Sometimes you just need chocolate to get things on an even keel. My dear friend Julie Fox makes these killer (and easy-to-do) brownies. They taste even better if someone makes them for you, so consider baking them for someone you love.
1-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, for greasing
4 tablespoons plus 3-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 12x17-inch jelly-roll pan and dust with 4 tablespoons sugar. Discard any sugar that doesn't adhere to pan. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine 3 sticks butter and chocolate. Cook, stirring occasionally, until both have melted. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat eggs with 3-1/2 cups sugar until blended but not "frothy." Stir in vanilla, then chocolate. Add flour, stirring until just combined. Fold in nuts if you like.
Spread batter in prepared pan and bake 35 minutes, or until set. (A wooden toothpick inserted in the center should come out almost clean.) Let cool completely before cutting.
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