A couple months ago, someone requested that I try my hand at caramel brownies. Amazingly, this person was not my husband, but he endorsed this idea so wholeheartedly that I suspect he might have paid this person off. Then again, in most people’s minds, who doesn’t want to make caramel brownies? What kind of strange person considers what would happen when sea salt-flecked deeply copper-colored homemade caramel meets a chewy, rich homemade brownie and then shrugs it off, “Eh, I’ll pass.” Guys, it’s me. It’s not that I didn’t think that a salted caramel brownie could be delicious, it’s just that I imagine it’s well-trodden territory, which to me translates as “people who want to make this already know how to” and then I figure my time would be better spent making other things, like weird egg salads and silky hummus.
But then, as I did a quick search or two, I discovered things that caused me to make that crooked face that I made when I’m thinking really hard, because sometimes after a day of explaining to a preschooler why we have to wear pants when we leave the apartment when I fully understand the desire to simply not wear pants sometimes, thinking is really hard. The first is that a whole lot recipes started with store-bought caramels or caramel sauce, which made me sad, because the homemade stuff requires three ingredients that you probably have, is really easy to make and the flavor comparison (especially if you add a fourth ingredient, salt) … well, there is none. They barely deserve to share the same name. The next thing that gave me pause was that they all looked achingly sweet, as if little consideration was given to the fact that dousing an already-sweet brownie with caramel sauce might cause teeth to hurt/dentists to buy new vacation homes.
By now, I already accepted that any further resistance would be futile. I mean, if you were to distill any given Smitten Kitchen blog entry into the simplest formula, most of the time it would roughly = 2 causes of furrowed brow/piqued curiosity + 1 polite request + 1 borderline-begging request + a notable absence of willpower. But as I got into the kitchen, I found a third source of drama, which was in how the caramel-brownie merger should be approached. Spreading half the batter in the pan, covering it with caramel, and then adding the second half of the brownie batter was kind of difficult, and the caramel filling all but disappeared into the brownie. A marbled attempt not only led to vanished caramel, but it left trenches in the brownie tops where the caramel had once been, like some sort of sad memorial. And the thing I realized was, if I’m going to eat something called a caramel brownie, what I’m really hoping for are parts instantly recognizable as either; I want the caramel to tangle around the brownie and vice-versa, not just dissolve into a caramel-flavored brownie.
The only idea I had left was the craziest one, wherein you kind of fake-make caramel candies that are cold and big enough that they take longer to disappear into the the batter than the batter takes to bake. The results, however, are madness, and I urge you not to make them. Why? Why take you this far only to send you home? Because no good can come of them. They’re ludicrously rich but not icky sweet, so it’s easy to forget that you should never, ever eat more than one. They’re so loud with dark chocolate and salted caramel flavors, they might even be better than either part. Worse, they’re structurally unsound. Those squares of caramel melt into puddles that trickle out when you slice them, leaving a weak, almost gooey, chocolate foundation behind. I mean, trickling salted caramel? Gooey chocolate? Yuck. It’s okay guys; I’m happy to audition these terrible things so that you do not have to. What a relief, right?
One year ago: Lasagna Bolognese
Two years ago: Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Three years ago: Ginger Fried Rice
Four years ago: Whole Lemon Tart and Alex’s Mom’s Stuffed Cabbage
Five years ago: Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares
Six years ago: Sour Cream Bran Muffins
Salted Caramel Brownies
I used my standard approach to salted caramel, but I dialed back the heavy cream so that it would be less soft, and therefore better able to hold up in the batter. The brownie is my one-bowl favorite, with less salt and sugar to compensate for the sweetness and extra salt in the caramel. The result is a soft, messy brownie that it much, much, much easier to cut neatly if placed in the freezer until semi-firm.
Makes 1 8×8 pan of brownies which you can cut into 16 2-inch squares, 25 smaller squares, 32 2×1-inch bites or a mess of hearts from a cookie cutter.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or 1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste)
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
Heaped 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/8 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour
Make caramel: Set a square of parchment paper over a medium-sized plate. Lightly butter or coat the parchment with a spray oil, just as an added security measure.
In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your sugar; this will take about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. By the time it is all melted, if should be a nice copper color; if not, cook until it is. Remove from heat and stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melted again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.
Pour out onto parchment-covered plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes in a decent freezer to 40 minutes in my terrible one.
Meanwhile, or when your caramel is almost firm, make your brownies: Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.
Assemble brownies: When caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool thoroughly — a process that can be hastened in the freezer, which will also produce cleaner cuts — and cut into squares or other desired shapes.
735 comments on salted caramel brownies
It would be so easy to add some toasted pecans to these, turning them into turtle brownies. I sense a moral imperative for the weekend.
This looks amazing! I think that it’d make the perfect, romantic gift for Valentine’s Day! :)
Willpower is something I never had… and if I had any, these salted caramel brownies would be my downfall.
OMG Deb, these look fantastic! I love a good caramelly brownies. I can’t wait to make these!
Oh my gawd. My hubbie’s bday is tomorrow and it’s going to be snowing and these could be the perfect treat for the day :)
This is my straight passport to heaven. Thank you : )
Stop it. This looks too good.
You’ve outdone yourself Deb! These look fabulous, I love the hearts!
As messy as those look, I just know I would feel compelled to “neaten them up” until there was nothing left in the pan.
I love your blog! Your recipes always seem appealing to me and I want to try every one. If you’re casting about for more ideas, though, I would love to see some recipes with that delicious big flake coconut that I just discovered at my organic market… I am a coco-nutter, and would love to try the SK recipe for that good stuff!
WOW! looks amazing. I think I would just pour the caramel on top of the cooked brownies as a frosting, that way if I wanted to just eat the top with a few brownie crumbs I could. How many hours until I can get home and make these?! YUM!
My jaw literally dropped when I saw the pictures in this post. *closing my mouth and wiping off the drool*
Heavens to Betsy. I think I may have just died and gone to heaven. Caramel + Salt + Brownie – oh my word, I think I will eat myself into a food coma.
Yum yum yum. I’ve never even thought to make caramel brownies – good thing someone else was smart enough to request them of you!
If one were to add bacon,like say for a friendly neighborhood Bac-Off; should one scale back on the salt in the caramel?
