Recipe Review

I Tried Katharine Hepburn’s Favorite Brownie Recipe and I Have Some Thoughts

published Sep 12, 2021
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Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

I’m one of those people who is on a never-ending search to find the perfect brownie recipe. I’ve tried countless recipes, and have yet to find my ideal. I want a brownie with a shiny top, a fudgy (but not undercooked or gooey!) center, and tons of chocolate flavor.

Recently, my coworker Andrea sent me an instagram photo of Katharine Hepburn’s brownie recipe and suggested I try them next. They looked to have a moist, molten-like texture — almost like a flourless chocolate cake. I was intrigued, and knew I needed to try them, especially because so many people rave about them. Would this be the recipe that ended my search for good? Here’s what happened when I baked up a batch.

Get the recipe: Katharine Hepburn’s Favorite Brownie Recipe

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

How to Make Katharine Hepburn’s Favorite Brownie Recipe

The best thing about this recipe is how easy it is to make. You’ll start by melting butter in a saucepan along with cocoa powder. Whisk until thoroughly blended, remove from the heat, and whisk in sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in just 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt, and chopped walnuts until a thick batter forms. Pour the batter into a buttered 8-inch square baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. That’s it!

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Katharine Hepburn’s Favorite Brownie Recipe

These brownies are very gooey, very fudgy, and very dense. If you like your brownies to have that rich, slightly undercooked texture, these are perfect for you. In fact, they were so fudgy I found it difficult to slice them without smushing them. Even after letting them sit out uncovered overnight, they were still very gooey.

Their flavor is pretty standard, with a just-sweet-enough chocolate flavor. They didn’t have a shiny top, which was a bit of a disappointment, but they were tasty nonetheless. The nuts helped break up the richness of the brownies and added a pop of contrasting texture.

Overall I thought they were good, but not great. The flavor was fairly expected and comparable to a boxed brownie mix. I personally don’t love when brownies are this fudge-like, so I probably wouldn’t make them again. But if you fall into the camp of brownie-lovers who prefer a super-decadent, gooey texture, you’ll want to make these ASAP.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

4 Tips for Making Katharine Hepburn’s Favorite Brownie Recipe

Before you head into the kitchen, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Line your baking pan with parchment paper. In addition to buttering your baking pan, I also recommend lining it with parchment paper and leaving overhang on two sides. This will help you lift out the brownies after baking, which will make slicing them so much easier.
  2. Generously salt the batter. The recipe only calls for a pinch of salt, but I think closer to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt is the ideal amount to help balance the sweetness of the chocolate.
  3. Omit the nuts if they’re not your thing. I’m not the biggest fan of nuts in my brownies, so I would probably omit them if I made these again. Chocolate chips, pretzels, or peanut butter chips would all make great substitutes.
  4. Let them cool for several hours before cutting. Because these brownies have such little flour in them, they are pretty gooey and difficult to cut. I let mine cool for about 4 hours at room temperature before cutting them, and sprayed my knife with a bit of nonstick cooking spray to make things easier.

Have you ever made Katharine Hepburn’s favorite brownie recipe? Tell us what you thought in the comments!