I'm having a hard time trying to express how incredibly awesome these salted caramel brownies are. I want to swim in them. I want to hide in my closet and eat all of them and then groan from pleasure when I feel sick from all the sugar. I want to eat them morning, noon, and night (and I have). These are probably one of the best desserts I've had in my almost 30 years of living and eating. They. Are. Good.

This week's Project Pastry Queen was chosen by Jen of Sweet Morris, and it's a savory shrimp and crab cheesecake. These brownies obviously aren't that...this girl is not a lover of seafood, and the hubs is lactose intolerant. Therefore, a seafood cheesecake is not going to go over well in this house. I'm very intrigued by it though, so I'm heading over to Jen's site and the Project Pastry Queen website to check out those who made it. You should do the same.

Instead of making the seafood cheesecake, I made these brownies and adapted them from The Pastry Queen cookbook. Her recipe, of course, include nuts (as every other dessert recipe does), and it doesn't have any sea salt. I personally think there is no point in eating the chocolate/caramel combo if there's no sea salt involved. It enhances the flavors 100-fold and solves the salty/sweet problem I always seem to have. When I eat these, I don't have the craving to eat popcorn or chips, too. One of the best parts is that the caramel layer stays gooey for as long as the brownies last (for me, that was two days before I devoured them). These take a tiny bit of time to make because you have to bake and cool a layer before you can finish them, but they are well worth the wait. I halved the original recipe because I certainly didn't need a 9x13 pan; if you're making for a large crowd, just double my recipe. P.S., 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoon is half of 1/3 cup.

Salted Caramel Brownies Recipe
Makes a 9x9 pan
Print this recipe

Update: I've had a few comments about the remaining brownie batter being a little stiff to work with after the first layer of brownies have baked and cooled. To remedy this, microwave the remaining batter for 5-10 seconds until it's spreadable again. 
 
1/2 cup butter
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or coarsely chopped
3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
7 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped (half of a 14 ounce bag)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream
1/2-3/4 teaspoon sea salt, divided

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with aluminum foil, leaving a few inches hanging over the sides (this foil will turn into handles to lift the brownies out of the pan later). Spray the foil generously with nonstick spray, paying special attention to the corners and sides.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the stick of butter. Add the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir and if the chocolate isn't fully melted, microwave for 30-second intervals until smooth, stirring in between. 

In a mixing bowl, mix together sugar, eggs, and vanilla until incorporated. Add in the butter/chocolate and mix until thick and glossy (about a minute). Stir in the flour and table salt until just combined.
 
Pour half this mixture into the greased pan and spread to corners. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool for 20 minutes. 

Place the caramels, cream, and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt In a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until smooth and creamy.  Pour this caramel over the cooked brownies and spread to the corners. Pour the rest of the brownie mixture evenly over the caramel (don't dump it all in the middle or it will be hard to spread) and spread to the corners. Sprinkle 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sea salt on top of the brownie batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the center is set. Cool completely before lifting the foil out of the pan.

Adapted from The Pastry Queen Cookbook.
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Comments

06/03/2012 10:36pm

Oooh! Looks so yummy!

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06/03/2012 11:54pm

Good lord. How can one not want to swim in a dessert like this?!

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06/04/2012 3:48am

These look so delicious. I love brownies that have a little something extra and the sea salt is definitely worth it.

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06/04/2012 6:00am

These look amazing and I couldn't agree more about the salty/sweet combo. I've made a similar version using a devil's food cake mix as the base - but these look even better. On my must try list!! Xo

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06/04/2012 6:45am

Oh, the brownies look amazing. I love brownies but I haven't tried this one yet. I guess I know what I'll be making real soon!

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06/04/2012 8:57am

O-my... these look a-mazing! I can't get over that gooey caramel! And I love how you added sea salt, I totally agree with the sweet-salty thing, these are perfect!

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06/04/2012 9:23am

WOW, these look AMAZING. And your photography is wonderful. Great recipe!

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06/04/2012 9:46am

Oh. my. goodness. Loving that gooey, caramel deliciousness!

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These look ooey gooey delicious! I love sweet and salty recipes!

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06/04/2012 5:41pm

Oh my, these brownies are perfect for me! I love caramel and it's not too sweet! Thanks for sharing this recipe! :)

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Lina
06/04/2012 8:14pm

Hi. This looks like layers of heaven. Would like to try it some time. But can i just use regular salt instead of sea salt?

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She Makes and Bakes
06/05/2012 10:03am

Hi, unfortunately you can't sub the sea salt for regular salt as it would be too salty and not the right texture. You get can sea salt for really cheap at the store right next to the table salt, and it's a great purchase!