Oh, Deb. I am seven months pregnant and coincidentally a huge fan of both chewy brownies and salted caramel. I will be making these this weekend, and oh darn, eating for two. I may also let a scoop of really good, simple vanilla ice cream melt over the tops just a bit…
I’ve been wanting to make a caramel brownie, but I really didn’t want to use store bought caramels. I thought caramel frosting, but I am a firm believer that even the chewiest of brownies becomes cake with the addition of frosting.
Thank you for brightening my morning with this glorious post. Since the caramel only requires 3 tablespoons of heavy cream, do you think I might be able to get away with using half & half (instead of purchasing a container of heavy cream the entirety of which would sadly go unused)?
Oh holy dear sweet Jesus!
I don’t bake but am going to have to find someone to make these for me!! ASAP! :)
It’s my birthday on Sunday, and I’m having company over for lunch. Happy Birthday to me!!! Thanks you!
I’m gonna attempt to make those but here’s what will happen: I’ll make the caramel, try to eat it (all) will cooking, burn my tongue, wait for the rest to cool off, eat the rest and then make chocolate brownies (without caramels).
Any suggestion on how to solve this impasse?
After meeting you in November, I’m finally getting up the courage to comment! Any more bouts of this kind of courage, and I might have to go have a bit of a lie down.
Your objections to most caramel brownies are the same as mine: too sickly sweet and the delicious flavors combine to make a meh flavor. This is what makes your recipe so dangerous. If you have the same general indifference to caramel brownies that I do, and you still love (or love-hate for how good it is) this recipe, then I probably will too! Oh the horror.
This looks great! Can I substitute margarine for butter in this recipe?
Oh dear… As a yet-still-covertly pregnant woman, you’re killin’ me Deb!
You just took them to the next level. The last time I got tempted to bake from your blog was when you posted the cheesecake brownies, and now this.
Only tangentially related to this post/these brownies, but I just have to say how happy I am to see all these posts lately! I know you’re heading back out on the road, so to speak, but I’m so happy to get a dip, salad, soup, pasta, and (two!) desserts to play with before you go. And, of course, the recipes I’ve bookmarked in your actual book :-)
Just curious, does the caramel harden once the brownies are cold? Do the brownies have a chance to get cold or are they eaten in one sitting? Thanks.
You have wowed me, yet again.
I make my own version of caramel brownies, with the requisite homemade caramel. They have been dubbed “Confession Brownies” by a individual who will remain nameless to protect all the innocent. Being a good Catholic that he is, after the first bite he said “Oh God, I think I need to go to confession now.” They are the cause of much rejoicing in certain circles when I make them. P.S. Try adding a teaspoon (or two) of soy sauce to your caramel in place of the salt. Just trust me :)
WHY NOT ADD PRETZELS!!
These look devilish! Caramel is my weakness! Yum!
I’m trying to decide if this means I have to hate you or if I must love you to pieces. My tongue is trying to dance in my mouth in anticipation!
Holy heck. I just melted a tupperware bowl in my oven (don’t ask) – rendering it unusable. But if there were ever a recipe to motivate me to get out the paint scraper and elbow grease, this is it. Good heavens.
It seems like every time I crave brownies a new recipe for them pops up in my RSS feed. Your brownie recipes have never failed me. I think I will try these soon – deilcious!
@Margherita- just make a double-batch or caramel! Use two pots, then you can eat one while continuing the brownie recipe. :-)
I second #27’s question. Once these cool, does the caramel become hardened? I guess I really want to know if these will travel/be good the next day…if they don’t get eaten before then.
Katie — No, it’s more of a firmish caramel sauce, not a hard caramel candy.
Meredith — It’s not 1-inch, it’s 2-inch and I’ve had it forever. No idea where I got it!
Jasmine — In the brownie, you can. I’m not sure about making caramel with margarine. I haven’t tried it. Maybe someone else will pipe up if they have.
Remember “Baked Brownies – Spiced Up?” Add caramel to that, as I have done for years, and what you get has been affectionately called “Devil Brownies.” So good!
Three posts in 8 days?! You’re spoiling us! And I couldn’t be happier.
Yum! These remind me of my favorite Martha Stewart brownies (http://www.marthastewart.com/349953/turtle-brownies) but I really, really like the idea of the caramel oozing out in pockets rather than smoothly smeared on top.
I love that you made caramel and then worked it into the brownies in big, chunky, gorgeous pieces! Most people who make caramel brownies drizzle on some jarred ice cream topping but clearly that wouldn’t be your style and am glad you made this recipe rather than going with your “people who want to make this already know how to” logic. I love these!
And love that your brownies are super dense and fudgy and beyond rich looking!
I love making caramel, and my mind is racing to figure out how to incorporate this idea with David’s Chocolate Idiot Cake, referenced on your site awhile ago and successfully baked last night for my newly diagnosed gluten-challenged husband. Any ideas?
I want to make these now! also i got your cookbook and you are amazing. I mean you always have been, but that book is gorgeous and I can’t believe I waited as long as I did to get it. (All my gift hints weren’t working, evidently.) Since you’re not coming to KC, I will see you in St. Louis in March! :)
Do you think it’s possible to substitute half n half for the cream in the caramel? It’s all I have right now. Thanks.
Thanks for perfecting the caramel brownie Deb! I recently tried a gluten free version at a friend’s place and had the same thought: this could be so much better if it wasn’t so sweet. And with the small amount of flour in the brownie portion of your recipe, this will be easily converted into the best gluten free caramel brownie!
Any recommendations for amounts to use if I only have Kosher salt?
Wowza! Now stop it! “happy to audition these terrible things so that you do not have to. What a relief, right?” – will you exercise for me too, pretty please!!
I did this a few months ago! My solution was caramel sauce, which you should certainly not make extra of and keep in the fridge in case of emergency.
You had me at salted caramel.
Thank goodness you posted these! I was wondering how I could use up the chocolate from the last time I made the brownies and some heavy cream I have! ;)
Brownies are my nemesis. I can never get them right! But I definitely can’t let this one pass me by – it’s gorgeous! fingers crossed it works! :)
Hey Deb? I love you.
Heavy cream really makes caramel. The fat is needed. However, heavy cream can’t go to waste. Use it in eggs, make whipped cream, add it to anything you add milk. A little more decadent, but it won’t be wasted. Plus the stuff lasts forever.
