Sweet and Salty Brownies
These are the ULTIMATE salted caramel brownie! The batter from the super popular Baked brownie is used, with a layer homemade salted caramel baked right into the middle. Sprinkled with fleur de sel and coarse sugar, it’s a sweet/salty lover’s dream!
When my husband and I first started dating, he was living and working outside of Washington, DC; we did the long distance thing for about three years before he packed up and moved back home to Pittsburgh. We would visit each other on weekends, and going out there always felt like little mini-vacations. We found so many fun things to do, and one of our favorites when the weather wasn’t too sweltering was going to the Leesburg Outlets to walk around and shop.
During one of our shopping trips, I happened upon a sidewalk sale that had a massive stack of Baked Explorations cookbooks on clearance. It is the second in the Baked cookbook series (you know, the book that brought us the Baked Brownie and Root Beer Float Cake, mmm!). I snatched it up, and couldn’t wait to get in the car to start browsing through it. These sweet and salty brownies jumped off the page at me, and I knew immediately they would be the first thing I’d bake from the book. All these years later, I’m still so happy I made that decision because if you’re looking for salted caramel brownies, look no further. These are THE BEST.
These brownies are a take on the fabulous Baked brownie, which are dense, fudgy and the most delicious brownie I have ever had. This recipe slaps a layer of salted caramel in the middle and then sprinkles a combination of fleur de sel and coarse sugar on top. I had previously made salted caramel brownies where I swirled the caramel into the brownie batter, but the salted caramel in these brownies are baked right into a middle layer, so it essentially becomes part of the brownie batter. You can definitely taste it in there and the saltiness it imparts, along with the salt sprinkled on top, is a wonderful balance to the sweet richness of the brownie batter. These are definitely killer salted caramel brownies.
The salted caramel trend has been around for quite a long time now, and I don’t foresee it going anywhere anytime soon, so might as well hop right on that bandwagon, whip up a batch of salted caramel sauce, and make these babies.
Four years ago: Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Five years ago: Golden Grahams S’mores Bars
Sweet and Salty Brownies
For the Salted Caramel Filling
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ¼ cup (62.5 ml) water
- ½ cup (119 ml) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel
- ¼ cup (57.5 ml) sour cream
For the Brownie Batter
- 1¼ cups (156.25 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 11 ounces (311.85 g) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 g) light brown sugar
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Topping
- 1½ teaspoons (1.5 teaspoons) fleur de sel
- 1 teaspoon coarse sugar
- Make the Salted Caramel: In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with ¼ cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don't splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F, or until the mixture is dark amber in color (keep a close eye on the caramel at all times, as it goes from golden brown to black and burnt very quickly), 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and slowly add the cream (careful, it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel. Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.
- Make the Brownie Batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9x13-inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder.
- Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.
- Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage, or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is just a trace amount of the flour mixture still visible.
- Assemble the Brownies: Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Drizzle about ¾ cup of the caramel sauce over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, making sure the caramel doesn't come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn. Use an offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer, leaving about a ½-inch border around the edges. In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer.
- Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and coarse sugar. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving. The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. They also freeze extremely well!
- You will not use all of the salted caramel sauce for the brownies; store the remainder in the refrigerator for drizzling on ice cream (or eating with a spoon). Use within 2 weeks.
- You can use your favorite homemade salted caramel sauce, or store-bought, if you'd prefer.
BONUS! You get a little leftover salted caramel sauce to keep in your fridge for emergency situations!
This recipe was originally published on June 7, 2011.