Kate’s Brownies

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all of the fun.” – Katherine Hepburn

Katherine Hepburn, known for her wit and spunk as well as her impecable acting, also has a brownie recipe of some fame. I began making these brownies about 2003 when my kids were 9 and 10. They loved them then, and still do today. The recipe was in Epicuirious, and now is being circulated in the April issue of Relish magazine. Originally, the recipe accompanied an interview with the actress Katharine Hepburn in the August 1975 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal. This brownie recipe, which calls for the smallest amount of flour, produces incredibly chewy bars with full chocolate flavor.

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Recently my friends at California Walnuts sent me a nice sample of their delicious product- and a natural defender. I learned that more than 99% of the walnuts in the U.S. are grown in the fertile soils of California’s Central Valley. Internationally, California walnuts supply two-thirds of the world’s walnut trade. They are the only nut significantly high in Omega-3’s, and I found I loved them toasted as a snack, and as a crunchy alternative to croutons for salads.

Hope you enjoy the chewy, crunchy, fudgy brownies straight from Kate’s kitchen-to mine-to yours!


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


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.

Photo Credit: James Baigrie, Shown in Food & Wine

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