Making the caramel sauce into faux caramels was genius! Dying to make these and keep them all to myself:-)
oh em gee. that’s all. i will make these one day and i will curse you, i just know it. xo!
I love it when you come to the conclusion that you can do it better because it serves all of us so well!
Amazing. I’ve been looking for a salted caramel choc-chip cookie recipe all week and was frustrated at every recipe that called for Kraft caramels (or store-bought). Insanity that no one else bothered to make the caramel!
What perfect timing this was – thank you!
Yum…. Can’t wait to try these for Valentine’s Day!
You have got to be kidding me. But I’m so glad you’re not.
Wow! That looks amazing.
The French have a word, “mignon,” which translates roughly to adorable. And while I’m not a big chocolate fan, I am a slave to all things caramel, and when you make it heart shaped, well, très mignon!
Oh, my gracious. I was just craving come brownies but I’m afraid to make these because I would eat the whole pan. I love making caramel – its like kitchen magic (much like making buttercream) and I think it is coo-coo-crazy that people would every resort to using store-bought.
I think I need to go make these right now. They look amazing. Thank you for sharing.
Um, yes please!
This is the worst thing to post before being snowed in for a weekend Goodbye willpower. Hello stretch pants.
How do we think these will hold up in a care package? Is the caramel too gooey to ship them, or will freezing the brownies before shipping them make them sturdy enough?
Here I am sitting down to get inspired to make a brunch for my son’s 2nd birthday – and instead you throw me this. What am I supposed to do? Perhaps I need to make the brownies to give me the ‘strength’ to cook for the brunch. I can almost taste them…thanks, as always
oh WOW! these definitely look dangerous! :)
deb – these are too cute. I’ve just finished baking Chinese new year cookies (i chose to make your popcorn cookies in addition to pineapple tarts!) and am starting to obsess over heart shaped things for valentine’s day.
i just wanted to say also that i have never tried so many recipes from one cookbook in such a short space of time. thank you for accessible , delicious recipes .
Let me second the delight in the flurry of posts. The book is wonderful, but I still look forward to updates here just as much.
These look absolutely incredible! I love your heart-shaped cookie cutters too. :) I think my husband would think he’d died and gone to heaven if I made these for him… might be just the right Valentine’s Day treat! :)
You wonderful wonderful woman! I can’t even think of the words to say how awesome this looks.
Oh my. These need to made immediately! I had a ton of traveling to do recently, but now that I am home, I can’t wait to do some cooking!
Um yes, I’m making these TONIGHT. Salt, caramel, chocolate…this is the perfect V-day treat.
Deb, I have been searching for the right recipe for this, also having had my own struggles. Thank you so much! And Jasmine, on the margarine – don’t do it! Your caramel will seize up, I think because there is more water in margarine. I tried it and ruined a whole batch. Butter is the only way here.
Thank you for giving a salted caramel addict a fix.
Deb, Will we get good results using your Best Cocoa Brownies (http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/01/best-cocoa-brownies/) recipe here? I love those brownies. They’re not overly sweet, so I thought they might be a good partner with the caramel. More importantly, I have cocoa powder and no chocolate in my pantry. Just want to make sure that there weren’t any issues before I start these. I don’t want to waste ingredients.
Congratulations on your cookbook making it into the Piglet contest over at Food52. Lovely accomplishment and acknowledgment of the quality of your book. That’s a great crowd you’re in with. Best of luck.
I just love your recipes! I was wondering if I could substitute the heavy cream with whipped cream because I can’t buy it.
Petra — Heavy cream and whipping cream can be used interchangeably most places, including here.
Eliza — Probably? I don’t see why not, but of course haven’t tried it.
Di — I don’t have a lot of experience mailing things, but I’d say these are definitely on the messier side. You can freeze them, but won’t that just buy you a few hours? They’re not going to go bad, though, or not quickly. They’ll just be messy.
Nic — Yes, absolutely.
Emily — I’d go with leveled quarter-teaspoons.
Half and half — I have, sadly, never tried to make caramel with it. Maybe someone who has will pipe up and let folks know if it’s worked for them? Thanks!
You’re the devil. lol :)
This post makes me so happy. I too have been disappointed by most caramel brownie recipes. Your approach is genius. I can’t wait to make these!
I cannot tell you without embarrassing myself how many times I have made this, your latest brownie recipe. You could probably tell by looking at me, though. This is just sinful, Deb, and my husband has been grousing at me to “make something.” Well…okay then, I’ll make these, already.
My left eye is slowly twitching…it does that when it feels an amazing sensory experience coming on…it is twitching without the benefit of its other sensory back-ups so I KNOW this is going to be an amazing degustatory event! Another triumph and another moment where I get a tiny taste of what heaven is like :)
I already have a pan of brownies sitting at home…but I’m going to make this tonight anyway.
:((( there goes my new year resolutions!
I think I just passed out! **sigh** OK I’m back. These brownies look FAN-DAMN-TASTICK! CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hey maybe in this new snow storm that’s coming tomorrow night.
I would be happy to test a care package if someone wants to mail me some of these!
*HOW* where you not down for this immediately, they look incredible!
These look amazing and I’m going to bake them on Monday! Do you recommend reheating them before serving them, so that the caramel becomes liquidy again? Or are they ok at room temperature?
Just when I thought I’d saved too many brownie recipes and COULDN’T POSSIBLY need another… you present us with this gem.
Hello! This looks *awesome*. Thank you!
I stopped by originally to comment that I had that “I wonder…” moment in a posh grocery store where I was buying dark chocolate discs to make your chocolate chip cookies. I picked up a bunch of their ‘peanut butter chips’ and though – what would this be like with the one-bowl brownie recipe?
At home, I ate some of the chips and they were a little sweetish and not peanutty enough. So I modified your brownie recipe as follows, but I figured I’d give you my idea and let you have fun with it.
4 oz peanut butter chips
2 TB butter (probably should have used 1)
1/4 c peanut butter (Jif, if you’re curious)
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 c flour
I sprinkled kosher salt on top because for me the ideal peanut buttery thing is peanut brittle… sweet and salty. The kosher sprinkles kinda disappeared but left their memory in the baked ‘brownie’ top. My husband pronounced them wonderful, but they’re still not quite right to my mind. What would you change, I wonder? :)
Thank you for being you, and being wonderful. Peace.
