Katharine Hepburn's Brownies

There is something to be said not only for developing a relationship with the source of your food (that is, the ingredients you use on a day to day basis), but gathering a cache of recipes sourced from people you know and love. There is comfort in getting a recipe from a friend or family member, and knowing it’s something they’ve made for their own families. Thus, I think, the popularity of food blogs (and the Family Kitchen!).

It also appeals to the voyeur in ourselves to learn details of the home lives of celebrities – what they make and serve their families, for example. When I hear that someone I know and love – Katharine Hepburn, for example – bakes brownies, I want the recipe. (Not that I know her personally, I don’t know her know her, I just know her. You know?) I love the idea of baking the same brownies for my family that she did for hers. (Perhaps there was a batch for Spencer Tracy?)

I first came across Katharine Hepburn’s brownies in the late, great Laurie Colwin’s book Home Cooking (which I strongly recommend to anyone who likes to read about food). It took forever to get around to making them, and when I did I found they were very similar to the brownies my grandma used to make. Same generation, I suppose. I wonder if they both got it off the Fry’s Cocoa box?

Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies

adapted from Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin

1/2 cup butter
2 oz. (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. cocoa
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa.

Stir in the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour and salt, and nuts, if you’re using them. Pour into an 8″x8″ pan that has been buttered or sprayed with nonstick spray and bake for 40 minutes, until the edges begin to pull from the sides of the pan, but they are still soft and sticky in the middle. Cool in the pan on a wire rack, then cut into squares. Makes 9-16 brownies.

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