1/2 cup unsweetened, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons milk or cream

Place the choclate in a heatproof bowl or measuring cup. Using the medium power setting on your microwave, or over simmering water, melt the choclate about three-quarters of the way. Remove from the heat or microwave and stir the chocolate until it's completely smooth. Set aside to cool at room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and salt until fluffy. Add about half of the confectioners sugar and beat slowly until well blended. Add the vanilla and half the milk and beat until fluffy. Add the melted chocolate and mix until thoroughly blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining sugar and milk alternately until they've been completely incorporated. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, adjusting the consistency with more milk or confectioners sugar as needed. If you want some frosting left over to use in decorating, change the ingredient amounts as follows: 1/2 cup butter, 2/3 cup chocolate, approximately 6 cups sugar, and up to 1/2 cup milk or cream.

Yield:2 to 3 cups, enough to frost and 8 or 9 inch layer cake, 9x13 inch cake, or 24 cupcakes.