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Katharine Hepburn’s ‘Home-Wrecking’ Brownies

Katharine Hepburn’s ‘Home-Wrecking’ Brownies

Moist and dense, incredibly rich and fudgy, a chocoholics dream come true. Much like its author, this recipe is a no-fuss classic and uses only a 1/4 cup of flour making chocolate the real star of this treat.  So delicious and easy to make, these brownies might just become a weekly ritual.

Recently I have found myself tuning in to watch movies on TCM.  They are celebrating 30 days of Oscars by featuring movies that have won Academy awards.  The other day I happened upon a movie with the fabulous Katharine Hepburn.  I have always enjoyed and appreciated her style and humor.  Watching her got me to thinking about a phone conversation I recently had with my sister, who was in the process of making Katharine’s brownies to take to her office for a pot luck.  She told me she uses these brownies as a go-to for just such gatherings, partly for the ease, but mostly because everyone always enjoys them.  I realized I had never tried these wonders so I decided to give the Academy’s Best Actress award winners recipe a go.

Well the outcome was really quite delicious!  I am not sure they are the best brownie I have ever tasted, but they certainly are right up there.  Since using only a small amount of flour, the recipe produces a very rich, very chocolaty brownie that I will say was certainly easy to make.  I did decide to dress them up just a little with a drizzle of dark chocolate.  I know the original recipe doesn’t call for it, but I didn’t think a chocoholic like Katharine would mind.

”And don’t over-bake them! They should be moist, not cakey!” 

Katharine Hepburn’s ‘Home-Wrecking’ Brownies
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Moist and dense, a chocolate lovers dream brownie. This is the famous family recipe known as Katharine Hepburn's Brownies, which were originally printed in a New York Times letter to the editor.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Retro
Servings: 16
Author: Christoph
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baker's chocolate (2 squares), or ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 stick
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
  2. Butter the sides and bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment to prevent sticking.

  3. In a dry skillet over medium high heat, lightly toast the nuts. Set aside to cool.

  4. Melt the chocolate with the butter in a stainless bowl over a pan of boiling water.  Use a bowl large enough to mix all the ingredients. 

  5. Remove from heat and stir in sugar.  Allow to cool slightly.

  6. Stir in the eggs one at a time, add vanilla and mix until smooth.

  7. Add the flour and salt, stir until smooth. Fold in the nuts.

  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes.
  9. ''And don't over-bake them! They should be moist, not cakey!''
  10. Cool brownies in the pan on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Cooks Notes

For best results, cover the pan of cooled brownies with cling wrap and place in the fridge overnight before cutting. This allows time for the flavors to develop and produces the most ultimate moist brownie.

Drizzle with dark chocolate if desired.


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