After sampling hundreds of brownies in the Gourmet magazine test kitchens, along with baking countless more at home (my first was from the cult classic Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls (buy the book), I feel qualified to declare my pride in this brownie. It’s old-fashioned in its use of unsweetened chocolate, yet the addition of cocoa takes it to the deeper, darker chocolate place we crave these days.
Not everyone loves nuts in their brownie, but without them, brownies seem more like dense squares of chocolate cake. When you do the done test, the toothpick comes out clean—no dilemmas over the moistness of the crumbs clinging to the pick—yet when you cut the brownies into pieces, you’ll slice through the requisite thin crust to reveal super-moist and fudgy goodness.
Makes 16 (2-inch square) brownies
Active time: 20 min
Total time: 1 hr
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate (100 percent cacao), chopped
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (if you have fine sea salt, use it)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (any type, as long as it’s unsweetened)
- 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 8-inch square baking pan
- Heat oven to 325°F with rack in middle. Lightly grease or butter pan and line with crisscrossed sheets of parchment or foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang.
- Melt chocolate with butter in a large metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove bowl from pan and let cool 5 minutes.
- Add sugar and whisk well.
- Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition, and whisk mixture vigorously until smooth and cohesive.
- Whisk in vanilla and salt.
- Add flour and cocoa and stir with whisk until incorporated and batter is smooth.
- Fold in nuts with a rubber spatula.
- Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until a wooden pick comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
- Cool brownies completely in pan on a rack.
- To remove them easily from the pan, use the parchment overhangs to lift the brownies, still on the parchment, from the pan. Cut brownies into serving pieces.
- Brownies are best when made 1 day ahead and left uncut, but they will still be insanely delicious if made and consumed the same day.
- Brownies keep 5 days, well wrapped in a cookie tin or plastic container, but I doubt there will be any left by then.