Chocolate lovers! Caramel lovers! Look.At.These.Brownies! I’m at a loss for words here because anything I say will be inadequate in describing The BEST Salted Caramel Brownie Recipe. Seriously, this is a classic example of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.
I do want to talk a lot about the process however, because it took me a few tries to come to this fool-proof finished recipe, and I do have a few thoughts on how chocolate-y and caramel-y you might (or might not) want them. My printable instructions below seem long but don’t be put off by that. I give you detailed instructions so you will have success the very first time you make this recipe.
Now put on some music and an apron and let’s get started-
First make the caramel. I include the full recipe in this printable, but also have step-by-step photo instructions for the caramel sauce here. Alternately, you could use purchased caramel sauce, I guess, but making homemade caramel is so easy and inexpensive.
While the caramel is cooling, let’s begin the brownies. Start by lining a baking dish with parchment paper. This will help you easily remove the brownies from the pan after they’ve cooled.
This brownie batter is super simple and perfectly thick and chocolate-y. Made quickly by hand or with a stand mixer.
The assembly process is what I really want to show you. Spread about half the brownie batter evenly to the sides of the dish, spreading the batter a little up the sides.
Now spread the caramel sauce over the batter. If you made the caramel sauce ahead of time and it has become too thick to spread, heat it in the microwave for about 5 to 8 seconds and it will spread easily. Do not spread the caramel all the way to the edge.
Begin to cover the caramel with the remaining batter. I place a bit of batter around the edges first to ensure that I don’t inadvertently spread the caramel out to the edge of the baking dish.
The remaining batter can now be gently dropped onto the rest of the mixture and then spread to cover.
Using a spatula, continue covering the caramel. If a bit of caramel still shows, it’s okay, the batter will cover it as it bakes.
After the brownies are done baking, let them cool for a good hour. You can then easily lift them out of the pan by pulling up on the parchment.
After cooling, get these chocolate beauties cut and served! The caramel has melted throughout, ensuring a moist (understatement), flavorful brownie. Surprisingly, even though they look it, they are not too rich at all. Perfectly sweet and not too salty. Just right. The salted caramel brownies are very easy to make and can be customized with more or less caramel and over-the-top amounts of chocolate, depending on what you’re looking for.
Since the caramel kind of disappears into the center of the brownie, I like to drizzle a bit more over each brownie, just for extra excitement. Then add a few flakes of coarse salt over the top if you like.
Speaking of the top, the tops of these brownies are perfectly, delicately crusted to hold all the gooey goodness inside.
Finally, I have to show you this picture of the Salted Caramel Brownies made with the optional bittersweet chocolate chips. Personally, even though these were “Oooh”-out-loud amazing, they were so super-moist that it was almost like eating the batter rather than the finished brownie. So, I’ll leave that up to you.
- For the salted caramel:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into thirds
- ½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons sea salt (if using regular table salt, use less)
- For the brownies:
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon brewed coffee (optional)
- ¾ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup bittersweet 60% cacao chocolate chips (optional, will be VERY gooey)
- ½ cup of the salted caramel (optionally, use ½ cup purchased pre-made caramel sauce)
- Coarse salt for sprinkling on finished brownies, optional
- Make the caramel: (The caramel can be made a day ahead and softened again in the microwave for easy pouring. It really doesn't take a lot of time though.)
- Pour the sugar into a medium saucepan and heat to medium-high. Using a rubber spatula, stir the sugar just occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pan. At first the sugar will be lumpy, but will soon melt and start turning brown. Don't stir too often, just enough to keep everything evenly cooking. After about 5 minutes, the sugar should be fully melted and become a rich amber color.
- At this point, remove the pan from the heat and immediately add the butter. the mixture will start to bubble quite rapidly. That's just what you want.
- Using your spatula or a whisk, stir the butter and sugar until they melt together almost completely. This can take 1-2 minutes.
- Next, pour in the heavy whipping cream and sea salt. If you're making regular caramel, then add ½ teaspoon of salt and no more. If you're making a salted caramel version, add anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 1½ teaspoons depending on your liking.
- Stir constantly now until the sauce is all mixed together and is smooth. Place back on the stove at medium-high heat again for about 20 seconds more. Remember to keep stirring.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately for a hot option over ice cream or let cool at least 15 minutes for room temperature use.
- Over several minutes, the caramel will become harder to stir. For a manageable sauce, just heat in microwave for 10-15 seconds and stir again.
- Make the brownies:
- While the caramel is cooling, preheat oven to 350F degrees. Very lightly, butter an 8"x8" baking dish. Now cut two 8"x 16" pieces of parchment paper. Place one piece in the dish with edges coming up the sides. Very lightly butter the bottom of that piece of paper (this is so the second piece will adhere to it). Place the second sheet of parchment paper in dish coming up the other sides of the dish. Again, very lightly butter the parchment so all surfaces the brownies will touch are covered (I can't stress enough, use a light hand). Set aside.
- In a medium bowl or stand mixer bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar until mixed well. Add eggs, vanilla extract, salt and optional coffee, mixing on medium speed of the stand mixer or quickly by hand. Once combined fold in cocoa powder and flour. If using, toss in the bittersweet chocolate chips. Cook's note: The chocolate chips make this doubly chocolatey and are delicious, but your brownies will be SUPER gooey.
- Pour about halve the brownie batter into the baking dish, spreading evenly to the edges and up the sides of the pan a little.
- Pour ½ cup (more or less, depending on your liking) of the salted caramel over the brownie batter, spreading evenly but not quite to the edges.
- Spoon the rest of the brownie batter over the top, sealing as much of the caramel in as you can.
- Bake the brownies at 350F degrees for 30 minutes. Then decrease temperature to 325F degrees and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes or until a knife insterted in the center comes out clean. Reducing the heat for the last few minutes helps the brownies to bake evenly from edges to center without the edges getting over-cooked.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely (about 1 hour). Cut into 9 squares.
- Serve with extra caramel drizzled over each brownie, if desired. Also, sprinkle with coarse salt (just a little).