Miss Hepburn greeted us warmly. With casual hauteur, she provided us with tea and some of her famous brownies. Though she was in her 70’s, she had a youthful look, enhanced by her girlish clothes: a turtleneck, a black cardigan and shabby khaki-green pants.
We talked about many things, including Bryn Mawr. She said that she was miserable there and still had nightmares about it, but she was glad she went. At the end of the afternoon she told me, in a rather grim tone, ”You’re smart.” It was a compliment, but also an admonition not to be foolish in the future.
My father was invited to visit her a few times after that. Once, he had heard that she was recovering from a serious car accident, and he stopped by to drop off a package of homemade brownies and a get-well note. To his surprise, he was ushered in and invited into her boudoir, where she greeted him in her nightgown. She sampled his brownies.
”Too much flour!” she declared. She then rattled off her own recipe, which he hastily wrote down. ”And don’t overbake them! They should be moist, not cakey!”
I’ll always be grateful to Miss Hepburn for making me stick it out at Bryn Mawr and for giving me these rules to live by: 1. Never quit. 2. Be yourself. 3. Don’t put too much flour in your brownies.
KATHARINE HEPBURN’S BROWNIES
1/2 cup cocoa
1 stick butter
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!” They should be gooey. Let cool (an essential step) and cut into bars.
As we head into the holidays here’s another thought…
“Rules for happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.” Immanuel Kant
Hang in there, everyone.