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Warm Up Your Kitchen With Katharine Hepburn's Brownie Recipe

Fortunately for us, the famously private actress, Katharine Hepburn, was unable to keep this easy a delicious brownie recipe a secret. This brownie recipe was originally shared in the New York Times, by one-time neighbors of Katharine Hepburn. The brownies don’t have a lot of height, but are supremely moist and chewy, fudge-like, and loaded with walnuts.

A good story *and* a good recipe

The key here is that there’s only ¼ cup of flour. In her latest book, American Cookie, Anne Byrn shares the recipe for the saucepan brownies that the famous actress loved to make and share. It made the Internet rounds after a commenter on the New York Times article shared a now-infamous story about how the brownies led to a case of infidelity. But if that wasn’t enough to inspire you to action, now’s the time to try out the recipe: The minimal flour and just-right baking time make for optimal fudginess, and the walnut pieces are a welcome textural addition.

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Reprinted from AMERICAN COOKIE. Copyright © 2018 by Anne Byrn. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Tina Rupp. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Yield: 16 brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes


Butter and flour for prepping the pan

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (see Baking Tip)


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 325°F. Rub an 8″ square baking pan with butter and dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour and set the pan aside.

2. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir until the chocolate and butter melt, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir to combine well. Add the flour, salt, and the walnuts. Stir just to combine. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist and fudgy crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into bars or squares, and store covered at room temperature for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Baking Tip: To make these brownies even more delicious, toast the walnuts before chopping. Place the nuts in the oven while it preheats, then remove and chop.


Credit: Abby Reisner, Tasting Table


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