Alice Medrich's "Best Cocoa Brownies" are definitely some of the best I've ever made or tasted. They're also really easy AND much cheaper to make than recipes that require melting chopped chocolate bars. I suppose that's why the folks at Food52 called them "genius".
I only slightly altered Alice's recipe and simplified the directions just a bit by having you make the entire batter in the saucepan you use to melt the butter in. The sprinkling of flaky sea salt suggested by Food 52 is a must. So good!
Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies from Food52
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 scant cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Dutch-process is also fine to use here)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs (right out of the fridge)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cups toasted chopped walnuts and/or pecans (optional)
flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top of the batter before baking, optional
Preheat your oven to 325.
Toast your chopped nuts, if using, for 8-12 minutes until fragrant.
Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment or foil, greasing any exposed parts of the pan.
Heat the butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat until its just about melted. Remove the pan from the heat to finish melting. Add the additional ingredients to the melted butter in the order above, stirring well after each addition to combine them.
When you add the flour, stir it until combined, then give it an additional 40 vigorous stirs. Add the toasted chopped nuts and pour the batter into your prepared pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out just barely clean (you want to under-bake these just a tad). Cool in the pan on a rack. Enjoy!