Sunday, October 16, 2011

Please Welcome Rochelle Staab with Katharine Hepburn's Brownies!

Rochelle Staab, author of
Who Do, Voodoo?
First in a new mystery series!

Please join me in welcoming author Rochelle Staab to the Kitchen! On November 1, Rochelle will be launching the first book in her "Mind for Murder" mystery series, Who Do, Voodoo?a wonderful novel that I had the pleasure of reading before publication. This is a stellar debut, and RT Book Reviews agreed, praising the title as "A fresh and entertaining premise for a new series that is cleverly plotted and executed." I could not agree more, and it is now my great pleasure to introduce you to our guest cook today. Take it away, Rochelle!  ~ Cleo Coyle

Amanda: And after you shot your did you feel?

Doris: Hungry!

~ Katharine Hepburn (Amanda) and Judy Holliday (Doris) in 1949’s Adam’s Rib

Hello everyone! I was thrilled when Cleo invited me to visit the Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. I came with my absolute favorite recipe: the never fail, always yummy, keep for days, crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy inside, classic Katharine Hepburn brownies. These brownies draw happy, grateful groans whenever I bake them. In fact, two weeks ago I baked a batch to bribe a construction crew into washing my windows for me. Worked. Swear.

Hepburn gave this recipe to New York columnist Liz Smith to print over twenty-five years ago. It has been republished many times and for good reason: This simple, one bowl recipe is a go-to, never fail, guaranteed to delight, sweet-tooth tickler. Enjoy!

Katharine Hepburn’s 

Makes 16 brownies (@180 calories each)


2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped. (I use Baker’s unsweetened chocolate squares)

½ cup (1 stick) butter (I use salted but unsalted works too.)

1 cup granulated white sugar

2 large eggs (room temperature)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract 

¼ cup all-purpose flour (I like to use whole-wheat flour for a slight nutty edge.)

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Step 1—Prep: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. I use Pam® Baking spray. Simmer water in a small saucepan, about ½ full or less.

Step 2—Melt: Coarsely chop the chocolate into chunks. Slice the butter into pieces for quick melting. Place chocolate and butter into a small stainless steel bowl and place on top of the saucepan of simmering water. Stir gently until melted. Remove bowl from heat and discard water. 

Step 3—Blend: With the bowl on the counter, stir in the sugar until blended. Blend in the vanilla extract and mix in the eggs. Finally, stir in the flour, salt, and (optional) chopped nuts.

Step 4—Bake: Pour into the prepared 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I always middle the time at 33 minutes, depending on the oven of course.)

Step 5—Cool and cut: Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. When cooled, slice into 16 pieces. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These 
freeze very well.


This recipe inspired the brownies I wrote into Chapter One of my debut novel WHO DO, VOODOO? When Liz Cooper and her best friend Robin return from the gravesite of Robin’s husband Josh, they find a disturbing tarot card tacked to Robin’s front door. Two years earlier, the same card appeared in Josh’s birthday reading presaging his imminent death. After tearing the card off the door, Liz takes Robin inside and attempts to calm her over a plate of brownies and milk. The resulting search for the tarot card prankster leads to murder, a false accusation, and a journey through Los Angeles voodoo subculture to find a killer.

The characters in WHO DO, VOODOO? reflect varied opinions about the supernatural and I leave judgment to the reader to decide which team is right. Liz the pragmatic psychologist is a non-believer who favors logical thinking. Robin, along with Liz’s elegant, offbeat mother both believe the supernatural offers a pathway for the open-minded. Nick Garfield, the religious philosophy professor Liz enlists to help locate the origin of the tarot card, takes an intellectual viewpoint. His study of alternative belief systems gave him respect for and understanding of the cross-cultural rituals and customs people have clung to, employed, or worshipped for centuries.

Oh, and did I mention a voodoo curse—conjured to kill—complicates everything?

WHO DO, VOODOO? will be released November 1 by Berkley Prime Crime.

~ Rochelle Staab

Thank you for visiting
with us today, Rochelle! ~ Cleo

Visit Rochelle online at:

Facebook: Rochelle Staab
Twitter: Rochelle Staab


  1. Hi Rochelle,

    I'm looking forward to reading Who Do, Voodoo?