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06/05/2012 12:05pm

Look how oozy that caramel is! Looks so crazy delicious.

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06/05/2012 1:48pm

Oooh, these look amazing! I love just about anything that contains the phrase "salted caramel"... I had some dark chocolate salted caramel gelato last weekend and just about passed out from deliciousness overload. ;-)

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06/05/2012 2:10pm

It can not be denied that those caramel brownies look great! I've never tried salted caramel, but it really looks great and I can imagine to taste wonderful. Can't think of any caramel candies I could use, though.

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She Makes and Bakes
06/05/2012 2:19pm

If you look in the candy aisle in your grocery store, Kraft makes a 14 ounce bag of prewrapped square caramels. That's what I used (but only half the bag). There are a lot of different brands in that aisle, too.

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06/05/2012 5:21pm

These look mouth watering!!!

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06/05/2012 9:51pm

Wow Emily! These look outrageously good! A perfect sweet and salty treat! And you are right...that pinch of sea salt makes all the difference in the world! : )

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06/08/2012 5:08am

Rich, gooey and decadent! Everything I want in a brownie! Great recipe! :)

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Debra Kapellakis
06/08/2012 8:14am

caramel and chocolate...I need nothing more...

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06/10/2012 11:14pm

I think I just found my next baking recipe for people at work to enjoy!

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06/11/2012 10:03am

Oh. My. Goodness. They look absolutely amazing.

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lin
06/11/2012 8:52pm

do u need to fully bake the brownies before.putting the caramel or the brownies can be just half baked..

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She Makes and Bakes
06/11/2012 9:13pm

The bottom layer of brownies will be fully cooked but still fudgy after 20 minutes of baking.

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06/24/2012 11:44pm

I can understand why it is hard for you to describe how AMAZING these salted caramel brownies are :) I can't wait to make them THANKS FOR SHARING!

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LivedinItaly
06/26/2012 6:28am

OMG, how decadent! Have to get a shopping list together. I'm going to try sprinkling dark chocolate bits over the caramel. One question - can I use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil?

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She Makes and Bakes
06/26/2012 10:17am

You could try parchment, but I don't think it would stay in the pan as well. I don't know how well it would stay in the corners of the pan. The point of the foil is so you can lift the brownies out of the pan easier...

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06/26/2012 6:53am

I'm speechless at the sight of all that gooey caramel glory. Heaven in a brownie. Yum.

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inspired bakes
06/26/2012 8:05am

Can you provide the grams for the cups please, thanks they look amazingly stunning

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LivedinItaly
06/26/2012 3:19pm

From http://allrecipes.com/howto/cup-to-gram-conversions/

1 cup = 227 grams
1 Tablespoon = .5 fluid oz or 14.79 ml

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Christine
06/26/2012 10:22am

Wow, these look amazing, but I don't own a microwave...will heating the caramels in a bowl over boiling water work? Is it soft caramels or the hard ones?

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She Makes and Bakes
06/26/2012 11:16am

Yep, you could do the double boiler method, adding the caramels and cream and stirring until melted and smooth. It's the hard caramels, but I think the soft ones would work if that's all you have, too.

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Christine
06/30/2012 8:50am

Making this right now, using worthers originals for the caramel candies, brownies have just finished their first 20 mins & smell amazing!!!

Mike
06/26/2012 10:35am

You should be classified as a 'pusher'. Who can save us from these. We need a 'salted caramel' slayer. Awesome.

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Liz
06/27/2012 1:45am

I'm from Singapore and the only caramel candies I can think of are the soft caramels( chocolate coated) which they sell at marks and spencer. Are those good for the recipe or do you mean pure caramel candies, with no chocolate?
Thanks

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She Makes and Bakes
06/27/2012 2:57pm

I mean the pure caramel candies, but I think you should try the chocolate coated soft caramels if that's all you have. Just make sure they're melted and smooth (and taste good) with the cream before you spread them onto the brownies. If they don't work, you'll probably still have a delicious mistake!

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Aimee
06/27/2012 9:13am

I've just finished making these and it was going great until it came to putting the final brownie layer in - when I tried to spread it out it the caramel layer and the brownie all got mixed together. how did you avoid this?!

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She Makes and Bakes
06/27/2012 3:00pm

Sorry this happened!! I hope they still tasted great! It helps to dump the rest of the brownie mixture all over the caramel (instead of just in one spot) and then carefully spread it out. Also, if your brownie batter is too thick, you could heat it up for a few seconds (<5) in the microwave so it's a little more spreadable. When you spread it out, it's best to always keep brownie mixture under your knife. If you get that in the caramel, then it will drag the caramel throughout.

