Infinitely adaptable fudge brownies
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare an 8 or 9 inch square pan by lining with parchment paper or greasing with butter or cooking spray.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and chocolate together over medium-low heat. Be careful not to burn the chocolate!
If using cocoa powder and additional butter, melt the butter before stirring in the cocoa powder until smooth.
Remove the chocolate mixture from heat.
Add sugar to the chocolate mixture and stir well. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Carefully incorporate the flour. I find it helpful to stir slowly from the outside in until no white remains.
If using mix-ins (except more fluid mix-ins like peanut butter), add them at this point.
Spread mixture in your prepared pan. If you're using peanut butter or a similar mix in, you can add it now.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the top is dry and the inside is mostly set. These brownies are not very firm and the middle will remain quite soft, even when cooled. This is normal and adds to the fudgy goodness.
Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting, if you can wait that long!
These brownies are super adaptable. In the past, I've added everything from chocolate chips and nuts to marshmallows and graham crackers. Find flavors that you love and go for it! Also, don't worry about overcooking these. The last time I made them, I accidentally left them in the oven for almost an hour (whoops!) and they were just as fudgy as ever. If you're really worried about them being done in the center, go ahead and leave them in a few extra minutes. Personally, I don't mind them being soft, though.