When I came across Katharine Hepburn’s family recipe for brownies in Gourmet Magazine, my curiosity was piqued.  Katharine Hepburn — wouldn’t you think she would hold something to the highest standards and be associated with something very classic, old-fashioned, and American as a delicious homemade brownie?  I did…  Indeed, this is the best brownie recipe I’ve tried. You can really taste the butter, salt, chocolate and nuts in each bite and they are nice and moist in the middle yet crispy on the top.  Delicious!  The recipe only makes 9 brownies, and that’s just not going to be enough (trust me), so you might want to double the recipe.  Note:  I thought 1/2 cup chopped walnuts was plenty.


Recipe from Gourmet Magazine.

Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies

Makes 9 brownies.


  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate (2 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


1. Melt together 1 stick butter and 2 squares unsweetened chocolate and take the saucepan off the heat.

2. Stir in 1 cup sugar, add 2 eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and beat the mixture well.

3. Stir in 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (In the original recipe, 1 cup chopped walnuts is added here as well.)

4. Bake the brownies in a buttered and floured 8-inch-square pan at 325°F for about 40 minutes.

You can cut these brownies into squares, once they have cooled, and eat them out of the pan, but it is so much nicer to pile them on a fancy plate, from which people are going to eat them with their hands anyway. If you want to smarten up your act you can put a square of brownie on a plate with a little blob of créme fraîche and a scattering of shaved chocolate.

Original source: “A Harried Cook’s Guide to Some Fast Food” by Laurie Colwin