Classic Chocolate Brownies

Classic Chocolate Brownies

The original American icon shows you how to prepare this American classic.


Ingredients

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Special equipment: a 9 x 12-inch baking pan

Directions

Brownies that are crusty on top and gooey within. They are baked at high temperature for a short period of time, then cooled in an ice bath. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Place the chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until the first one is blended in before adding the next. Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until the batter is smooth, glossy, and beginning to come away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the nuts, (optional). Scrape the batter into the lined pan and smooth to even it. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. The surface of the brownies will look dry but a toothpick inserted in the center will come out very gooey. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath: Fill a roasting pan or large baking pan with ice cubes and about 3/4 inch of water. When the brownies are ready, remove the pan from the oven and immediately set it in the ice bath. Take care not to splash water on the brownies. Let the brownies cool. Remove the pan from the ice bath, lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares. (The brownies can be stored, airtight, for 2 to 3 days.)