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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Elizabeth Street

KATHARINE HEPBURN'S ALL-TIME FAVORITE BROWNIE RECIPE WINS FOR 'BEST DRAMA IN A MINI-SERIES'

Jul 30, 2013

Katharine Hepburn's All-Time Favorite Brownie Recipe Wins For 'Best Drama In A Mini-Series'

Finding out who scored Katharine Hepburn's top secret brownie recipe is kind of like playing a game of Clue—no one really knows who did what, where, or with whom. Legend has it that Liz "The Grand Dame of Dish" Smith wrangled the recipe with her magical powers of persuasion. Other stories credit food writer Laurie Colwin who "got it from a friend." Then, there's Hepburn's onetime neighbor, Heather Henderson, who joined the mix when she penned a letter to the editor of The New York Times in July 2003, shortly after Hepburn passed away. 

In the letter, Henderson includes the brownie ingredients and divulged that her father, the late Mr. Henderson, stumbled upon the deliciously squishy recipe when he was bringing his own batch of brownies and a get-well card to the actress after her car accident in 1982. As the story goes, Hepburn took one bite and balked. "Too much flour!" she said. "And don't overbake them. They should be moist, not cakey!" She then proceeded to rattle off her family's blue-ribbon brownie recipe while Mr. H scribbled down notes on a crumbled piece of paper.

After Ms. Henderson's letter was published in the newspaper, a gentleman by the name of Frederick M. Winship disputed the recipe, claiming Hepburn "would never have substituted an ingredient as anemic as cocoa for real, unadulterated chocolate." He would know, he says. After all, his wife worked together with Hepburn on two movies and gave her the real recipe—not to mention he sampled them with Hepburn at her Turtle Bay brownstone.

Ms. Henderson wasn't buying it. "In fact, Miss Hepburn would, and did, approve," she wrote. "She and my father discussed the use of cocoa instead of baking chocolate, and they agreed that it makes no discernible difference in this recipe."

"The crucial 'secret' to Miss Hepburn's recipe is in the very small amount of flour used," Henderson added. "These brownies made with cocoa, provided one uses high-quality cocoa (we prefer Ghirardelli or Droste), are far from 'anemic.' They're red-blooded and lusty, perhaps the most robust representatives of the brownie clan!"

Want to test out Katharine Hepburn's infamous brownies? Click on the slideshow above for the delicious recipe, and to find out what other celebrities are whipping up in their kitchens. 

By Maria Denardo


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