Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies


With all the hoopla surrounding the Acadamy Awards this weekend, I wanted to make something appropriate for the occasion and worthy of an Oscar.

I think I nailed it with Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies.  Wow. 

As she is one of the greatest stars in the history of American Cinema, these brownies garnered their own spotlight in my kitchen.  This recipe accompanied a 1975 Ladies Home Journal interview with Katherine Hepburn and was revitalized by Saveur. 

I have always loved Katherine Hepburn, seeing her as utterly fearless in her performances, spoken words and actions.  I wish I had a diminutive amount of her nerve. 

It makes complete sense she eloquently embraced her role in the 1967 contoversial film, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.  I loved that movie as well as my other Hepburn fave, African Queen.  Her dynamic performances were legendary.

So back to the recipe…what intrigued me most about these brownies was the scant amount of flour used in the process – only a quarter cup.  Who isn’t trying to cut out white flour?  And as you can see by the fudgeladen photo…a larger amount of flour was not missed.

Overall, these brownies were amazing.  Bravo Katherine, these were damn good.  Can’t you hear her saying that?

Let’s make them…they are a cinch…put together in minutes in one saucepan and tossed in the oven….so simple.  I can even picture Katherine slamming around in the kitchen proclaiming she doesn’t have time for a more complicated recipe.  At least that’s how I imagine it.

Here’s what you will need:  Unsalted butter, unsweetened chocolate, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, walnuts, flour and table salt.

This recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate.  Obviously the better quality chocolate you use, the better your brownies will taste.  For unsweetened chocolate, I always use Scharffen Berger 99% cacao.  It gives a fuller flavor than your regular Hershey’s or supermarket brand.  There really is a difference.

In a 2-quart saucepan over low-heat, melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter with 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 cup sugar.

Stir in 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract to make a smooth batter.

Add 1 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon table salt; stir until incorporated.

Prepare an 8″ x 8′ baking dish by greasing it with butter.  Then line the pan with parchment paper and grease it as well.  Pour the batter into the lined dish and spread evenly.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Since you have lined your pan with parchment you can immediately remove the brownies from the dish, leaving them to cool.

 

When cooled, cut into nine squares and serve.

Sheer and utter bliss will come to those who make these.

Remember, these hardly have any flour so they are practically diet food.

Perfection. 

Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt

In a 2-quart saucepan over low-heat, melt butter with unsweetened chocolate, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in sugar.  Stir in eggs and vanilla extract to make into a smooth batter.  Add walnuts, flour and salt; stir until incorporated.

Prepare an 8″ x 8′ baking dish by greasing it with butter.  Then line the pan with parchment paper and grease it as well.  Pour the batter into the lined dish and spread evenly.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Since you have lined your pan with parchment you can immediately remove the brownies from the dish, leaving them to cool.

When cooled, cut into nine squares and serve.

What I Was Complaining About One Year Ago Today:  My Crazy Place

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78 Comments

  1. susan 1

    yum! Have you ever taken a tour of the Scharffen Berger factory? It’s kind of fun and educational…pretty short. A physician and his patient (Scharffenberger) started the company stemming from their passions… here’s the link:
    link to scharffenberger.com
    Just in case you haven’t toured their factory in Berkeley, CA. If you have and/or know their history…never mind 😀

    I made your recipe for the white bean dip tonight– “Perfectly, perfect.” I’d been waiting for some time to make it and had to improvise, as I left my green onions at a friend’s home–accidentally–after our trip to Trader Joe’s in Chico, CA. He lives in Redding (TJ’s is coming soon! yay!!) and I live near Mt. Shasta…oh well…I ended up using a red onion–still–what a tasty combo and my family liked it a lot. Thank you for posting and I look forward to trying it with green onions next time.

    Thank you and bless your busy hands!

    Reply
  2. HoneyB 2

    I totally believe you…this sounds much like the recipe I just made however it is in a 9×13 pan instead – the ingredients just double! YUMMM. Good thing I can’t literally reach in the screen or at almost 4 AM I’d be chowing down on brownies!

    Reply
  3. Flea 3

    Oh. My. Word. You evil genius, finding such delicious creations. :) Mmm!

    Reply
  4. Laura 4

    A) I’m not cutting them into little squares; I’m just eating the whole thing as one big snack.
    B) Lining the pan is new to me and I think it’s simply genius…too busy eating brownies to clean.

