Brownie Advice from Katharine Hepburn

She was a legend, Hollywood wouldn’t be the same without the actor who touched many people’s lives with her wit, charm, exceptional talent and can you believe her brownie recipe – Katharine Hepburn.

 “Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you bloody well find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don’t do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.” Katharine Hepburn

A stamp printed in USA shows Katharine Hepburn

(UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – CIRCA 2010: A stamp printed in USA shows Katharine Hepburn circa 2010. Photo taken from

Hepburn remains the record holder for having the most leading actress Oscar Awards (winning three of her four awards after the age of 60). She had one of the longest acting careers, spanning over six decades. There are so many reasons why people adore her across the world. She was smart. She was beautiful. She was unconventional. She was never afraid to give her opinion. She refused to follow Hollywood stereotypes – she hated make up and dresses. And most of all – she made a killer brownie recipe that ‘s still being enjoyed by many people today.

Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907. Her being liberal was perhaps something she inherited from her parents. Her mother fought for women’s rights as a suffragette, and her father, who was a doctor, was one of the first to begin educating the public on sexual health and safety. At a very young age, Hepburn was already aware of the social issues existing at that time. In fact, one of her first acting performances was given in the spirit of charity.

"If you always do what interests you - at least one person will always be     pleased" Katharine Hepburn

A  50 year career proves her remarkable talent and undying charm. Apart from her Oscar Awards, she also received 8 additional Academy Award nominations, and won an Emmy Award for her role in the movie Love among the Ruins. She married Laurence Olivier, who was also multi award-winning actor.

“If it interests you, they don’t have to pay you. It’s a fascinating business anyway … it’s very nice to be paid … but when you do thrilling material, it’s like buying a piece of furniture that’s really good.” Katharine Hepburn

At the age of 96, Hepburn passed away peacefully in the same Connecticut house where she grew up. She may be gone, but her memories, movies and her wonderful brownie recipe will continue to enchant us.


The story goes that gossip columnist Liz Smith got the brownie recipe from Hepburn and published it in her column. That was about 25 years ago, and Katharine Hepburn’s brownie recipe still lives on.

You may gasp when you take a look at the ingredients. There’s lots of sugar and butter, but just a tiny tidbit of flour (which makes Hepburn’s brownies different). So how did this actress ended up with a beautiful brownie recipe? According to stories, one day, the father of Heather Henderson (Hepburn’s neighbour during her stay in New York), heard that the actress had been in a car accident and was recovering. So he stopped by her place to bring her a chocolate gift – some brownies. And the opinionated Hepburn tasted this brownie gift and balked, saying there was too much flour and that the brownies were over-baked. “They should be moist, not cakey!” Hepburn then shared her brownie recipe and Heather’s dad took notes.

Hepburn’s brownies are sweet, gooey, moist, fudgy and wonderfully rich.

“What you see before you, my friend, is the result of a lifetime of chocolate” 
― Katharine Hepburn

The lovely story of  Katharine Hepburn’s Brownie Recipe and her opinion of brownies, first appeared on a letter to the editor of the New York Times on July 6, 2003. Here it is here :


1/2 cup cocoa

1 stick butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 cup broken-up walnuts or pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt butter in saucepan with cocoa and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add sugar, flour, nuts, vanilla and salt. Pour into a greased 8×8 square pan. Bake 40 minutes. ”Don’t overbake!’

It’s been many years since the passing of Katharine Hepburn but her memories will live forever. There’s so much to learn from this strong willed and successful woman. Her advice served as life guidance for Heather Henderson : Never quit. Be yourself. And don’t put too much flour in your brownies!


Dello Mano hand crafts small batch brownies, brownie and chocolate gifts.

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