Swapping out heavy cream with half and half? Any idea if that would ruin things? Just trying to avoid going to the store. :)
Arguing with your preschooler about wearing pants literally made me laugh out loud in my cube. We regularly have to have this conversation with our 3 year old son –ug, boys! Mine LOVES anything chocolate, so these will have to go on the “must bake” list, you know after I work myself through your cookbook.
I was really hoping your next post would include chocolate. I love making heart brownies but I’ve never liked the caramel sauce or whatever baked into a great chocolate brownie. I like your approach to the caramel and now I have to try it. Thank you so very much.
And the best part about using a heart shaped cookie cutter? Lots of little brownie scraps to nibble on!
and this is why i love smitten kitchen… i made some gorgeous-looking ‘salted caramel’ brownies via pinterest – which sadly turned out to be ‘kinda-caramel-flavored-cheesecake-swirled-brownies’ (why did i not realize that the large amount of cream cheese in the recipe would lead to that??)
i love the thought you put into this… will be making asap :)
These look so fabulous! Caramel brownies all the waaaay!
Caramel brownies are one of my specialties. I started making them several years ago after have one at Fat Witch in Chelsea Market. I do make my own caramel and do half the brownie batter, then the caramel layer, then the rest of the batter. The trick is to make sure your caramel is thick enough to not dissolve into the brownie. I like your method too. The puddles of caramel look fantastic!
Deb and Jasmine – YES I made caramel sauce from your Apple Tart recipe with Earth Balance Vegan Butter and it worked great! I assume it would work for this firmer caramel recipe as well. I also used Silk Soy heavy creamer. Vegan caramel that’s still delicious – who knew!
What are you doing to me? I’m trying to lose weight, and you post such deliciousness! Will be making these next week, then trying to resist eating the lot in one sitting.
OMG, I’m in love with this recipe. I know it would a great big hit for my girls night. :-)
I’m pregnant and you’re terribly mean. Also, I love you.
I so badly want to like salted caramel but it my taste buds just don’t like it! However, my sister and friends love it so I will have to try this one out for them! The recipe sounds delicious.
i will be stopping by the store so that i can make this as soon as possible.
for those who are scared of making caramel, i’ve previously used thick (and cold) dulce de leche in Deb’s one bowl brownies, drizzling/swirling it haphazardly on top right before going in the oven, and had good results.
My method for the merge of caramel and brownie was to cook the brownie for a little while before pouring the caramel over top. Worked pretty well but like you I had some issues with structural stability, especially towards the middle of the pan! Tasted great though!
Heart attack heaven, lets all die young and in pain
Whooooooa lady! I love this!
oh my heavens. salted caramel is my favorite flavor of the moment and combined with chocolate.. ahh heaven for sure.
I was wondering what to do with that 100% cacao bar in my cabinet! Lucky enough to have time to make these as soon as I saw the recipe. They are in the oven now. Very straightforward recipe, although my caramel did not take as long as yours to finish. That also happened to me with your caramel popcorn. Maybe because I have an electric range?
Excited to see how they stack up vs the Knock You Naked Brownies which are great but toothache-sweet.
omg those look sinful. making them for my hubby for vday for sure.
My god they look delicious!xo
Those look unbelievably delicious, structural issues and all.
I was just trying to decide what to bake tonight. Cookies didn’t seem quite right. Brownies sounded appealing but not quite challenging/delightful enough. BUT THIS. THIS is exactly my craving. So, Thank you.
Just tried them, they are both brilliant and delicious!
Oh my god this sounds incredible! My brother is home this weekend, and I haven’t seen him in ages- I think these are the perfect “welcome home” bake for him! Not that I expect them to stick around, but can anyone advise how long these would be good for before going stale etc?
Alice — They’re not going to go stale because they’re too moist. They might, however, go bad faster at room temperature due to all the moisture. I might keep them in the fridge. (In actuality, I keep them in the freezer because my husband and I adore frozen brownies!)
I will not not make these.
They look fabulous. I really crave these right now, which is really bad, due to the fact that I don´t have an oven before 25 February :( I´ll have to track one down an oven in the weekend.
I made the caramel sauce for your apple mosaic tart with 2 tablespoons of non-fat milk instead of the recommended heavy cream. It came out great for me. I wasn’t trying to make any “healthy” changes or anything. I just had non-fat milk and didn’t want to buy heavy cream. The caramel recipe here is nearly the same, so I am thinking that one could sub nearly any milk product for the heavy cream and have it turn out. Maybe I am wrong here, as I have never tried it, but I just wanted to share my experience.
Love your blog and the cookbook!
Ina Garten has a recipe like this in her newest cookbook! Yum-yum-yum-yum-yum-yum-yum-yum-yum-yum.
So eager to try your caramel recipe because I have had so many problems in the past!
My husband doesn’t even know how much he wants these. Yet.
I’m trying not to imagine all those batches of salted caramel brownies you had to work through until you arrived at this perfection! These look like pure indulgence.
By the way, how sticky is the caramel? Can you eat it if you have braces? Or can you perhaps replace it with something else equally delicious??? I have never tried to bake with or make caramel, but now I have to try. Beautiful pictures.
it’s clear that these are meant to adorn bowls of vanilla ice cream!
Oh my goodness. These look incredible. If we’re snowed in tomorrow, I will absolutely have to try this recipe!
Oh my sweet lord, Deb, I swear you’ve been reading my mind/dreams. This is EXACTLY the dessert I’ve been dreaming of the last few weeks! I have never made my own caramel, so I didn’t think of this, but I did add some peanut butter to your cocoa brownie recipe which staved off the craving for a minute, but now that these have come into my life I don’t think I can ever go back. THANK YOU!
Ohhhhhhhhhh mmmmmmmmmmm gawwwwwwwd… these look sooooooo gooooood!!!
For anyone wondering about half and half for the caramel, that’s how I made mine (just didn’t have HWC and really wanted to try the brownies) and it came out great. Brownies are in the oven now. :)
My favorite part of all this was the pants comment.Although those brownies look pretty wonderful too…
I don’t know if I’m ready for pools of salted caramel oozing from a brownie, thank you for paving the way and showing how it’s done. I’m almost ready now!
