This is the kind of brownie I like - simply, fudgy, no nuts and with caramel. Plus it adds the caramel "correctly". If you want caramel brownies that have a ribbon of caramel running through the brownie, the bottom layer (half of the brownie batter) must be partially baked first then the caramel layer added over it. Otherwise, if you simply spread the bottom brownie layer, then the caramel layer and top with the remaining brownie batter, chances are the caramel layer will incorporate itself into the brownie batter and make it more moist/sweet but not retain much of its original caramel state. Oh, and the reason I can say that with reasonable authority is I've made recipes that call for doing that and I've experimented on my own and....failed. Much better to par-bake the bottom brownie layer then spread the caramel over it.
I made this ahead of time for Cookie Palooza since it was easy to portion out and freeze a few days ahead of time and could fill out a good percentage of the 19 goodie bags I needed. Mine did not come out as scrumptious looking as the one on Six Sisters' blog. I might've underbaked it a trifle plus I got a bit of a top crust so it didn't cut as cleanly. But this is a good basic fudgy brownie and you can't go wrong with caramel. Truly. The directions say to leave the oven on while you cool the parbaked bottom layer for 20 minutes before adding the caramel. I don't like wasting the energy of an empty, hot oven so I did bake a batch of cookies during that time since I still had dozens to bake off anyway so that worked out pretty well.
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1½ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
For the caramel filling:
14 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
- Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the top half of a double boiler over hot but not simmering water, combine the chopped chocolate and butter. Stir until melted and combined. Let cool slightly.
- Whisk in the sugar, eggs and vanilla until incorporated. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Spread about half of the brownie batter in the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 18 minutes.
- Remove from the oven (keep the oven on - I suggest baking something else in the meantime) and let the brownies cool for 20 minutes.
- To make the caramel filling, combine the caramels and cream (or milk) in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir. Repeat the process, keeping a close eye on the mixture as it can burn very easily (make sure you use low heat in the microwave). Continue the microwave process until the caramels and cream are melted and combined.
- Immediately spread the caramel mixture over the bottom brownie layer. Scoop the remaining brownie batter in spoonfuls over the caramel layer and spread it evenly across the caramel layer (spooning the batter in piles over the caramel will help to get an even layer of batter over the caramel). Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before slicing and serving.