    Reply
  5. My favorite Katherine Hepburn quote is, “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.”

    I loved the way she thought and these brownies look amazing!!!

    Thanks for posting this one!

    Reply
  6. One can never go wrong with brownies , they suffice for any and all occasions and there are no left overs, just happy people wanting more. This does look like a very good recipe, and this Kathryn ( I know, differs from her spelling ) will be making this recipe!

    Reply
  7. nina 7

    Diet food!!! That is so funny!!! I for one are trying to cut out white flour so this is ideal for a treat!!! Thx for sharing. I cannot wait for tonight’s Oscars!

    Reply
  8. Those would be perfect for Ben’s b-day!

    Reply
  9. These look amazing – and after remembering her size – I can’t believe she ate even one. These are going on my “To Try” list! Thanks!

    Reply
  10. Laura 10

    sounds yummy i have a question for you… have you ever made anything with pure cane syrup? my DH got a bottle at christmas time and I have not yet figured out what exactly to do with it… it is a bottle of home made syrup so no preservatives.
    thanks for any ideas.

    Reply
  11. deeba 11

    Elegance personified…wish we got this delicious 99% chocolate here! Just perfect Cathy! Yes, I think you nailed it too!!

    Reply
  12. Barbie with a T 12

    Such perfect squares. I have never seen such perfection in brownies before, and with only 1/4 cup of flour. WOW, that is amazing. I bet those didn’t last long once they were cut. Very interesting about Katherine Hepburn. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  13. Julie 13

    Yes, it’s diet food…I’ll keep chanting that to myself as I consume them all.

    Reply
  14. These are definitely star worthy brownies Cathy:D

    Reply
  15. These have hardly any flour so they’re diet food…that’s how I prefer to look at it as well. :)

    Have you ever seen The Lion In Winter with Katherine Hepburn? In my opinion, her best performance ever. If you haven’t seen it, get it. It’s one of my all time favorites.

    Reply
  16. Fudgy and dense, just with way I like them. I’ve cut and pasted this one. Looks heavenly.

    Reply
  17. imom 17

    My daughter was looking for a brownie recipe the other day and I had to warn her that homemade brownies usually turn out dry. These look really moist. I’ll give her this recipe next time she wants to make some!

    Reply
  18. Becky 18

    You’ve got me craving these brownies with a cold glass of milk. And I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet.
    Not good. It will set the pace for the whole day.

    Reply
  19. Oh wow–they’re almost flourless–I definitely want to try those!!

    Katherine Hepburn and I share a bday so I’ve always felt a connection to her–looks like she was def. onto something w/ those brownies!!

    Reply
  20. Shaye 20

    I should know better than to look before breakfast. One look at those brownies and my stomach started growling and I actually started drooling a little bit. They look like just the thing for Fat Tuesday. 😉

    Reply
  21. Katrina 21

    “You old poop”–may be one of my favorite Katherine Hepburn lines.
    Have you seen Wait Until Dark? That’s a really good movie she did, my friend and I screamed!
    I’ve heard/seen her brownie recipe, but never tried them. Holy Yum!

    Reply
  22. Misty 22

    YUMMY! I feel like I can gain tons of weight from just looking at them! I think I would forget about losing weight for these babies! They look wonderful Cathy!

    Reply
  23. I love brownies, perfect for a wedding or an afternoon…

    Ok, it doesn’t match her Calla Lily quote, but it is the best I could come up with this morning.

    Reply
  24. Pam 24

    Now this is my kind of brownie. Rich, delicious and gooey. Excellent recipe.

    Reply
  25. Rosa 25

    What wonderful Brownies! They look really moist and fudgy… Yummy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    Reply
  26. I feel happy just looking at these beauties! Yum!

    Reply
  27. Trisha 27

    One of these days I will learn! Looking at your fudgey brownies is making my stomach growl!

    Reply
  28. Maureen 28

    I want one NOW, please!

    Reply
  29. Laurie 29

    Your family must ADORE you! These look so moist and delicious. Awesome photos too, as always!

    Reply
  30. Louise 30

    These are a winner in my book! I heard that Scharffen Berger is either halting or moving production from the bay area. Sad either way, but sure hope it is just a move.

    Reply
  31. Greg 31

    Cathy,

    I just woke up, still in a pre-coffee haze, but that does not stop me from wanting to eat one of those! They really look great.

