Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies

by cakeduchess on February 9, 2012 · 33 comments

Could I possibly find another brownie recipe that I desperately need to try? I have a whole file with brownie recipes dating back to when I was first clipping recipes back when I was in middle school.

The pages are yellowed and frayed. But I save every one of those recipes because I’m sentimental like that. Here is a brownie recipe I’ve had my eye on for quite a few years. I’m not sure why I didn’t make them, but I’m pretty happy I finally did! It’s a recipe that accompanied a 1975 Ladies Home Journal interview with the amazing actress Katherine Hepburn and it was republished by Saveur. It was apparently a family recipe of the iconic Ms. Hepburn.

I was intrigued by the minimal amount of flour in the recipe and by the ease of the recipe. Intrigued for years, it was about time I made these brownies. What took me so long?

These are melt in your mouth kind of brownies.

The sort of brownies that you sneak another one of while the kids aren’t looking.

These brownies are dangerous. Very dangerous.

Super easy to make brownies that are moist, crumbly and fudgy. The batter is put together in a flash: less than 10 minutes! I added just a little bit of espresso to give it a kick.

Katherine Hepburn’s Brownies

8 tbps unsalted butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 tablespoons brewed espresso
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 325°F . Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper; set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in the espresso (or coffee). Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to make a smooth batter. Add the flour, salt, and stir until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes (i checked mine at about 38 minutes and they were done. Every oven is different so you may want to check yours at around 35 minutes).

Let cool on a rack. Cut into squares and serve.

brownie perfection:)

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

A Thought For Food February 9, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Fabulous brownies and I love the story behind them!


anniebakes February 9, 2012 at 4:00 pm

I can’t think of anything that would be better at this minute! anne


Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes February 9, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Haha, I try every brownie recipe too! These look amazing!


Shawn February 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Back to my kitchen to make them right now…Seriously!


Priyanka February 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Great looking brownies, and proves your point on sneaking… :)


Sudha February 9, 2012 at 5:13 pm

Ohh Lora,just can’t keep my hands off these!And to think that the great Ms. Hepburn actually munched on these brownies – that adds a new dimension to them altogether!Awesome!
Ongoing Event – ‘Love for Lentils’


Jan February 9, 2012 at 8:13 pm

I’ve heard of these brownies! I had no idea they only had a quarter cup of flour. They look amazing.


Eva {Not your mama's dinner} February 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm

These brownies look just perfect. A little bit like miss Hepburn herself, I would say. Nicely done! Thanks for the inspiration…


Rose in VT February 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I have a yellowed copy of this recipe too! Can’t even remember when I clipped it , but is THE brownie recipe in this house!


Donna February 9, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Oh my…my sister’s superlative recipe for brownies she made (and I had the great fortune of sharing)..in high school in the late ’70s….She was always the biggest Katherine Hepburn fan and imagined her baking these for Spencer Tracey…

They are fudgey, decadent….TOP! My next brownie bake is this one!!!


Paula February 10, 2012 at 1:01 am

So happy that you went through your old magazine clipped recipes and found this one. Katherine Hepburn was a class act (as are you) and so are these brownies!


foodwanderings February 10, 2012 at 3:28 am

Hey girlie I made S chewy brownies in one of his care packages. Next I will bake these beauties!! I might be tempted to keep them for myself.


Nancy February 10, 2012 at 4:33 am

You are not alone – I have 6 shoe boxes full of 3 x 5 cards – my mother’s entire recipe collection and guess what? This recipe is one of them! i can attest this are very dangerous brownies… and so worth making!


Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! February 10, 2012 at 6:22 am

This recipe seems so simple, and for once, I’m not intimidated by the thought of making brownies. Maybe this will be my dessert choice for this weekend… Thanks for the great post! :)


Ken│hungry rabbit February 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Love the simplicity of this scrumptious brownie recipe. Much like Ms. Hepburn, it’s a classic.


marla February 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Dangerous brownies sound amazing girl!! Fun recipe :)


Monet February 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Yum! Any brownie recipe with that ratio of butter to flour just has to be good. Thank you for sharing, sweet girl. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Hugs and love from Austin.


Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking February 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Lora, these brownies look decadent and delicious! What a wonderful recipe to share – I’m inspired to make them myself! Have a wonderful weekend.


EveryCraving February 11, 2012 at 2:42 am

Those look delicious! Makes me majorly crave chocolate right now.


Bunkycooks February 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm

That is a tiny amount of flour, but okay with me. The fudgier, the better, when it comes to brownies! I agree with Ken. Ms. Hepburn is a classic and so is the recipe.


Baking Serendipity February 12, 2012 at 4:40 am

I think brownie recipes are a fantastic thing to collect :) These look perfect!


DessertForTwo February 12, 2012 at 5:49 am

These are my go-to brownies!


Angie's Recipes February 12, 2012 at 8:55 am

Love those rich brownies flavoured with espresso!


Karriann February 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Mmmm… I’d love to have a bite of that!

“Happy Cooking”


Mari February 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm

These brownies look great! I like the recipe a lot! Will try. Thanks :)


Reeni February 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I’ve had my eye on these for a long time Lora! You make them look and sound as sinful as I thought they would be! xoxo


livingthesweetlifeblog February 13, 2012 at 2:24 am

In true Hepburn style – - (both Audrey & Katherine) these are both simple and gorgeous :)


Cookin' Canuck February 13, 2012 at 4:35 am

That’s so funny that you posted this. I was just telling my kids about Katherine Hepburn yesterday – how she rocked the boat when she started wearing pants before any other lady in Hollywood. If these brownies are as good as her movies, then I need to whip up a batch…pronto.


Jamie February 13, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Sweetheart, this recipe is in the New York Cookbook and I used to make it years ago when I first got the book. They are simply fabulous! Love your photo!


Maureen February 13, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I love this recipe! I was watching Jamie Oliver the other day and he did brownies and he said that he always undercooks them just a tad and the edges never go hard. I’m anxious to try that. I figure I can eat the middle with a spoon when nobody is looking. A big spoon. :)


Catherine February 14, 2012 at 5:34 am

Mmm.. you can never have a brownie that is too rich.

(Click here to enter my anthropologie kitchen tools giveaway.)


Shannen February 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm

I absolutely love this brownie recipe. It is a family favorite.


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