Caramel brownies with flaky sea salt are gooey, sweet, a little salty…and worth every.single.calorie. They are an absolutely perfect dessert!
There are some flavors that just go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Peanut butter and chocolate. Chocolate and caramel. Caramel and salt.
Honestly, there are few flavors on earth that draw me in like salted caramel. I remember one time getting a coupon for a salted caramel hot chocolate from Starbucks, when it was a new menu item. I was determined to get that hot chocolate! I went to the Starbucks in Target after I finished my shopping. I ended up spilling that blasted hot chocolate all over the front seat of my car that I’d had for less than six months. If you’ve ever spilled anything on the upholstery of a Volvo, you know that nothing-not even water-comes out (seriously…I had water stains on the seats of that stupid car). The lesson here: don’t get in your car carrying hot chocolate while wearing gloves, and if you buy a Volvo, get leather seats. Or just get a Prius instead (?).
Still, it was sorta kinda worth it because I was able to drink most of that salted caramel hot chocolate. I do remember, though, that the hot chocolate wasn’t really salty enough. If I’m going to have salted caramel, I want it to be very caramel-y and very salty (not like mouth burning salty but I want to taste the salt). Anytime I find a recipe that promises that I can go ahead and add as much salt as I deem appropriate, I’m all about it.
Enter these salted caramel brownies. I was looking for a great, simple dessert that I could take to Philip’s parents’ house for a family lunch and that I could also take to work for a birthday lunch. Now, I realize that something that requires hot molten caramel and mixing up brownies from scratch doesn’t really sound simple, but I promise that (1) if you make brownies from scratch once or twice you’ll realize that it’s really too much trouble to buy boxed mixes…I always have the ingredients to make SOME version of homemade brownies-butter, eggs, flour, sugar, cocoa; and (2) once you make caramel from scratch a couple of times you’ll realize that as long as you refrain from licking the spoon right after you stir the boiling hot lava that it’s totally worth a little extra effort because homemade caramel gets as thick as you want it to and it’s just so.darn.good.
My recipe for salted caramel brownies is adapted from a brownie recipe by Ina Garten that I found on the Food Network website and a caramel recipe from The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book. You might notice that the recipe is for an 8×8 square pan of brownies, but the photos actually show a 9×13 pan…that’s because doubled the recipe to take it to work, and it worked great. However many of these you want to eat (I ate a lot more than I’d like to admit), you won’t regret making these caramel brownies with flaky sea salt!
This post contains an affiliate link for The Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book, because it’s one of my favorite books and if you love baking you’ll love this book. If you click through to Amazon and make a purchase from this link, I will receive a small commission. The price to you will not be affected!
Yield: 16 brownies
20 minPrep Time:
1 hrCook Time:
- 1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 1/4 cup (8.75 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter plus more for pan
- cocoa powder for pan
- 7 ounces chocolate chips, divided (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
- 1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (5 ounces) sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt (I used Diamond Crystals kosher salt)
- Make the caramel: Combine cream and salt in a small bowl. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the water and corn syrup. Add the sugar to the center of the saucepan and carefully stir to moisten the sugar. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 2-3 minutes without stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear. Uncover and cook without stirring until the bubbles in the mixture are light golden. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until temperature reaches 360 degrees and the mixture is amber in color. Remove from heat and stir in the cream mixture. Stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch baking pan then sprinkle with cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Place the butter, 4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 30-second intervals, stirring between intervals, until completely melted. Set aside and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and stir until well-combined.
- In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour, the baking powder, and the salt and add to the chocolate mixture. Stir until no dry flour remains. In another small bowl, toss the remaining chocolate chips with the remaining flour. Stir into the brownie batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven.
- Warm the cooled caramel and pour over the brownies. Sprinkle the salt all over the top of the caramel. Cool completely then cut into squares and serve.
The caramel from this recipe is adapted from The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book. The brownies are from Barefoot Contessa on FoodNetwork.com. If you would like to double the recipe, use three eggs instead of one egg plus one yolk.