    I’m going to send you an email about my wine… our first release is coming out soon!

    Reply
  32. They look so moist!!! I was so close to licking the screen!

    Reply
  33. Sandie 33

    Is there any woe a gorgeous plate of brownies can’t cure, at least temporarily?

    And yes, I can definitely hear Katherine Hepburn proclaiming, “These brownies are damn good.”

    As always, she remains fabulous! (And I can’t wait to try her brownies—thanks, Cathy!)

    Reply
  34. Those look insanely amazingly delicious. Wow.

    Reply
  35. Alisa 35

    Yummy! Thanks for remembering my supposed diet!

    Reply
  36. kathleen 36

    can you do these without walnuts? they look amazing but i HATE nuts in baked goods.

    Reply
  37. I love Katherine and I know I will love these diet brownies. I’m with laura-forget about cutting them-I’m digging in with my hands and slapping anyone who comes within a 10 foot radius.

    Reply
  38. elra 38

    Wow, look at that beautiful Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies, so moist and delicious. It must be! the chocolate brand say it all.
    Cheers,
    Elra

    Reply
  39. Bob 39

    Nice, those look bad ass.

    Reply
  40. grace 40

    i enjoy katherine hepburn and i enjoy her brownies. lovely execution, cathy!

    Reply
  41. Elyse 41

    These look so deliciously fudgy! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a while now, and you’ve given me the pictorial inspiration I needed to make this recipe!!

    Reply
  42. MY GOOD GRIEF!! hese look unbelievable. I would so love one, ok 2, right now. I am printing as we speak. LOVE you for making these!

    Reply
  43. Um…Wow.

    Reply
  44. Rebel 44

    Oh My!!! I can’t wait to try these. I’ve got some kids who love brownies. Thanks.

    Reply
  45. Biz 45

    Hannah will die when she sees this recipe – she loves brownies!

    Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is one of my favorite movies – next to Marty with Earnest Borgnine (sp?). That is my #1 movie of all time!

    Reply
  46. dawn 46

    Hepburn is one of my favorite actors of ALL TIME. Her quick wit, her energy…she was an original. It’s no dount her brownies have that “no messing around” character to them.

    Reply
  47. Wow, wow, wow! Those brownies look amazing. I’m usually a no-nut-brownie type of gal, but I think I’ll make an exception for your Katherine Hepburn brownies.

    Reply
  48. Liz C. 48

    KH was one of my favorites as well & the brownies look absolutely scrumptious! Wasn’t that one of the best Oscars ever with Hugh Jackman? Musicals are back!

    Reply
  49. phillygirl64 49

    Kate Rocks!

    My version of Kate’s recipe has you add a layer of raspberry jam in it

    Reply
  50. Lisa 50

    These are my favorite brownies. They are soo flipping easy. I just use my big pyrex mixing bowl and microwave the chocolate and butter together. I then mix it all up in the same bowl. Woo hoo. Who can resist a one bowl recipe. Plus, it’s so simple but the results are great. I’ll have to use a higher quality of chocolate, but choco-plebes fear not, you can use just bakers, or ghiradelli or whatever you have on hand and get great results.

    Reply
  51. Wow…Well, if they are good enough for Katherine, they must be good enough for me!

    Reply
  52. pam 52

    Wow, so they’re a cross between a brownie and an almost flourless chocolate cake.

    Reply
  53. Wow, am I glad I found this site! Sadly, I found it while home with a stomach bug . . . but I WILL be back. PS I’m a UCDS grad but didn’t know about the tunnel.

    Reply
  54. I’ll skip the Oscars and take the brownies.

    Ina Garten makes a very fudgy brownie too that has very little flour.

    I have some of that fancypants chocolate in my cabinet right now. Perhaps I need a project…

    Reply
  55. Marjie 55

    I don’t get the Oscars at all. Or any other awards shows, for that matter. Can someone tell me why I should care?

    Brownies, on the other hand, my children care about very much. I must not let them find this recipe!

    Reply
  56. Generators of sheer and utter bliss *and* diet-worthy? Lead me to ’em! :)

    Reply
  57. Linda 57

    Last year my daughter and I began our quest for the perfect brownie. We’ve been sampling all sorts and keeping a journal of our findings. I know, we consider it serious investigative work. I’ll add this recipe and try it out!

