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Katharine Hepburn's Brownies (Halloween edition)

Katharine Hepburn continues to be a bright light in a dark world.

The news has been filled with devastating things lately. As people have often done since the advent of cinema, I've sought refuge from the world by watching movies. I messaged my friend Lara and we decided that talking about Katharine Hepburn and baking her brownies would be a great form of self care and distraction for us and hopefully for anyone watching as well.

For anyone new to the films of Katharine Hepburn, we welcome you with open arms and look forward to tell you all about her. She began her career on the stage and made her film debut in 1932. In the 1930s she starred in several dramas and found great success in screwball comedies including the classics Holiday, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story, which all paired her with Cary Grant. In 1942 she met Spencer Tracy while making the film Woman of the Year. They were magical on screen and became partners off screen as well making nine films together. Hepburn won four Academy Awards for Best Actress and earned a total of 12 nominations. While her nomination total was eventually bested by Meryl Streep, she remains the most honored actress in Academy history. She worked until her final film in 1994 and she lived to be 96 years old.

Please see the documentary Call Me Kate on Netflix!


This recipe is all over the internet and very easy to find. It was published in the New York Times in 2003. I used the book "American Cookie" as my source. If you love baking and the history behind it, this is a book you are sure to enjoy!

Here is the recipe. **We are going to add 1¾ teaspoons of pumpkin spice and ½ cup of pumpkin puree.


  • ½ cup cocoa or 2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened baker's chocolate

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons of pumpkin spice

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree


  1. Melt butter with the cocoa or chocolate together in a heavy saucepan over medium low, whisking constantly till blended. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and walnuts. Mix well. Pour into a well buttered 8-inch square baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 40 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely and cut into squares. These brownies are very gooey and may be somewhat difficult to slice cleanly; use a sharp knife and a spatula to help them loosen from the baking dish.

Tips/Techniques You will also need a 8x8 inch baking dish. I made the brownie mix and swirled in the pumpkin. Nuts are optional.

Special Guest

Lara Gabrielle is a writer and film historian. Her new book Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies was recently released from UC Press. She writes book reviews, festival coverage, and pieces on the history, theory and culture of film on her blog Backlots. You can find the book on Amazon or at Larry Edmund's Bookshop in Hollywood.


The Final Result

The brownies are delicious. This is an easy to make treat and dessert for autumn or Halloween.

There are lots of Katharine Hepburn films on DVD, Streaming and Turner Classic Movies.

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Thank you for watching and stay tuned for more food, fun and film history.


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