Rich, deep and dark brownies made with three kinds of chocolate, swirled with dark caramel and sprinkled with fleur de sel – do we have your attention? The idea of salted caramel brownies isn’t new, but our take on it is. Recipes abound that use either caramel sauce incorporated into the batter or that use purchased caramels; the former makes a wet, gloppy brownie and the latter lacks flavor and quality control, so we started from scratch and hit it out of the park. The brownie base is essentially the same as our Extreme Chocolate Brownie. For the caramel, we turned to an actual caramel candy recipe, which does have to be prepared first. This is not a spur-of-the-moment brownie recipe, but one tester said they were “life changing.” Is that over the top? Maybe, but we promise that for the moments that they are in your mouth, you will indeed be transported. We like to make half the pan with additional pecans for our take on Salted Turtle Brownies. The picture below shows half the pan with pecans, with caramel all over the batter right before they go in the oven.
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet chocolate morsels/chips
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, such as Callebaut
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup pecan halves, roughly chopped, optional
- 1 teaspoon fleur de sel, divided
- For the Caramel: Have a large heatproof, microwaveable glass bowl ready to receive the caramel.
- Stir sugar, corn syrup and water together in a deep, heavy bottom pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling the pot once or twice to combine ingredients, but do not stir. Boil until mixture turns a medium amber color; watch closely as the color will deepen quickly. Immediately remove from heat and add cream and butter. The mixture may bubble up furiously; just let it sit for a moment to subside. Place back over medium-high to high heat, swirl pot around a few times to combine ingredients. Clip on a candy thermometer and boil until mixture reaches 250°F, which could take several minutes. The mixture must come up to 250°F. Immediately pour mixture into glass bowl without scraping the bottom of the pot. Allow to sit while you prepare brownies.
- For the Brownies and Assembly: Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 13-inch by 9-inch pan with nonstick spray; line with parchment paper, then spray parchment.
- Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips; set aside.
- Melt 8 ounces of chopped chocolate, butter and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water or in a microwaveable bowl. Cool to lukewarm.
- In a large bowl, gently whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir the lukewarm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Fold then stir in the dry mixture just until combined. Pour about three-quarters of the brownie into prepared pan (you can do this by eye). Warm the caramel in the microwave on high power in 15-second bursts until fluid. Drizzle about half of it evenly over the brownies. Scrape remaining brownie batter on top and smooth gently with a small offset spatula. Sprinkle the pecans, if using, over half of the pan. Drizzle evenly with remaining caramel and then evenly sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt.
- Bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, rotating pan front to back once during baking, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on rack. Sprinkle with remaining salt. Cut into squares (6 x 4); best eaten within 3 days. Store in airtight container at room temperature in single layers separated by parchment paper or foil. May be frozen up to 1 month, double wrapped in plastic and then foil.
- It is important to swirl the caramel mixture several times during boiling to make sure that the desired temperature is consistent throughout the mixture. It is typical for it to have reached 250°F along the edges but not yet in the center. Swirl, swirl, swirl and test the temperature again!
- We like to use a ½-cup dry measuring cup to scoop up the caramel and facilitate the drizzling.
- If your room temperature is on the warmer side, we suggest refrigerating these brownies.
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