I’ve baked a lot of brownies lately, but to me, the one-bowl ease coupled with the intoxicating smell of chocolate that fills the house just as the brownies reach their pinnacle of fudgy perfection never gets old. Plus, I’m always looking to try new recipes and techniques to further exalt this classic dessert.
That being said, I got a call yesterday from my cousin, Jason. He needed help planning a beachside picnic for his girlfriend. I was touched by his romanticism and eager to lend advice. He wanted to do all the cooking himself, but appointed me to make a dessert. His request was for brownies, and I leaped at the opportunity to spend some quality time with my spatula and a couple ounces of Ghirardelli. I found a recipe and was about to set out to baking when I received a call from my Papa who needed brownies for an office party. Since Jason only needed a few bars for his picnic, I made one batch and was able to accommodate everyone (and even leave a few for the family and boyfriend). How oh so serendipitous!
I tried out Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies and will definitely be bookmarking it. Apparently Katharine Hepburn loved a very chocolate-laden brownie with a minimal amount of flour—my kind of woman. I substituted the nuts in the recipe for peanut butter chips, as per Jason’s request. The result: sixteen ooey gooey, chocolate-peanut-buttery bars of deliciousness. I hope all the recipients enjoyed them!
Here’s Dorie’s original recipe.
As mentioned, I replaced the nuts for peanut butter chips and also omitted the cinnamon this time around. I’ll definitely be trying this again with new tweaks, but hopefully just as delicious results.
Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies (from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours)
Makes 16 2-inch squares
¼ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp finely ground instant espresso powder
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter an 8”x8” square ovenproof cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust with flour. Tap out excess.
Whisk the flour, cinnamon and salt together. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan over low heat. When the butter starts to melt sift the cocoa over it and add the instant espresso. Stir and continue to cook until it’s all well blended. Remove from heat and cool for 3 minutes or so.
Using a whisk or rubber spatula, beat the eggs into the saucepan one at a time. Next, stir in the sugar and vanilla – be gentle when adding – don’t beat too vigorously – you don’t want to add air to the batter. Add the dry ingredients, nuts and chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, at which point the brownies will still be gooey but the top will have a dry papery crust. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the brownies cool for at least 30 minutes. Turn the brownies out onto a rack, peel away the paper and invert onto a cutting board. Cool completely before cutting them into squares.