Do you have a suggestion on what kind of flaky sea salt to use? I know you say that regular salt works as well, but I’d like to try the flaky sea salt – if only I can figure out what kind to get & where to get it!
Anhar — I really like Maldon. Not sure where you are, thus, where you can buy it but in NYC, it’s available a lot of places, from Whole Foods to other grocery stores. It can also be ordered online.
ATG — I don’t always take photos. (When I do, I usually share them.) Sometimes I’m just trying out “theories” in the kitchen to see what will happen and I come back to them with the camera out when I’m more confident I’ll get it right.
Chocolate brands — I love Valrhona (who doesn’t?) but tend to most frequently use a mix of Scharffen-Berger (for unsweetened) and Guittard. Guittard is harder to find, but worth seeking out. I’m totally into their baking discs (“wafers,” they call them, but like 3/4-inch flat chocolate chips, so they melt well but can be coarsely chopped when you want something closer to chocolate chips) and keep them around in all varieties. I think the 1# boxes list for $12, but I get them for $10 from Fresh Direct in NYC, which I think is a pretty great value for excellent baking chocolate.
I just made these and the caramel concept produces a better caramel brownie than many others I’ve tried and these are sooooo easy to make and even easier to eat. Thanks Deb!
My, Gawd! This makes no sense. *sigh* I’m just in heaven. Carry on!
I really wish this post had existed earlier this week. I saw what looked like amazing Dulce de Leche Brownies on Pinterest and knew I needed them in my life, but ended up with the same issues you had, the dulce de leche just soaked into the brownies so you had no idea that it was there. These look like the perfect solution! I’m looking forward to re-testing the brownies using your recipe and hopefully they look as amazing as yours came out :).
These are ridiculous. Brilliant.
Do they go well with Bavenie Double Wood?
Make that BaLvenie
Your brownie recipe is a thing of dreams. I think I’ve made it 17 times. I’m trying this next. Thanks!
These look amazing! I am wondering if you have ever made whiskey brownies? I saw a recipe recently but the base was almost meringue and that sounded too insubstantial for me (whiskey doesn’t go with light in my book). Just thought I’d ask and perhaps you’d add it to your list of future posts :)
If I loved my husband, if I truly truly loved him, I would make a pan of these this weekend.
…and that’s how you justify making a sinful lot of brownies and eating half of it in one weekend.
Wow. Just, wow. Are you reading my mind, Deb? I just had an idea earlier today: rich chocolate cookies with puffed crispy rice and toasted coconut… how to incorporate caramel? Any suggestions for the perfect cookie??? Also: do you know of a dairy-free caramel that doesn’t immediately seize up? I’ve had no luck before. Thanks!
What brand of chocolate is your favorite for baking?
I’d also love to see pics of the failed batches of things. Have you ever considered linking to those? I know this sounds like an odd suggestion, but it can sometimes be so illuminating to compare the perfected product with the failed tries.
This looks ammmazing!!! :)
These are AMAZING! I made them tonight and am in absolute awe and wonder. The only tricky thing: cutting the caramel was slightly more difficulty than expected…how did you get yours looking so even?
These look so good!! :) :)
I am going through a major salted caramel + chocolate phase right now, so these are right up my alley! Thanks for sharing! :)
Might I just say, AMEN: these look fabulous. And cutting them with a cookie cutter? Genius, because then someone must (*sigh*) immediately eat the left-over scraps. Such hardship.
I do something similar with David Lebovitz’s dry caramel! 1/2 cup sugar melted til caramel-y colored, then toss in 1 tsp or so sea salt, swirl to mix, and then pour onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a baking liner. Tip the pan around so it spreads thinly, and then when it hardens, just break it up into tiny pieces. I make Baker’s one-bowl brownies, less the sugar from the caramel, and mix in the caramel right before they go in the oven. DE-LISH! I may have to try this next time…
How you were able to resist eating those little chopped up caramels is beyond me! If I made this, about 50% would make it to the brownie batter…
I found out that I can’t make the book signing in Raleigh! However, the trip I’ll be on is to visit an amazing friend who is addicted to caramel. So the upside is that I’ll bring these to her as well!
I’m sorry I won’t get to see you at Quail Ridge. Welcome to NC anyhow!
if ever a post needed to be flagged, it’s this one!
I often make caramel with half and half because I always have it on hand for coffee. It works for me, and a couple of others here also vouched! I have also tried skim milk which works but the caramel isn’t nearly as rich. To accommodate a dairy allergy I have also made a caramel sauce with almond milk. It needed continuous stirring and was very thin (the color was also a bit different, much lighter, even after my first attempt when I cooked it WAY too long)
Oh my goodness! I think my weekend just got a little bit busier.
One of the things I have come to love and trust about your baking recipes is that they will be rich and satisfying without being cloyingly sweet. I love that. Definitely going to try these.
This might work well in mini-muffin cups for pretty, giftable morsels. :)
Oh my. I HAVE to make those this weekend!
You wicked, wicked creature.
#1 i HATE store bought caramels! they made me think i didn’t like caramel for the longest time. #2 how have i never thought of using a cookie cutter to shape brownies? this is why you’re a genius!
Saw them. Made them. Loved them. If used the words I wanted to describe them, this would never have been posted. I don’t think I can ever make them again for fear of how many I may actually eat. So amazing. Thank you :-)
OMG… those are the most awesome things ever!!! I will definitely try them for valentine’s day!!!
Holy Cow! This makes me drool a little but I can’t help but curse you as I have “pre-diabetes” (ick) and can’t touch the stuff. How much begging would it take for you to make something so naughty but also sugar free for a tricky customer like me?
brownies are so very, very versatile! i just posted nutella brownies on my blog :)
I baked these immediately after reading… Never made homemade caramel before and am surprised at how easy it is to make! The caramel didn’t harden like yours did but still insanely good in the brownies! I love how rich and chocolatey these are… We had a small square each with red wine… It was just perfect! Folks, don’t wait for valentine’s day to make this!
