Katharine Hepburn's Brownies

A special treat to make with love for those you treasure.

By Fran Claro

Thanks to her grandmother, Betty Valentine, now 92, who introduced her to the Golden Age of Hollywood, Elizabeth Semrai, our managing editor, is an admirer of Katharine Hepburn and of other screen greats. Elizabeth loves to bake and was delighted to find Hepburn's recipe for brownies. She has been making and serving the toothsome treats as an homage to the great Kate, and, of course, to her grandmother — a real Valentine.

A version of the recipe appeared alongside an interview with Hepburn in the August 1975 issue of Ladies' Home Journal. In that interview, Hepburn said she ate chocolate every day of her life and was quoted once with saying, "What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate." This brownie recipe emphasizes chocolate and creates a wonderfully chewy, almost fudge-like confection — absolutely perfect for a Valentine’s Day treat for the kids to enjoy while you tell them tales of the silver screen.

Note: Elizabeth always likes to add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract when baking.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.

2. Melt butter and chocolate together in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk.

3. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; stir to make a smooth batter. Whisk in the flour and salt until incorporated. Fold in walnuts if desired.

4. Pour batter into the baking pan; spread evenly. Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut and serve.

Makes 9 brownies

From recipesource.com: This from Laurie Colwin's More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen (Harper Perennial, 2000). She writes that it is, apparently, the Hepburn family recipe.


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