No. Box. Brownies. EVER!!

I feel about brownies from a mix much the same as Joan Crawford, at least as rendered by Faye Dunaway, did about cheap closet accessories. I loathe them. Ok, OK, I hear you. You’re scratching your head, your brow is furrowed and you say to yourself in a perplexed way, “But I thought she said use a mix for pie crust.”

“It’s HARDER to bake from scratch,” you whine. “What’s up with this crazy bitch anyway? Why can’t she make up her mind?”

It’s all about cost/benefit. Pie crust is hard to make and can easily go wrong, way way wrong. I have found one mix that almost never fails and tastes pretty good, so I use it.

Brownies, however, are a different story. Why? It is ridiculously easy to make de-licious, fudgy brownies if you use my recipe. They always, ALWAYS come out right and they taste infinitely better than that crap in a box, and I don’t care if it’s made with fancy Italian chocolate. Still gross.

I found this recipe in an issue of Ladies Home Journal at Grammie Sue’s house about 25 years ago, and it has never failed me. By happy coincidence, it comes from the queen of all movie stars, and my all time favorite actress, Katharine Hepburn. The magazine featured an interview with her, which explains why I picked it up in the first place, as I was really more of a Spy magazine girl at the time. Oh shit, who am I kidding, on the odd occasions I could get my ass off a barstool, all I ever bothered to read was National Lampoon at that point in my life. Spy was too highbrow. Anyways, what the LHJ interview lacked in dirt on Kate and Spenc-ah, it more than made up for with this fabulous recipe. Hundreds of satisfied dinner guests and half a dozen voluntary sugar comas can’t be wrong!

Hepburn’s Brownies

Melt over low heat:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
  • 2 squares (or 2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate, best you can find, though Baker’s brand is fine

In a bowl, whisk:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (pure, not that nasty imitation stuff – might as well use a mix if that’s all you’ve got. For variety, you can substitute pure almond extract for the vanilla. Party on!)

Once the butter and chocolate are melted, slowly add the mixture to the egg mixture, whisking all the time. DO NOT just dump the hot chocolate in all at once, no matter how much you want to. You could end up with scrambled eggs.

After that’s mixed, add:

  • ¼ cup flour (no more!)
  • ¼ tsp salt (do not omit this! Sweetness unbalanced by salt is not worth the calories.)

Stir it until it’s blended, then dump the batter into a greased and floured, square baking dish (8” x  8” or so). Scrape the leftover batter into the pan or into your mouth. At this point do I have to tell you which I’d choose?

Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Mine runs a little hot and I dislike overcooked baked goods, so I do about 30 minutes.

And listen, Christina, if you invite me over for dessert and serve these brownies with walnuts, I can’t be held responsible for my actions. I have been known travel with an axe from time to time. It won’t be you I’m mad at, of course, it’ll be the nuts.

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on September 25, 2011, in Baking, Dessert and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. Ours turned out weirdly gelatinous. I think we’ll stick to alcohol.

  2. Damn. Why the hell did I have to find this easy-peasy recipe AFTER I committed to the torture that is the Wheat Belly Diet? Now I want wonderfully white floury Brownies. And all I have staring me in the face right now is a rubbery stick of celery with some natural PB in the crevice.

  3. Oh sweet brownie goodness. This was a bad day to give up sugar and chocolate.

  4. I have witnessed the attack on the nuts. Not pretty!

  5. unfetteredbs

    I might be able to handle this recipe. Wish you had a plate of samples to pass around.

    Hope you find your inspiration soon. In the mean time, I’ll eat brownies and ice cream 🙂

  6. Never made brownies in my life. Is there still hope for me, Wendie?

    • Make ’em Susan. Invite people over, mix up a batch of martinis, order in pizza and present these bad boys for dessert. Your friends will not believe how clever you are. Where there is Grey Goose, there is hope.

  7. Looks like a keeper. Right now brownies are on the no-fly list. But in a while when the doc ain’t looking heh,heh,heh.

  8. Reblogged this on Kitchen Slattern and commented:

    Well folks, I’m slagging off again. No excuses, and no, I’m not in custody or treatment again. I’m just searching for inspiration. Until the Muse comes upon me with a martini and some thoughts about salad, you’ll have to make due with this. But listen, these brownies are first rate, my absolute best thing. So print out the recipe and prepare for a little extra something around your middle. These babies are best eaten warm and straight from the pan with a fork and a pint of Cherry Garcia. Party on.

  9. Made ’em, served ’em, SCORE! They were ridiculously easy to make and everyone loved them. But you were so right about the time. I checked them at 30, but lacked confidence and put them back for 5 more minutes, and they were just a little overdone. 30 it is!

  10. With hot fudge and whipped cream!

  11. Thank you for this receipe. I tried it yesterday and it was a huge hit. My previous brownie recipes had me buying special flour but these were so much easier and much more fab!

  12. About walnuts in baked goods, I have only four words: You’ll have to bring your own. And don’t even think about asking me for cheddar cheese for your apple pie.

  13. Sorry, but I have to put in a quiet vote for walnuts. Nothing I’d force on the nuts averse, but I felt it was important to note there are two schools of thought. We can talk about it – when my mouth isn’t full of brownies. — a satisfied dinner guest.

  14. These sound good enough to eat…for breakfast!

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