    Yummy brownies...I love recipes that involve one bowl.

  2. Rochelle, love the recipe! Katherine Hepburn is one of my favorites! What a lovely tale behind a recipe. BTW, love the "possible" title Conjured to Kill. Keep it in mind for book number 12. I've had the pleasure of reading Who Do Voodoo, as well, and I loved it. Quite a voice. Enjoy the joys of your first book. It only happens once.

    ~Avery (aka your pal, Daryl)

  3. I'm looking forward to reading Who Do, Voodoo and I'm also looking forward to trying out the brownie recipe. Thanks for posting it.

  4. Dru and Nora, thank you for stopping by to comment. I hope you like WHO DO, VOODOO? and the brownies!

    Avery, leave it to your creative mind to pick up on 'conjured to kill' and twist it into a title. Dibs.

  5. Are these brownies as delicious as WHO DO, VOODOO? Looking forward to investigating this mystery more throroughly.

  6. The brownies look so yummy. Can never go wrong if Katherine Hepburn is involved. WHO DO, VOODOO is so much fun, I'm savoring every morsel.

    Thoughts in Progress
    Freelance Editing By Mason

  7. Yum! I am pro-voodoo and pro-brownie, so this all sounds great to me. Best of luck with the debut.

  8. Ramona, Mason, VR: Thank you! Yes, Kate delivered big with the brownies. I'm baking another batch this week. And I hope you enjoy WDV—it was a lot of fun to write :)

  9. And Cleo, being here is so much fun. I love the MLK gang, the perfect launch to release month. Jitters and Joy.

  10. Thanks again for joining us today, Rochelle! Kate Hepburn’s brownie recipe is a sweet treat and Who Do, Voodoo? is most definitely a winning read.

    Big congrats on the November 1 launch of your Mind for Murder mysteries!

    ~ Cleo

  11. I am really looking forward to your book, Rochelle! Maybe I'll make these delicious brownies to eat while I curl up with this. Of course, I can't wait two weeks to do that. I'll make 'em now.

  12. Mary Jane, write me back and tell me how your batch comes out! I can't believe how simple the recipe is, the melted chocolate and minimal flour really makes the difference.

  13. I can't wait to read this, Rochelle! Love the brownies too. I'm a huge Katharine Hepburn fan. Enjoy the ride. It promises to be fabulous!

  14. Tiff, you made it! Thank you for the lovely comment. I'm a huge Hepburn fan too (and probably the only one who thought Kate spelled her name with two e's instead of two a's.)

  15. Rochelle, your book sounds fascinating. I can't wait to read it.

    Thanks for sharing Hepburn's brownies! You can bet that I'll be trying them. 180 calories a piece? Hah! Bet you can't eat just one! LOL!

    ~ Krista

  16. Rochelle, thanks for the recipe. I was a lucky winner of Who Do, Voodoo and am currently reading it. It is so hard to put down!!!

  17. Krista—that's why I give the brownies away as soon as I bake them. I save two for me (eat them at the same time of course) then I get those babies out of the house, fast. I hear they are dreamy with vanilla ice cream too.

    Nancy—oh, that makes me very happy! Congratulations on the win and thank you for the lovely compliment :)

  18. If these brownies are only half as good as Who Do, Voo Doo?, I can tell you they must be delicious. I'll definite try them on a cold rainy day with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

    And don't be nervous. The days fly by so fast that November will be over before you have time to panic!

  19. I'll believe you, Liz. You must be smiling like crazy after your strong LIVER LET DIE debut this month. Congratulations on the stellar launch for Jordan and friends in the Clueless Cook series.

    (And congrats on your Rangers going to the World Series.)

    Thank you for stopping by!

  20. Hi Cuz,
    I honestly cannot wait one more minute to read your first book. Here's hoping it's the first of many successes and that some day your talent rubs off on me! As far as the brownies go, I think I better wait for the low fat, low calorie version or pass on them for now.
    Best of luck to you and hope to see you at your first book signing next month.
    Love and xoxoxoxox

  21. Carla, you mean you want to be the prettiest AND the most talented in the family? Thank you for being such a sweetie and stopping by. Maybe I'll bake you a batch of Kate's brownies for your birthday next month :) Birthday sweets are exempt, right?