Grams! Milliliters! Metric measurements! I’m irrationally happy right now :D
Big thanks from Germany :)
Hi Deb! Have you ever tried using nonstick (coated) foil instead of bothering with greasing parchment paper? Much easier, nothing sticks to the stuff, plus it molds nicely to the container, unlike paper. Try it, I think you’ll be sold.
oh my word. My two favorite things combined. Definitely have to try these this weekend. Thank you! (Although will probably curse having found this recipe when my jeans are tight…hehehe)
Reading this recipe made me realize the thing I miss most in your (otherwise yummylicious) book: your great step-by-step photos! Not that they are exactly necessary (your instructions are always clear), but they help me soooooo much whenever I feel insecure at any given step (“Oh my God, am I doing this right?”).
Anyway, this recipe? Must-make-this-weekend. :)
And you do it again, Deb! Every time.
I recently made some dark chocolate salted caramels for my partner, and to make the caramel I used sugar & water, which i set over a heat and didn’t stir until it was a nice dark amber, and then added double cream while stirring maniacally and praying to leave this sugar experiment without burn marks. This is a caramel recipe I’ve used in the past and I know it sets into soft candies, so I simply amped up the amount of double cream to get it a bit runnier.
Butter didn’t feature in my caramel recipe… am I doing it wrong? Am I doing it ‘not-wrong-per-se, but… did-you-hear-butter-makes-things-better’? Or are there simply a variety of ways to make caramel?
Wow these look immense! Can’t wait to try them, one day…
I, too, will be making these. Soon. But I was wondering whether you had any temperature guide for making the caramel? I find that when I try to make caramel visually, I take it too far and end up with over – um – caramelization.
Oh my god! Are you joking?! My wedding dress has just wept, there is no way its going to fit me after I’ve eaten my fill of these!
Deb, I wanted to answer the question someone asked about using margarine instead of butter. I have made your Apple Cider Caramels using margarine AND full fat coconut milk, instead of the heavy cream, to make them dairy free. They were FABULOUS. In a side by side comparison with ones made with butter and heavy cream, we couldn’t tell the difference. My son has multiple food allergies so ingredient substitution is something I do a lot of. Hope this helps.
For those who don’t like buying cream that you won’t use all of: David Lebovitz recommended freezing it a few months ago: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/10/can-i-freeze-cream-heavy-whipping/ . That way you have it on hand, too!
I can’t eat chocolate so no brownies for me but caramel blondies are the best recipe I’ve ever created. They also took by far the most time to perfect.
These look amazing! Though I would probably cheat and use premade caramels. ;S
Samantha, making the caramel was by far easier than unwrapping a bunch of store bought caramels. Not to mention better tasting, less expensive, and better quality.
Well- perhaps now you can just tell your son that if he agrees to wear pants outside the apartment- he can have one of these AMAZING brownie creations.
I think I just found my snow-day project. Thanks Deb!
I almost feel like you’ve done me (and my waistline) a huge injustice here. These look absolutely incredible. There can obviously be nothing better to eat than these.
Okay….amazing….I substituted banana for butter in my brownie recipe last week and my family complained. I thought they wereamazing, chocolate banana brownies, but they needed something. I think it is caramel.
Blizzard project? PERFECT. I even have all of the ingredients…
For my 1 year old’s bday cake, I made your salted caramel, drizzled on top of a 3 layer chocolate cake with salted caramel buttercream – it was to DIE for.
YUM! A combination of two of my favorite things :)
Making these brownies will sure beat cleaning out my closet during the impending New England snow storm. This is recipe is reason enough to encounter the crowds in the supermarket just to buy the heavy cream.
If you wanted to double this recipe, would you use a 9×13 pan?
This is so brilliant! I love that you made your own caramels for these brownies!
Brilliant! My 2 favorites combined. And all the little bits to nibble on after cutting out those hearts don’t count as one right?…. mmmmm. #1 on my MIT list today!
I made salted caramel peanut brownies last night, NOT from your recipe obvs, and oh they were FAR too sweet. You may have persuaded me to try again. Thank you!
These look insanely delicious! I must try these. My husband hates desserts, but can polish off half a tray of brownies in one sitting.
I’ll confess that every time I make homemade brownies, they just never compare to a box of ghirardelli brownie mix. I’ve probably just never used a good recipe, or maybe my brownie skills just suck. Anyway, I’m definitely giving these a whirl. Thank you.
In love with these in-love brownies.
What makes these extra good is that they are not TOO sweet. So when I added chopped pecans and used them to make turtle brownie sundaes, they harmonized well with the ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream (the same whipped cream as in your icebox cake). Another great recipe, Deb!
Pure genius. I love it. I have to say I am not really sure what all this fuss is about salted caramel, but then I haven’t tried it, so there you go.
I love the heart shapes.
Echoing the disbelief and mild horror over so many recipes calling for store-bought caramels. On some level, it seems like it’d be more trouble to try to track down a jar or box of them than to just make them myself – and if I’m going to make brownies, I might as well not hold back.
I love reading your blog. You make me smile and laugh everytime I read it. Your recipes are to die for. Thanks so much and keep ’em coming
I am 4 months pregnant and craving those brownies…who am I kidding? I would eat those ANYTIME! Instead of cutting the caramel into squares and integrating into the batter, I am going to try layering the caramel “sheet” in between the chocolate. Really get that layered effect in each bite. Thinking maybe it won’t cut so well???
I hate you. How can I start my diet now?
I used regular salt and whole milk in a pinch and they turned out great. (I would never sub margarine for butter though… unless there is a food allergy) Margarine is worse for you than butter and doesn’t taste nearly as good
Love your blog and all your wonderful recipes!! Any chance you could start using Ziplist on your blog – it’s such an easy way to save and organize recipes?
Help! I live in a country (Iceland) where such a thing as unsweetened chocolate does not seem to exist. How can I make these? I need to make these!
Deb, thanks for this. My husband’s all-time favorite dessert is a salty caramel cupcake from Sprinkes, with brownie sundae in a close second. I tried making salted caramel brownies (his two fav things in one dessert) for his birthday last year but it was sort of a flop. The gooey caramel didn’t mesh well with the the brownie batter and I’m sure looked like one of first attempts that you had. This year for his bday I will be making YOUR salted caramel brownies, which so much more promise of success. Thanks!
OK, I am definitely going to make these for one of my best friends who is having surgery Monday. In know these will cheer her immensely!
BTW for all those light cream, half and half questions, here is your answer: you must use heavy cream, the lower fat options have too much water, and will not make caramel!