    Reply
  58. Melynda 58

    Can a person have too many brownie recipes? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    Reply
  59. Melissa 59

    They look divine :)
    I have one question: How much is 2 ounces of chocolate?
    Thanks!
    Melissa

    Reply
  60. Ack! They’re pure fudgey goodness. This is the way all brownies should be.

    Reply
  61. Dragon 61

    These are definitely award winning. Yum!

    Reply
  62. These look wonderful — I’ve heard about them but never made them!

    Reply
  63. Amber 63

    This is almost spooky. I wanted to respond. I was just being sarcastic about being alone, but thank you kindly for the encouragement. I mostly enjoy my time alone. Just miss my children. But then Sophie snuggles up and all is well.
    So today, I made and posted something chocolate. Yes you guessed it. Brownies. Then I come here and…Whoa! Brownies. I will try these because I just can not find what I am looking for. You take the greatest photos.

    Reply
  64. Terrific recipe to convert to gluten free. :-) I just heard about this chocolate from a friend in Calgary, believe it or not. He can buy the bars at his dollar store for $1! These brownies are utter bliss, indeed!

    Shirley

    Reply
  65. dawn 65

    I didn’t know K. Hepburn ate, let alone desserts. She was always so bone thin.
    I’m shocked! How friggin wild.

    Reply
  66. KAYOLA 66

    Just the pictures have me salivating…boy do I ♥ chocolate…yummmmm

    Reply
  67. I heard about this recipe years ago, but never tracked it down. Thanks for bringing it back — hats off to Kate, who is a star among stars, and obviously made a great brownie, too.

    Reply
  68. sharon 68

    Oh, I can just feel the fudgy goodness all the way over here! Do you really think famous people eat anything remotely like this, though? I thought they just ate celery :)

    Reply
  69. YUM! Made these and they are wonderful!

    Reply
  70. Egghead 70

    Those look sinful. I love Katherine Hepburn as well. What an amazing lady. I laugh when I think of her not allowing her hired help to mow down a huge patch of Queen Anne’s Lace because she loved how they looked. She said, “No matter that they are weeds. I just like their looks.”

    Reply
  71. Olivia 71

    These look really great. I love brownies fudgey and it looks like the scarce amount of flour achieved just that.

    Reply
  72. I’ll make these brownies for watching the African Queen

    Reply
  73. Laura 73

    I love Katherine Hepburn too–by far and way my favorite of the old movie stars. I love her Cary Grant films best, esp Philadelphia Story, although my husband has never let me forget she happily calls her husband “lord and master” in it.

    These look great.

    Reply
  74. Nanette 74

    These brownies rock! They were SO yummy. I’ve made them twice now and they are a new favorite!

    Reply
  75. Cathy–I finally made these today and they are incredible! I made them for my BIL who does not eat nuts in baked goods, so I left those out and shortened the baking time a bit. The secret is to let them cool properly before cutting … which is a HARD thing to do. LOL They were easy to convert to gluten free by just replacing the AP flour with my gluten-free flour mix and adding a little xanthan gum. Thanks so much for this recipe. BTW, my favorite Katharine Hepburn movie was Desk Set, where Bunny (Hepburn) runs the reference library and answers all sorts of questions far better than any contestant on Jeopardy. Spencer Tracy comes in as the engineer/ efficiency expert with computers, which ultimately can’t compete with Bunny and her staff. :-)

    Thanks so much for another great recipe!
    Shirley

    Reply
  76. I made these brownies this morning. I loved the fact that they could be made in one pan. I tasted them before they had finished cooling down however they were much better later in the day. Mine turned out fudgy and not as chocolately as I would have liked. I did not use the Sharfenburger chocolate. I used Giradelli. I thought of adding a tsp of expresso to the mix. Ina Garten does that with her brownies to kick up the chocolate taste.

    Reply
  77. Mary 77

    I made these brownies and they were the most amazing brownies I’ve ever had. Simply unforgettable. Check them out! (Although my pictures don’t hold a candle to yours!)

    Reply
  78. I just made these brownies for Oscar Night to, mostly because Laurie Colwin wrote so enthusiastically about it in her book. And everyone was right, these really are the best brownies ever. I love how the outsides get crisp, yet the insides stay so moist. Next time I’ll try your parchment paper idea.

    Reply

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