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Liz
07/03/2012 6:17pm

Hi! I see a note that your recipes are adapted for high-altitude baking. What adjustments will us sea-level dwellers need to make? Thanks in advance!

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She Makes and Bakes
07/03/2012 9:29pm

This recipe can be used at all altitudes...there are no adjustments. If any recipes are adjusted, they'll say so. Thanks for checking!

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Ava
07/22/2012 6:32pm

Fabulous!! Tasted great. I avoided the carmel and chocolate mixing by pouring the second batter layer over the carmel from a measuring cup in a zig-zag pattern to make it even.

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Annmarie
07/24/2012 8:43am

I will be making these for a party on Saturday! But I'd like to know how crucial the heavy whipping cream is; could I sub anything else? Lactose intolerant...:( The cream may be cooked enough that it won't be an issue, but I just thought I'd check with the expert before I become tempted to experiment. Thanks for sharing this recipe! I'm drooling just thinking about making it!

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She Makes and Bakes
07/24/2012 9:08am

The cream keeps the caramel from hardening so you definitely need it...you could try milk instead so it'll be a little easier on your stomach, but I'm not guaranteeing that would work as well. My recommendation would be to pop a lactaid pill when you eat one just in case. That's what my husband does. Good luck!

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Annmarie
07/24/2012 9:11am

Ah! I'm glad to know what purpose the cream serves. I'll risk it, with a Lactaid backup just in case! Thanks!!

Zee
08/05/2012 5:44pm

Trying this recipe now and I can't wait to dig my teeth into it! The aroma is just wonderful! The one thing I noticed is that the recipe didn't call for baking powder and it came out rather thin even with the caramel and top brownie layer. Would it hurt to add baking powder and if not, how much would you recommend adding?

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She Makes and Bakes
08/06/2012 1:16pm

I have read that "real" brownies don't have leavener in them. But to each her own...I haven't tried them with anything in them, but I'm sure you could. I would start with 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder and go from there. Let me know if you try it.

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Kelly
08/05/2012 11:17pm

Nice recipe. I love a simple brownie recipe which is easy for the kids :)
I also like the below brownie recipe.
http://www.wascene.com/food-drink/perfect-chocolate-brownie-recipe/

Thanks for sharing,
Kelly

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Lily
09/03/2012 2:46am

This looks incredible! Only one question - I'm in Australia and would like to try this recipe, is the oven temperature you've provided in Farenheit? (We use Celcius) Thanks!!

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Lulu
09/26/2012 3:50pm

I just made these, only I put a layer of broken up pretzels between the bottom layer of brownies and the caramel, and left out the sea salt. To. Die. For.

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Ben
10/04/2012 4:19pm

These sound great but how is it that the bottom layer does not get totaly overcooked?

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She Makes and Bakes
10/05/2012 8:05am

I'm not sure how they don't. I was worried about the same thing the first time I made them. Just trust me that they don't. They're incredible!

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Georgia
10/10/2012 3:58am

i live in australia and i'd like to know what caramel candies i would be able to use

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She Makes and Bakes
10/10/2012 8:13am

Any type of caramel candy...you'll want to use the chewy ones. I've never been to Australia, so I'm not sure what is available. I used Kraft, but anything that is similar to a chewy caramel candy.

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Naomi
11/02/2012 11:18am

I have a batch of these in the oven as we type!

I found that whilst waiting for the bottom layer to bake and melt the caramel, the remainder of the mix became quite stiff and difficult to handle. I'm sure with some perseverance I could have got it back to a slightly more manageable consistency but I didn't want to mess with the recipe. I'm sure it's going to taste fantastic, even if it doesn't look at neat and tidy as yours.

I also had trouble tracking down plain caramels (where do old ladies find them?!) and can confirm that 'eclairs' (caramels with a little chocolate inside) work fine, maybe just add a little extra cream and be super attentive to the microwave due to the extra chocolate.

Anyway, thank you for the recipe. I love it when you Google what you're craving and up it pops!

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Paulette Byrne
01/16/2013 4:58pm

Could you used a good quality jarred Carmel sauce instead of melting caramels?

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She Makes and Bakes
01/16/2013 5:11pm

I've never tried it, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Let me know how it comes out!

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Shaily
01/26/2013 6:02pm

At Trader Jo's, I could only find semi-sweet chocolate and caramel candies with sea salt! Hope the two balance each other out, and I'll tweak my salt addition accordingly.

I'm a novice to this whole cooking thing!

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Linda
02/08/2013 12:26pm

I made these with Williams-Sonoma Salted Caramel Sauce instead of the caramel candies, added some chopped walnuts and drizzled them with a little chocolate, and well.... I could eat the whole pan.

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