Oh. My. God. These look beyond amazing. You are my hero.
Oh wow. These look AMAZING. I was a little late to the game in realizing how good the interplay of salt + sugar in chocolate is, but I am now a believer. Although I already bought husband a V-day gift, I may have to add these in.
Is it possible to substitute chocolate chips for the chocolate here?
Oh my heavens woman… amazing. Not sure why I had never considered cookie cutters with brownies. Huh.
I got your cookbook for Christmas and am loving your work. You have a fun writing style that keeps me chuckling as I cook!
Absolutely lovely! As always!
So glad you posted this recipe! I have also searched for homemade salted caramel brownie recipes in the past, thinking it would be quite common. Only to become disheartened that every recipe I found involved unwrapping, and melting a bag of caramel candy! Thank you thank you!
Oh man, the only dairy I have is 1% milk!! And a carton of almond milk. Has anyone made caramel with almond milk?
Great idea for Valentine’s Day this year. I can make it ahead of time for convenience.
Making these for Valentine’s Day. No question about it! I’m droolinggggggg
Deb…once again I want to lick the computer screen!!!!!!! And by the way thanks so much for the wonderful cook book that my husband heard me mutter about and gave me for x-mas. I am having a blast working my way through it. You are an inspiration!
Made these last night! SO SO delicious! One tip, be careful when melting your sugar. my first time I made the caramel with burnt sugar and it was awful. I suggest melting it over low-medium heat and if it looks darker than a golden coppery color, it’s probably burnt!
I came over here today innocently to look for another recipe (something responsible like hummus), not realizing a new recipe had been posted and, surprised at not seeing beans and pasta, actually said aloud: Oh, I hate you. Congratulations, these look incredible. :)
What have you DONE to me…. I can’t take my eyes off for one second!
Given the blizzard bearing down on us now, your timing is exquisite.
I for one will NOT be peeling chickpeas but making caramel is another matter entirely.
@ Carole #203, try substituting the darkest chocolate you can find. 85% cacoa would probably work fine and add only a very little sweetness. Or use your favorite brownie recipe with the caramels.
I only came by on this blizzardy day for the pizza dough recipe, but here I am knee deep in gorgeous photos of caramel brownies! My teeth hurt just looking at them! Thanks for the inspiration; if our power stays on, these are on the “to bake” list for this weekend!
Oh, I get it! Cut them into heart shapes and that leaves edges of goodness for the “cutter” to eat. Brilliant!
Dying over here…….I was going to make your cheesecake brownie recipe for a party I’m having next week but after seeing these I might have to change the menu!!
You did not make these horribly tempting brownies in vain! Drawing the comparison between wearing pants and thinking made my day (and made me laugh out loud).
Hi Carole – I’m in Germany and have found 95% chocolate from Lindt. Or, you can use semi-sweet (75-85%) and adjust the sugar accordingly – Deb’s Heart of Darkness (or something like that) brownies are essentially that recipe.
Some have said you can make this caramel with a lower fat dairy than heavy cream. I haven’t made this one (but will soon!) but have ruined on two separate occasions a pot of caramel when the half and half curdled and caused a grainy mess. Remaking it the same day with cream resulted in luscious caramel and no curdling both times. I guess there isn’t enough fat to keep the proteins from coagulating when it’s added to a really hot sugar syrup. Heavy cream has never ruined anything. I mean, its basically liquid butter so how could it?
(BTW I’ve read your blog for years (YEARS!) but never commented. For once, I guess I felt I had something to add.)
these are so incredibly delicious and beautiful! i am relatively new to your site but i’m already a huge fan. everything i’ve made has been perfect! carrot soup with chickpeas and hummus, hummus, challah, and now these. i better start checking out your veggie recipes…
i’ve never made caramel before- anyone have any suggestions for how to clean the pot and spoon that has caramel hardened on it? they’ve been soaking for a while now.
@Carole, I often use this substitute for unsweetened chocolate: for each ounce required, mix 3 tablespoons cocoa with one tablespoon oil.
sheesh – i had my whole weekend planned out and now I have to add these in…
I love these! They are so so cute!
There are two options on what I can do with this recipe. Show it my wife, eat some of these amazing brownies and then feel regret over breaking my diet. Or I can not show it to her go eat a carrot and then regret not showing the recipe to her.
Well since there’s going to be regret either way I might was well have a brownie or two…
You know what would be really good with this? Making the caramel brownies in a pan layered on the bottom with sliced pears, more like a cake. I think I have a weekend project.
I have finally got my valentine’s day dessert! Thanks!
THEY’RE IN MY OVEN RIGHT NOW! (;
I agree with Charm. Making caramel without a temperature is flying blind in my book. There are so many things that affect the perception of color (lighting, pan color, etc) that I refuse to make any caramel recipe without a candy thermometer.
Maybe I’ll make a different caramel recipe and then add it to the brownies the way you did.
How are you so awesome?!
is it Valentine’s day yet?! I need to make these now!
This recipe can be more easily made by using Ghirardelli Brownie Mix, spreading half of the mixture in the pan, top with good caramel candies sliced on top, then top off
with remaining brownie mix. Bake according to package directions. While brownies
are cooling, spread Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce on top and a sprinkle of
fleur de sel salt. Delicious and decadent. Try it!
love love love the angle on this photo:
your kitchen is full of lighting surprises, isn’t it?
i will probably be slurping this hot caramel straight from the pan in the coming 24 hours. and thank you for that.
I only have unsweetened cocoa powder, how would that equate with the unsweetened chocolate bits? (I’m sorry if this is a repeat question, there is too many comments to read!)
Amazing! I think I actually followed the recipe on this one with just one exception, I used semi-sweet choc squares. I think the sweetness was just right for us, but we prefer things on the sweeter side. I even cut them with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Super fun and so perfect for our snow day today! Thanks!
I was at The BookShop on West Portal (in San Francisco) this morning. Guess what????? I saw your book RIGHT NEXT to Ina Garten’s latest cookbook. You’ll be happy to know it was in a prominent place on a table near the cashier. I was soooo happy for you I practically jumped up and down. I had my hands full, plus purse and dog and was in a rush or I’d have picked it up, written a note and slipped it in. I have to go back. My note will say: “Buy this book! Deb is a wonderful, creative cook, her writing keeps me reading her blog everyday. You’ll thank me.” Anything you’d like to add?
