4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
- Adapted from Bittersweet, by Alice Medrich (Artisan, $35)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or baking parchment, leaving some to overhang two opposite sides.
2. In a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove from heat.
3. With a wooden spoon, stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Add the cold eggs, one at a time, stirring well to incorporate each. Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon or a spatula until the batter is smooth and glossy and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes. If desired, stir in the nuts. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan.
4. Bake until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. (The top will look dry, but a toothpick inserted in the center should come out wet with batter.) Immediately place the pan in the refrigerator or set it in a larger pan filled with ice water to a depth of 3/4 inch.
5. When brownies are completely chilled, lift up the ends of the foil or parchment liner and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 or 3 days.
Per brownie: 172 calories, 2 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, 15 grams sugar, 10 grams fat, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 45 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.