These brownies are another gift from my mother. Naturally I urge everyone to resist the temptation to eat the entire pan in one sitting. A friend of mine in college, who was always watching her weight, ended up about halfway through the pan before asking me how much butter I used and stopping abruptly. A far better choice is to enjoy a small piece, fresh or warmed up, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a glass of milk. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that, by using both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate every bite is as rich as you would hope for from a fudge brownie.
Before you mix anything up you should first prepare your pan. Either a Pyrex or metal pan will work, just so long as it measures roughly 8″x8″. First spray the insides with non-stick spray or rub the insides with butter. Next take some flour and dust the inside, ensuring that all surfaces are coated and that the excess is removed by tapping the bottom and sides. I usually do this part over a sink to avoid the potential for mess.
If you want to add the optional almonds, and it is a great option, you should chop and dry toast them right after you prepare the pan. You should do this step in the oven at 375 until you can smell them, checking them after five minutes. Alternatively you can do this on the stove top in a sauté pan, over medium heat and stirring constantly until they start giving off their wonderful almond aroma. The stove top, however, is a bit of a short cut according to my boyfriend and he would recommend avoiding it if possible.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 T. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 stick of unsalted butter (add half as much salt if the butter is salted)
1 1/4 cups of sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Optional: 3/4 cup chopped toasted almonds (not optional for nut lovers like my boyfriend)
Mix the flour, baking powder, cocoa power and salt in a bowl. In a medium sized pot over low heat melt the butter, as soon as it is liquid stir in the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted completely, remove the pot from the heat and whisk in the sugar and vanilla.
Next add the eggs one at a time and whisk until glossy and gelatinous. Whisk in the dry ingredients and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes in a metal pan, or 35-40 minutes in a Pyrex pan. The brownies are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. (More or less depending on how well done you like your brownies).