Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

I was first introduced to the Katharine Hepburn brownie recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. The book includes many brownie recipes, and this was one of them. I’ve since seen the recipe in dozens of places online, in books and magazines. This brownie recipe was originally shared in the New York Times, by one-time neighbors of Katharine Hepburn. When they brought her a batch of brownies, she said they had too much flour and were overbaked, then proceeded to share her family’s brownie recipe. The brownies don’t have a lot of height, but are supremely moist and chewy, quite fudge-like, and loaded with walnuts. My mom adores any and all baked goods with nuts, so with Mother’s Day approaching last week (and Katharine Hepburn’s birthday being yesterday), I thought it would be the perfect time to try out this much-anticipated recipe!

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

As I suspected, my mom absolutely adored these brownies. She loved how many walnuts there were, although if you’re not a huge of nuts you could always cut the amount in half or leave them out altogether. You’ll still have a supremely moist and chewy brownie, complete with that thin, crackly crust that’s irresistible. If you happen to have some vanilla ice cream and hot fudge laying around, I urge you to make a brownie sundae. Brownie sundaes are always a good idea!

In honor of Katharine Hepburn’s birthday, treat yourself to some brownies this week… they’re a cinch to throw together and everyone knows you can never have too many brownie recipes. Plus, you’ll feel like a star! :)

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

One year ago: Colossal Reese’s Pieces Chocolate Chip Cookies
Two years ago: Gazpacho
Three years ago: Classic Baby Shower Cookies
Four years ago: Easy Fudge
Six years ago: Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Yield: 9 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

The famous recipe for Katharine Hepburn's brownies.

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

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

2. Place the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium bowl set over a small saucepan of barely simmering water over low heat. Warm the chocolate and butter, stirring constantly, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

3. Whisk in the sugar, then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour, salt and chopped walnuts.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it into an even layer. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Place the pan on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

(Recipe adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours)

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57 Responses to “Katharine Hepburn Brownies”

  1. Christy@SweetandSavoring on May 13, 2013 at 12:12 am

    That thin, crackly crust is captured perfectly in your photos! I think this recipe will fit the bill for my chocolate cravings :)

    Reply

  2. Tieghan on May 13, 2013 at 12:25 am

    That crust loost amazing!! I can’t believe I have never heard of these!!! I have to make them!

    Reply

  3. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 13, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I’ve read and heard about these and although I am not a fan of nuts in desserts I do love the flat, extra fudginess of the brownie base! With only 1/4 c flour for the whole batch, no doubt they’re super fudgy! The best!

    Reply

  4. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl on May 13, 2013 at 1:07 am

    These looks so yummy, especially in that photo with the whip cream and cherry! I especially love fudge like brownies, going to give these a try!

    Reply

  5. Emma on May 13, 2013 at 3:12 am

    That wasn’t very gracious of Katherine to criticize gift brownies! JK, I’m sure she did so in a nice fashion, and these do indeed look delicious. I’m also a fan of this kind of brownie!

    Reply

  6. Zoe Anderson on May 13, 2013 at 6:07 am

    This is too funny – the other day my mom was talking about her favourite chocolate cherry and walnut cake that her mom used to make for her birthday every year. The recipe is almost exactly the same as these brownies, just with more flour (and the obvious cherry addition)! I think this is the Universe telling me I need to make these :)

    Reply

  7. Ilanit on May 13, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Love the pictures, looks fantastic! Will definitely put this one in my to do list!!!

    Reply

  8. rachel on May 13, 2013 at 6:30 am

    I was so sure you spelled her name right…oh but no!!!!! I love a good fudgey brownie, can’t wait to try it :)

    Reply

  9. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on May 13, 2013 at 8:14 am

    These look so crazy delicious!

    Reply

  10. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on May 13, 2013 at 8:22 am

    These brownies look incredible!!! Love how there isn’t much flour so they are super chocolaty!

    Reply

  11. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on May 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Fudge-like brownies are the best kind! It’s like eating pure chocolate, and who can say no to that? Please if Katherine Hepburn liked them, they must be good, right?

