Chocolate Brownies (with a Crackly Crust)

These brownies are not too cakey, not too fudgy. If you bake them just right (do not over-bake) they will have qualities of both. You can add walnuts, if you like. (If you do use the nuts, scatter some on top of the batter as well as folding them in; the brownies will look fabulous). If you use the recommended chocolates they will feature that great brownie crust that so many of us crave.

Makes 24 to 32 brownies

10 ounces semisweet chocolate, 55% to 60%, such as Callebaut semisweet or Valrhona Equitoriale, finely chopped

¾ cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into large pieces

1 3/4 cups sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups lightly toasted walnut halves, chopped (optional)

Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13 x 9-inch pan with nonstick spray.

Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or microwave. Whisk together until smooth and set aside.

Meanwhile, place sugar and eggs in bowl of mixer. Using the balloon whip attachment, whip on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 3 minutes.

Add melted chocolate mixture to eggs and beat until just combined.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl then add to batter, stirring in by hand just until combined. Fold in about three-quarters of the nuts, if using.

Scrape batter into pan. Scatter remaining nuts on top, if using. Bake for approximately 25 to 35 minutes. The top will look dull, a bit puffed and the edges will barely come away from the pan’s sides. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with some moist crumbs clinging. The longer you bake them, the drier they’ll be, so don’t over-bake.

Cool on rack until completely cool before cutting. Store at room temperature covered with plastic wrap. Best eaten within one day.