Katharine Hepburn's Brownie Recipe

I love old movies. Those old black and white classics from the 30s and 40s, like It Happened One Night or Sabrina.  No movie stars of today come close to being as suave and magical as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart, and of course Katharine Hepburn.  So, when I happened across Katharine Hepburn's brownie recipe, which first appeared in The Ladies Home Journal in 1975, there was no doubt in my mind that I needed to make these brownies.    

Until I found this recipe, in my world, there were only two brownies I would ever make and no reason to ever stray from them.  The first is, of course, Betty Crocker's Fudge Brownie Mix.  Betty has a monopoly on fudgy brownies.  She got it absolutely right.  Easy to make and fantastic to eat!  Why even try to bake up something better?  The second recipe, is the healthy brownie recipe I make when I really want brownies but less of the guilt associated from pigging out on those wonderfully fattening treats.  These two types of brownies can answer any brownie occasion. 

And yet, upon discovering this recipe, I stumbled on the world of from-scratch brownies, a world I look forward to exploring.  Katharine Hepburn's brownies are certainly the moistest brownies I've ever had.  They are truly amazing.  I can't imagine how she kept her figure eating brownies like this.  Seriously, this recipe is basically just chocolately, sugary butter.  I mean, how can that not be good?  In fact, these brownies deserve just as much fame as Kate, herself.  ...And the Oscar goes to Katharine Hepburn's brownie recipe!   (Applause)  

As I made these very special brownies, I had one of my favorite Katharine Hepburn movies on, Holiday.  Kate plays the down-to-earth sister of the girl that the happy-go-lucky Cary Grant character is engaged to.  When Cary meets Kate, it's kismet, and suddenly the spoiled sister is not the apple of his eye.  To catch my favorite line from that movie click here and go to 0:06.   

And so, it seems my brownie universe has expanded.  My list of two brownies recipes has expanded to three, and I'm eager to explore other recipes to try.

My recommendation to you is to find a copy of a great Hepburn flick (Holiday, Bringing up Baby, or The Philadelphia Story are my favorites) and make these brownies.  You'll be in Katharine Hepburn heaven!

Katharine Hepburn's Brownies

In 1975, Katharine Hepburn gave her family brownie recipe to gossip columnist Liz Smith to publish in her column.  And that’s how The Ladies Home Journal first introduced the world to these delicious brownies.

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (I opted not to put these in)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan. 

Melt the chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Next, stir in the vanilla extract and eggs.

Finally, stir in the flour, salt and chopped nuts (if using).

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These freeze very well.

Makes 16 brownies.


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