Saturday, March 21, 2009

Katharine Hepburn Brownies Baked by a Kid

What should I do with a rambunctious 4 year old boy while stuck inside on a rainy day?
Put him in front of a cartoon or dvd would be my old answer.

But I have found that I love to cook and bake with James, my 4 year old neighbor.

Usually a rowdy kid, with lots of energy and normal 4 year old behavior, I find he is very calm when at my kitchen counter (or ON my kitchen counter) without his mother in the room.

He listens and pays attention and even now asks "what we can cook?". "A chicken or brownies?".

Ok, today it's brownies.

We learn how to crack eggs, stir ingredients, grease a pan, stay away from a hot stove and of course, decorate with nuts.

This kid really gets it.

So, we made these wonderful brownies. They were posted by Cathy at Noble Pig (my new baking guru). They are the wonderful screen legend Katharine Hepburn's recipe originally.

They were the best brownies I have ever had. I used Bakers brand chocolate instead of the pricey Scharffen-Berger chocolate, because I didn't feel like spending 10 bucks for the bar, and I thought it was fitting for Ms. Hepburn's quote:

"My greatest strength is common sense. I'm really a standard brand - like Campbell's tomato soup or Baker's chocolate".

Katharine Hepburn's Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
2 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt

In a 2-quart saucepan over low-heat, melt butter with unsweetened chocolate, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (I melted the butter & chocolate in the microwave).
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract to make into a smooth batter. Add walnuts, flour and salt; stir until incorporated.

Prepare an 8" x 8' baking dish by greasing it with butter. Then line the pan with parchment paper and grease it as well. Pour the batter into the lined dish and spread evenly.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Since you have lined your pan with parchment you can immediately remove the brownies from the dish, leaving them to cool.

For all you purists, here is the original recipe from a magazine from years back.
The butter measurements are less in the original recipe. You can't go wrong with either recipe!


Anonymous said...

What a good neighbor you are to teach that little darling kitchen skills. I have that recipe cut from a magazine years ago and prepared once. I'll have to dig it up and try again. Thanks for the parchment suggestion. A must!!

Content in a Cottage said...

James is so handsome. Save a corner brownie for me. ♥Rosemary

doggybloggy said...

good job...freedom creates discipline - at least thats how I raised my kid and it worked...

lisaiscooking said...

Cute neighbor! I've seen this brownie recipe and have wanted to try it. They look delicious with the walnuts.

Anonymous said...


I want a corner - a well done corner.



kaye said...

OHHHH those look DELISH! Must try soon! Thanks for posting such a simple yummy recipe. I also checked out Noble Pig and will be adding to my blogroll...always love another good site with great recipes :)
Enjoy the day.

LaDue & Crew said...

I am craving chocolate right now, and they would cure that craving perfectly. How sweet- you braved baking with a 4 year old! You are so sweet!

noble pig said...

They are the best brownies aren't they? What is it about this recipe?

I lack common sense and always splurge on expensive chocolate, I CAN'T Help it!

Glad you liked them and the kid on the counter is awesome.

Jeena said...

It is so much fun baking with your kids isn't it. :-)

Elaine said...

Those brownies look so good. And it's so simple to make :) Chocolate is my only vice!

Colloquial Cook said...

Can I come and cook on your countertop? Will you microwave the butter and chocolate for me? Can I decorate the top with nuts? Can I eat it now? Can I have another piece? What do you mean shut up Claire?

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I can't decide what's more adorable...your neighbor boy's eyes, or the pan of brownies!

These looks great... brings back great memories of baking with my own boy.

Karen said...

Kids always behave better when Mom's not around! I love to cook with kids - they just love it and since their little minds are just like sponges, they really take to everything and remember it! Cute neighbor kid and yummy brownies :)

StaceyEsq said...

James is adorable and sounds like a perfect sous chef. My daughter is pretty much the same age and she would be a PAIN IN THE ASS if I asked her to help. So I'll have to make these when she's not around. She's the only almost-4 year old that I know with PMS (and attendant chocolate cravings), so I'd better make a large batch!!

Heather said...

That is too cute! Sounds like the perfect recipe for a kid to help with. I remember how much I used to love helping my mom make ANYTHING in the kitchen!

5 Star Foodie said...

The brownies look excellent! It's so much fun cooking with the kids! Your neighbor is adorable.

Bob said...

Mmmm, brownies. I've said it before and I'll say it again: cook with kids. It teaches them something useful, uses up energy and gives them a sense of accomplishment. That is, if they can behave themselves. Otherwise they can't come in my friggin kitchen.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

That is wonderful of you to bake with that kid. He's wonderful and willing helper and he certainly is cute.

I'm with you on the chocolate. I've often gone all out on dinner parties and made desserts with high-end chocolate. The guests don't notice a thing, and if they're full around dessert time and don't actually finish their desserts, then I'm scraping all of that money in the trash.

Proud Italian Cook said...

Ok, How many corners are left? Am I too late? Maybe your MIL will share:-) Great job James, you have an excellent teacher!!!

Culinary Cory said...

How fun. I think it's always great to get kids in the kitchen when they are young. That way they grow up to be great bloggers! hehe

Elra said...

I am sure James had a blast, I bet he loves that brownies too.


Ciao Chow Linda said...

The best thing about this post is how you shared your skills and time with your neighbor's son. So adorable is he and wonderful are you!! The brownies look scrumptious too by the way.

Maria said...

What a good little helper you have!! The brownies look fantastic too!

Vidya said...

Hmmm that's odd...why does the newspaper clipping call for 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup flour instead of the other way around? They look delicious by the way, I have to try these soon.

Stacey Snacks said...

You are correct.
My mother in law sent me the recipe from a magazine (of course she would have it, why wouldnt she????!!!).
She pointed out that it was different from Noble Pig's recipe.
The butter measurements are different, that's all.
I used N.P.'s recipe and it was perfect, but next time I will use the original K.H. recipe and cut down on the butter.
Saving calories anyway I can!

Peter M said...

Stace, the kid done good!

Culinary Wannabe said...

How cute is this?! You must be a patient one to let him up there on your counter!

finsmom said...

My daughter is 4 years old, and I absolutly love baking with her! I have not been brave enough to attempt it with my 18 month old yet though :)

Thanks for sharing this great recipe! Love your blog!

freefun0616 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I am not going to be original this time, so all I am going to say that your blog rocks, sad that I don't have suck a writing skills