Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies


My love of Katharine Hepburn started when I was very young. I can’t remember how old but I know my Dad was responsible for introducing me to her films and by ten I was gripped by the nostalgia of black and white movies. Whether I’m feeling under the weather or just a bit sentimental, I pop on one of her DVDs, grab a thick blanket and everything else becomes history.


Known for her fierce independence, sparky personality and for famously defying A-line skirts by totally rocking trousers in an age when women wore pretty frocks, I mean, who wouldn’t love that kind of sass?!


I first spotted her recipe for chocolate brownies on the New York Times website over a year ago but I’ve only recently tested the recipe which I’ve converted from American cup measures into UK metric. If you’d prefer to use cup measures please see the original recipe listing from the New York Times.

I cooked the brownies for 30 minutes but would suggest testing your brownies at 20-25 minutes if you like gewy brownies.

Cooks Notes:

I used a good quality cocoa, single sourced from the Dominican Republic but you can use any shop-bought cocoa.

Unsalted butter was presumably used in Katharine’s recipe so that’s what I’ve baked with.

For a slightly deeper, caramel flavour, instead of white sugar, I’ve used golden caster sugar but you can use regular caster sugar too.



100g cocoa
225g butter
2 eggs
225g sugar
125g flour
100g chopped or broken-up walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt

Heat oven to 160°C.

Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, nuts and salt. Add to the cocoa-butter mixture. Stir until just combined.

Pour into a greased 8 x 8-inch-square pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Do not overbake; the brownies should be gooey. Let cool, then cut into bars.


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