Diane Brody,
Subject: Permission to Publish Recipe for Whole Wheat Brownies
Date: October 29, 2020, 1:35 PM


Thanks for reaching out and love hearing about the stories of past King Arthur branding efforts.

For the recipe, you are welcome to share the adaptation.  Could you link to our website where you have “courtesy of …”

I’ve bookmarked your blog as well as it’s another great source for inspiration.


King Arthur Flour Chewy Whole Wheat Brownies

Adapted from Julie K.’s recipe, courtesy of King Arthur Baking Company

Preheat oven to 350°.  (Do not use convection setting; it may inhibit the shine.)

  • 1 cup King Arthur whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 2 eggs (3 if you want it less chewy)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in melted butter or margarine and oil, then beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Bake in a lightly greased 9” square pan for about 30 minutes. It should just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and the center should be barely set.
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