2 sticks of salted butter at room temp
4-6 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons or so of vanilla extract (don't be thrifty on this and get the good stuff, no imitation)
1/2 cup of Hershey's Cocoa Powder
2 Squares of Ghiradelli Baking Chocolate (the semi-sweet kind big bar)
1 tablespoon or so of milk or half and half
What you do:
It is really helpful to have a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer but if you don't you can do this in a bowl with a regular mixer, no problem, you're going to get a nice arm workout!
If your butter is cold you can soften it by unwrapping and putting it in the microwave on 50% power for 10 sec intervals. Making sure it doesn't melt is crucial, so don't do anything else while you do this!
Put your butter in your mixer and let it whip on medium speed for about 5 minutes, stop and scrape the sides once or twice.
While it is beating, melt the chocolate squares carefully in the microwave (half power, short intervals) until it is just melted all the way through. Make sure that there are no lumps.
Add the vanilla and melted chocolate to the butter.
Add the 1/2 cup of Hershey's Cocoa Powder
Once the cocoa powder has been incorporated add the powdered sugar (minimum 4 cups) 1/2 cup at a time. After 2 cups of powdered sugar add in the milk (or half and half). You can add more than 4 cups if you need more frosting. Just keep alternating powdered sugar and milk.
Depending on how you like your frosting (thicker, thinner) alternate adding milk and powdered sugar until you get the consistency that you are after. If it doesn't have enough chocolate for your tastes add more cocoa powder 1/8 cup at a time, although this is pretty perfect to me. Frosting is never an exact measurement for me. Cupcake baking is another story, chemistry is not forgiving!