“Just being is fun”: making Katharine Hepburn’s brownies

Refined, elegant, delicious. Like their inventor.
SOURCE CREDIT – “British Film Institute”

I love me a bit of Katharine Hepburn. There’s that poise, the determination, the total give-no-fucks ambition that defined her as an actress and meant she lived her life on her own, fabulous terms. Also she was basically both my fantasy girlcrush in the Bringing Up Baby and my fantasy Nana in On Golden Pond. Step aside, Chaka baby, it’s Katharine who is truly every damn woman in the world.

Dat dress though

I have to say that this article (http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/how-make-katharine-hepburns-chocolate-brownies?utm_content=bufferdab6e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitterbfi&utm_campaign=buffer)  has the potential to be a favourite for a number of reasons. Start off, if I’m going to say that KH became a “skilled cook” I would not, perhaps, start off by saying she made a mean steak. I mean, come on! That’s like saying that KH had access to a stove and a hot pan. Don’t @ me, bitches, steak is easy. You do literally nothing more than make it hot to cook it. Secondly, she’s a woman after my own heart in respect of the moist vs cakey debate when it comes to a brownie. Despite my misgivings regarding the recipe itself, I was willing to set this aside in pursuit of living my Best Katharine Hepburn Life.

To do this, I invited a pal over for “tea, brownies and drag queens” (a most excellent invitation is ever there was one) to try the recipe and natter over the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race (#JusticeforCharlieHides).

Having tried the recipe, however, I have to say I was wrong. The cocoa gives these moist little bad boys just the right hit of bittersweet moreishness which is the hallmark of the best brownies. The nuts are a perfect pairing (like Tracey and Hepburn themselves!) with the chocolate and this recipe is actually pretty cost-effective. As an extra bonus, its entirely a one-pan affair, needing nothing more than some measuring cups and a spatula to get the job done. For something so seemingly simple, there’s an awful lot to like about these. Katharine Hepburn, I salute you.

Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies

Makes 12 – I used a round tin as having a tiny 20cm x 20cm tin seems a bloody waste of my life. GO BIG OR GO HOME FOOLS. 

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa powder (the original recipe allegedly called for 2 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate. On the basis that I don’t really know how much that is, I decided to stick with a cocoa-only mix)

1 cup sugar (I used golden sugar on the basis that “sugar” covers a range of possibilities)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup plain flour (yes, I thought it seemed a little light on the flour too…)

1 pinch fine sea salt

1 cup walnuts or pecans



1. Preheat your oven to 170C and butter your pan.

2. Melt the butter and cocoa together in a pan over a low heat, nice and slow. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in your sugar.

Melty cocoa

3. Add the vanilla extract then. Waiting a bit if the mixture is a little hot, beat in your eggs one at a time, until the mixture is smooth and glossy.

Mixture before the eggs go in. Make sure its not too hot, unless you’re a fan of hot sweet scrambled egg…

4. Add the salt, flour and nuts, mixing well, then pour into the cake tin.

5. Bake. The timing here is a bit of an art. I’m guessing the original instructions to bake for 40-50 min was based on a slightly less efficient oven and I’d be inclined to err towards the BFI’s advice and check after 30-35 minutes.

Just firm to the touch, and darkly tempting.

6. Remove a when ready and leave to cook – cutting into hot brownie is a fool’s game. Cut into nine and share with a pal while you critique Eureka O’Hara’s outfits (girl you wanna lose the hair loaf, child).

Oh child those look DAMN fine

One thought on ““Just being is fun”: making Katharine Hepburn’s brownies

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