These are Gary's favorite Brownies. They're made with dark chocolate cocoa so they come out black instead of brown. They're very rich, buttery and chocolaty. The ultimate! We get our dark chocolate cocoa at Whole Foods. Hershy's makes a dark chocolate cocoa that is available at conventional grocery stores.
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan
The original recipe said to line the pan with parchment or foil but we found the finished product stuck so we use pan release (PAM) and it works great.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. (Be sure the heat is not over 325)
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. We just use a regular double-boiler. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.