I was looking for my brownie recipe called The Best Adult Brownie online to make this weekend. While I was browsing Google I came across a Brownie recipe that was conceived by Katherine Hepburn. Not only was there a recipe but a darn good story to go along with it.
The recipe comes from a letter to the editor of the New York Times on July 6, 2003. In the letter, Hepburn’s New York neighbor Heather Henderson recalled her first memorable meeting with Katharine. At the time, Heather was threatening to quit her studies at Bryn Mawr, Katharine’s Alma mater. Heather’s father, who had noticed that Katharine lived nearby, slipped a letter into her mail slot, begging her to talk some sense into his daughter. Katharine called Heather at 7:30am the next morning and lectured her on the stupidity of her decision. The two arranged to meet for tea. Katharine convinced Heather to stick it out at Bryn Mawr. This began a series of casual meetings between Katharine and the Henderson family.
One day, Heather’s father heard that Katharine had been in a car accident and was recovering. He stopped by her place to bring her a batch of brownies. Hepburn tasted them and balked. “Too much flour! And don’t overbake them! They should be moist, not cakey!” As always, Katharine was opinionated and brutally honest. She rattled off her own brownie recipe while Heather’s father scribbled notes. The recipe appears below, with a few of my own notes in the baking instructions.
Heather took away three pieces of advice from her acquaintance with Katharine Hepburn:
Don’t put too much flour in your brownies.
I like Katherine do not put much flour in my Brownies either, as Katherine once said:
“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun!”
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Place the butter and chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat.
Add the sugar to the bowl and whisk until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla. Continue to whisk until fully incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour, salt and chopped walnuts. Mix until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for about 40-50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Allow the pan of brownies to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.