    Reply

  12. Katy on May 13, 2013 at 8:31 am

    My parents named me after the fabulous Katharine Hepburn, so I can’t wait to make these. Thanks :)

    Reply

  13. Maria Hanrahan on May 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

    That’s funny that you should post this now; I was just reading about Hepburn’s brownies last night in “The Secret Lives of Baked Goods,” which has a different story. Hepburn was asked by her neighbor to talk to his daughter, who was thinking of dropping out of Bryn Mawr, where Hepburn had attended. She invited them over for tea and brownies….and convinced the daughter to stay in school.

    Reply

  14. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on May 13, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I’m such a brownie fan! These sound delish!

    Reply

  15. Leah | So, How's It Taste? on May 13, 2013 at 9:38 am

    These look so fudgy & delicious!

    Reply

  16. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet on May 13, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Brownies look amazing!

    Reply

  17. Navar on May 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I’ve had this reciepie since I was a girl. My mom got it from a woman’s magazine. We both loved Katherine Hepburn and we both loved these brownies. Thanks for bringing back a memory of my Mom…

    Reply

  18. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on May 13, 2013 at 10:19 am

    I’ve heard of these and was always curious if they were any good! They look pretty amazing loaded with walnuts. My mom would totally love them too.

    Reply

  19. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie on May 13, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Brownies with nuts are ideal for me. Loving these.

    Reply

  20. Marcie @ flavor the moments on May 13, 2013 at 10:29 am

    These brownies look so fudgey and delicious! One of my all time favorite desserts is brownie a la mode. You just can’t beat it!

    Reply

  21. marie @ little kitchie on May 13, 2013 at 10:39 am

    These look so fudgy and delicious!

    Reply

  22. Kathy on May 13, 2013 at 11:28 am

    You can never have too many brownie recipes! And these look incredible!

    Reply

  23. Laura (Tutti Dolci) on May 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I’ve read so many great things about this recipe, they look perfectly fudgy!

    Reply

  24. Rayna on May 13, 2013 at 11:42 am

    A nutty, chocolatey, gooey delicious brownie. I just can’t say no!

    Reply

  25. Melissa @ Treats With a Twist on May 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Oh yay!! I loved seeing David Leibowitz talk about and make these! They’ve been on my list. With a scoop of ice cream is a must :)

    Reply

  26. Gloria @ Simply Gloria on May 13, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    What a classy treat! Any reason to celebrate, I’m all over it!

    Reply

  27. Monica on May 13, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    You are right – one can never have too many brownie recipes! And a brownie sundae is pretty much one of the best desserts of all time. This is also on my list.

    Reply

  28. Darcie Naylor on May 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I got this recipe from a magazine several years ago – can’t remember which one. It was included in an article about a new book from Liz Smith, the famous Hollywood gossip columnist. Along with the recipe were “Kate’s” three rules to live “1. Never quit 2. Be yourself and 3. Don’t put too much flour in your brownies.” Amen.

    Reply

  29. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking on May 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    These look absolutely outrageous and dangerously easy! Love ‘em!

    Reply

  30. Nikki @Seeded at the Table on May 13, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Never heard of these! But, hilarious that Katherine was so critical of the brownies gifted to her! :) My mom isn’t a fan of nuts in brownies, but I’ll take them!!

    Reply

  31. Maria on May 13, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I can’t believe I haven’t tried these yet! Time to pull out BFMHTY! Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply

  32. Emily on May 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Brouwnies are my personal weakness and I seriously can’t wait to try these out! Thanks!

    Reply

  33. Francesca on May 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Which recipe do you like more -the baked brownie, or the Katharine Hepburn brownies?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2013 at 12:35 am

      I love a lot of different brownie recipes, but the Baked Brownie is tops in my book (for right now, anyway!).

      Reply

  34. Tracy {pale yellow} on May 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I grew up with nuts in all my brownies and cookies because that’s the way my parents like baked goods. I’m still constantly surprised how many people dislike nuts in brownies and cookies! This recipe looks a like hit for my family!

