Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

I first fell in love with salted caramel back on a chilly January day this past winter. It was a Friday. The night before, my Chief Culinary Consultant and I went to a Pens/Caps game (we won’t discuss the result), and he was in town and off the next day. So we did what we do best – we went shopping. We were making our way around town when we passed a cupcake shop and I’m pretty sure I was adamant about stopping in. And so we did. We got a variety of cupcakes and busted into a couple once we got back in the car and saved some for later. As it turns out, we weren’t very impressed for all of the hype that the shop gets. The cupcakes themselves were quite dry, but wow the buttercream was the stuff baker dream are made of. Smooth, creamy, not too buttery or too sugary; melt-in-your-mouth frosting perfection. And lucky for me one of the varieties I chose was salted caramel. I don’t even think I finished the actual cupcake part, but rather ate all of the frosting off the top. Salted caramel and I had made a love connection. When we hit up Georgetown Cupcake a few weeks ago, I immediately went for the salted caramel there as well, and fell in love all over again.

Salted Caramel Brownies

Somehow it took me until now to actually make salted caramel instead of traipsing around eating it in the form of frosting. Not that there is anything at all wrong with that though. Right? I couldn’t wait to make it but wanted to do something different with it than frosting since that was the only way I had eaten it so far. I saw a link on Two Peas and Their Pod to The Pioneer’s Woman’s Salted Caramel Brownies. They looked delicious, but I wasn’t sold on using gelatin to make a caramel layer set, so I brainstormed some alternatives. I finally decided that the brownies would be simply marvelous with a swirl of salted caramel, similar to how cream cheese brownies are made. And my sun could rise and set around cream cheese brownies. This turned out to be a fabulous experiment, and a recipe that gets a gold star. The brownies are rich, chocolatey, creamy and salty all in one beautiful bite.

And if that weren’t enough, there’s more good news. You won’t use the entire batch of salted caramel for these brownies, so you will have some leftover to dip apples and pretzels in, drizzle on ice cream, take a bath in… hey, whatever you want! Just enjoy it!

Salted Caramel Brownies

If you received the Brown Eyed Baker weekly newsletter last week then you know the weekly baking challenge was… brownies! Did you make any this past week? If you did, I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below, and include a link if you blogged about brownies! And don’t forget to add your pictures to the Flickr group for the weekly baking themes! Hope you enjoyed this one!

One year ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Two years ago: Zebra Cake

Salted Caramel Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Brownies:
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 eggs
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the Salted Caramel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature

Fine sea salt, for topping brownies

Directions:

1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with overlapping pieces of foil and spray the foil.

2. In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as the sugar begins to melt. Some of the sugar will harden into clumps, but that's okay - it will melt eventually - just keep whisking. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. At that point, whisk in the salt, and then add the butter all at once and whisk until it is completely incorporated into the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream (it will foam up when first added). Continue to whisk until it forms a smooth sauce. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before using in the brownies. The leftover sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (You'll probably need to warm it up a bit straight from the refrigerator.)

3. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. (Or, melt in the microwave on 50% power for 30-second increments, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.) Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.

4. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour until just combined. Pour about half of the brownie mixture into the prepared pan and spread into the corners. Spoon 9 dollops of Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. Top with the remaining brownie mixture, spread into the corners and level the surface with a spatula. Again, spoon 9 dollops of the Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. With a dull butter knife, gently run it through the batter to swirl the batter just a bit (don't do it too much or it will all mix together). Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top.

5. Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove the brownies from the pan using the foil handles and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

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139 Responses to “Salted Caramel Brownies”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. Vicky on October 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Hi! Thank you for sharing this recipe. It was to die for!! I was a little intimidated with making the caramel but it turned out great. I made sure to take the melted sugar off the burner right when it start to smoke/steam a little and was a dark amber (I was afraid it would burn). I then put in the salt and butter and it did separate like cookie dough but I put it back on the burner and kept whisking. It wasn’t completely smooth when I took it off the burner again and added the cream. But I kept whisking and it smoothed out. I put it in the fridge while I made the brownie batter so I could “dollop” it on later. I also used parchment paper to line the pan and the brownies lifted out with no resistance. Thanks again!!

    Reply

  2. Jade on October 9, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    I made the mistake of using brown sugar for the caramel sauce and burned it :( I was so excited! I’ll try again once I have white sugar! I also tried subbing milk/butter for heavy whipping cream. Can’t wait to try again! Even though the house smells like burned marshmallow now! Lol they just look sooo good!

    Reply

  3. Jo on November 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    What did I do wrong? When I added the butter to the sugar in the pan, the sugar essentially hardened into chunks and didn’t blend with the butter at all! Help!

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 30th, 2013 at 9:14 pm

      Hi Jo, Oh no, I’m sorry you had some trouble. It sounds like your sugar mixture got too hot.

      Reply

  4. Ana Makhzan on January 20, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Found your recipe two nights ago, read it before I went to sleep. Dreamt about it. Woke up and tried your recipe. Simple and wonderfully delicious. Used brown sugar instead. The brownies are still moist and the salted caramel on top and in the middle is a lovely contrast to the chocolate taste :-D. Thanks!!

    Reply

  5. Kristina on February 9, 2014 at 2:08 am

    So I need help! This is the first time baking these. I did the foil wrong but everything else i did right. The only problem I had was the middle did not cook but they came out a little burned. Where did I go wrong? Help!!! Lol

    Reply

  6. yael on February 17, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I want o try these for gifting to neighbors and would want to make in advance and freeze. What would happen if these were frozen? would the caramel, when back at room temperature taste the way it should or would it be hardened and never the same again?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 17th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      I think you could freeze these and that they would thaw well.

      Reply

  7. Amanda on March 9, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Loved the idea behind this recipe – salted caramel incorporated into a brownie? Yum! And your pictures of them look divine… but unfortunately as some other commenters pointed out, this method of making caramel is unlike any that I have heard or used myself, and it failed miserably. I will definitely try these again using my own caramel recipe, but I’m very disappointed that I wasted the time/ingredients on something that failed so badly!

    Reply

  8. kathy on April 30, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    Yummy! I may have to attempt this one. I found some video for caramel brownies here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcgJtl1iehM which may be a little easier for me. But I’m adding this one to the list!

    Reply

  9. annette on June 26, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I was recently searching for a salted caramel sauce recipe and found this one. I decided to give it a try since it was less fussy than others…no monitoring with a candy thermometer, no added water to cook off. It’s direct and to the point…essentially just melt the sugar and stir in the dairy. It all comes together very quickly. While I haven’t made the full brownie recipe, I have made the sauce twice. First time I made the mistake of waiting until the sugar was a bit too dark. Resulting sauce had a hint of bitter but not unpleasant. Think of the “burnt sugar” flavor of a creme brulee. Second time I didn’t let the sugar get as dark, and it was perfect. This stuff is good on everything!

    One alteration that I made the second time…I added a tiny dribble of light corn syrup to the sugar…to prevent crystallization. I don’t know if it helped but it certainly didn’t hurt. I was also out of unsalted butter both times, so I used salted and cut back a smidge on the added salt.

    Reply

  10. Kira on July 4, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I just made these for the second time today! I did reduce the sugar in the brownies by 1/4th of a cup and used 4tbsp of butter rather than 6tbsp in the caramel sauce because it was a bit too sweet before. These are delish! I’m taking them to my friend’s “Fourth of July” party.

    Reply

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