    Reply

  35. W on May 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    wow – these look delicious! just wondering – how do these compare with the baked brownie? there are so many brownie recipes out there I dont have the time to try them all! even though i wish i could :3

    Reply

    • Cynthia on May 14th, 2013 at 1:05 am

      The Baked brownie is the ultimate brownie. If you could make only one batch of brownies, make that one. However, the Baked brownie requires quite a bit of chocolate and eggs, so other brownie recipes (like this one) come in handy when you want to whip up a quick batch with ingredients you may already have sitting in your cupboard.

      Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2013 at 12:38 am

      I love a lot of different brownie recipes for a lot of different reasons, but the Baked Brownie is definitely my all-time favorite.

      Reply

  36. nessa on May 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I’ll have to try Katherine’s recipe!

    Reply

  37. Sues on May 13, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    These brownies are fully loaded with walnuts and they look glorious!!

    Reply

  38. Alyson on May 13, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    I love these brownies. I was given the recipe 20 years ago at a Nutcracker Sweets Christmas party. I embarrassed myself by eating 4 of these brownies. When I make them I always add extra toasted walnuts…Life is great!!!

    Reply

  39. Joanne on May 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I’ve been making these very brownies for 20 years or more. Will never switch! Need to make gluten free? Substitute quinoa.. Works perfectly.

    Reply

    • Eric on August 26th, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Quinoa? WoW. Regular old quinoa in equal amount to wheat flour? Or a ground quinoa flour? Thanks!

      Reply

  40. Anusha on May 14, 2013 at 12:49 am

    Hey i noticed that your post on these brownies and the picture has been copied by the site http://www.pincookie.com/katharine-hepburn-brownies/ and they have not given credit. Please take note.

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 15th, 2013 at 11:48 am

      Thank you for the heads-up, much appreciated!

      Reply

  41. Marcia Drake on May 14, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Your pictures looked so yummy that last night I dreamt I went to a potluck dinner and everybody brought brownies. There were tables after tables of them, so I did what I went there to do, grabbed a big ole brownie and went looking for ice cream and hot fudge. Not as good as actually making them and eating them but my scale thanked me this morning :)

    Reply

  42. Laura Dembowski on May 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I was just looking at these online the other day and thinking about making them with carob. They sound super yummy and fudgy!

    Reply

  43. Jenny on May 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    These sound delicious :) I just made brownies on Sunday, but might have to make some more.

    Reply

  44. Fabz_Ah on May 16, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Hi, i dont have chocolates with me right now and need to substitute that with cocoa. can you please tell me houw much cocoa should i use to substitute these 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate?

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 17th, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      You could substitute ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

      Reply

  45. Home Cupcake Business on May 17, 2013 at 11:47 am

    They look so moist and delicious! mmm

    Reply

  46. Gregg on May 18, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Very similar to a brownie recipe in Mssr Lebovit’s classic, “Ready for Dessert”. His recipe is an adaptation of a one given to him by Robert Steinberg who co-founded Scharffen Berger chocolate. The only differences are that DL’s recipe calls for 8 oz. of chocolate, 6 oz of butter and 3/4′s of a cup of sugar and another huge difference. DL uses a regular pan to melt the butter and chocolate and then requires mixing in the flour ( after all ingredients are included) and whisking energetically for ONE minute. It’s very important (and possibly good exercise). I’ve copied in the shortcut.

    http://leitesculinaria.com/36645/recipes-brownies.html

    Reply

  47. Jen Glorioso on May 24, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Made this last night for my neighbor as a gift as he is taking care of our pets while we go out of town for Memorial day weekend. They were yummy! I wrapped them individually in cling wrap then put in a container as suggested. Left a few for us to try too! I love that there isn’t too much flour they were definitely fudgey but not too sweet.

    Reply

  48. plasterer bristol on May 27, 2013 at 6:38 am

    These look so delicious

    Reply

  49. chelsea @ serves two on May 28, 2013 at 12:29 am

    made these this weekend and featured them on my blog! they are so so good!!!
    http://serves2.blogspot.com/2013/05/katharine-hepburn-brownies.html

    Reply

  50. Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate on October 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I am so addicted to brownies. I think I am going to make a batch with pomegranate seeds this weekend!

    Reply

  51. Vickie on October 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    I got this recipe from a magazine some years ago and have baked it several times but they always come out too thin, no matter what I do. Not to worry, I’ll be trying the Baked Brownie very soon!

    Reply

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