Help! I just finished the recipe, but all of the carmel (which turned out perfectly) sunk to the bottom of the batter mix including the carmels I scattered on the top. When I cut into them, they’re like a brownie with a carmel layer on the bottom. Any idea what I should do different next time? And, they only took 20 minutes in the oven until the toothpick came out clean.
I made them today and they are absolutely delicious. I was afraid my caramel was too dark and too bitter, but it turned out good. I also made the perfect lemon bars from your book. Awesome snowy day (near my stove) here in Montréal !
Yum-o! What a yummy treat, happy Valentines early!
You’re evil. . .and I love you for it. Love the new cookbook too!
I have these in the oven now. I used 85% chocolate, and cut the sugar back to 3/4 cup.
I don’t usually like brownies – too sweet and gooey, and they remind me of adolescence. But your preamble won me over, and I made these today. They are positively life-changing.
Next time (tomorrow?) I may try them with toasted pecans, as somebody suggested.
I just found a bag of homemade caramels in the fridge leftover from Christmas… danger! danger! danger! I cannot wait to try this recipe : )
Salted caramel is a favorite of mine. I can’t handle sweet without a bit of salt. It makes it just perfect…balanced. It makes sense. These are adorable and I bet, just as tasty.
Made these today, an epic fail. Carmel did not harden, I finally rolled it into small balls and put in my chest freezer for an hour and they were still soft and gooey. The carmel melted and made little sink holes in the brownies, they fell apart when I cut them. They tasted alright but not worth the time and ingredients. Luckily 16 year old boys will eat anything.
Pretty certain this pregnant mama is headed down a dangerous path. I’m eating chocolate ice cream while reading this blog entry….feeling a wee bit nauseated from a full tummy, and still pondering whether I can fit these brownies in tomorrow. Urp.
These are amazing! When I found this recipe I made them immediately, and they came out perfectly. My chocoholic wife is in heaven.
I just made these. I had to–it’s snowy and windy, and what else can I do when a recipe calling for salted caramel comes my way? But I had no heavy cream in the house, so I used a mixture of half melted butter and half low fat milk for the salted caramel. It seems to have worked! The brownies are still warm, so it remains to be seen how they cool, but warm they are aamaaazing.
where did you get your bench scaper?
just made a batch and waiting (impatiently) for these to cool…
if anyone needs to know what to do with extra heavy cream, try Deb’s dreamy cream scones — you will not regret it!
Thanks Deb. We’re gonna try these. Last weekend we made the Pioneer Woman’s caramel brownies because I made the mistake of sendng it to my daughter with the title ‘Diabetic Coma’. They had SO MUCH caramel that our teeth DID ache, we could only eat them in 1″ squares and we made everyone who walked in the house take some home. We LOVE caramel brownies and this looks ‘lighter’.
I left this page open on my computer and my kids went nuts when they wandered over to see the pics! “PLEASE, PLEASE MOMMY, MAKE THESE!!” I indulged them tonight and these totally lived up to the hype. Ah-MAZING. I followed recipe and with the addition of roasted, salted pecans.
Note: When making caramel, after I added in the cream and butter, I bought it back to a boil just for a minute or two. The caramel was very, very soft and hard to h
handle. Be sure to cook it a good bit after the butter/cream addition.
i haven’t made brownies in forever… this recipe is going to change that for sure! these look delicious and there are so many things i need to bake for next week (mardi gras, birthdays, vday, farewell party)
Made these tonight w/hersheys deep dark cocoa powder and oil .. also didn’t let my caramel firm up long enough (call me pregnant and impatient) so a bunch disappeared as I folded it in .. leaving me to wonder .. could I pour my batter into my pan, maybe half first, poke in some caramels, top the other half of my batter in, poke in some caramels? Hmm… a great excuse to make another batch for another day. These are amazing. Thank you <3
So decadent…and so worth every single calorie!!! Only change was to add 1/4 tsp of baking powder.
DON’T eat them you say? For my own good? Well now I have no other option but to make them straight away and not share them with the five other people in my house.
Because I never learn.
I can feel my teeth hurting just looking at these little devils. I don’t think I could stop at one though.
Absolutely perfect! I added a bit of orange zest, as I love the combination of orange and chocolate. I made them for a movie night with friends and they were gone in minutes! A big Thank You send from Germany!
Perfect for being snowed in with two feet of snow today!
Listening to you on my local (514) morning show right now. Totally fangirling.
i hate you i hate you i hate you. I had FINALLY settled on what to make for my annual office bake-off…and then i clicked over here.
ONLY bad thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t make enough! It was so delicious that i’m making another batch immediately after finishing the first one! so good!!
I made these last night and they were delicious!!! first time I’ve successfully caramelized sugar without it clumping, burning, or splattering on me :D thank you for sharing this recipe!
Hurray! Thank you above commenters for all the advice because now I can make these with substituting half and half for cream and cocoa powder+oil for unsweetened chocolate while Boston digs itself out from under Nemo.
Wow. That’s just about all I can about those melty brownies. Wow.
Well, for the record, when you misread ‘4 Tbs butter’ as ‘4oz butter’ for the caramel, it doesn’t work all that well. Doubling the butter resulted in a caramel that did harden, but needless to say it was rather thin, and the caramels in the brownie batter disappeared entirely while those on the top hardened… Too bad, I’ll just have to try again soon. The brownies themselves are delicious.
Who decided butter should be measured in tablespoons, anyway??
I’m snowed in with plans for cooking and baking up a storm (no pun intended). I swung on over to Smitten Kitchen to cross check an apple pie recipe and I was stopped by this recipe. Now my plans include three pies, cinnamon buns, marshmallows, cookies and these brownies. I have no will power when it comes to caramel.
Deb, I feel your pain about the terrible freezer. 11 years ago, when I first moved in with my now-husband, the refigerator/freezer in his house was really old. The freezer could keep something like a TV dinner frozen (he lived off of them before he wised up and asked me to move in) but not ice cream. I remember whenever we bought ice cream, we had to eat the whole pint in one sitting. It was rough. I always think of that when you mention your terrible freezer. :)
On a recipe-related note: these look amazing. Hoping I have a co-worker with a birthday coming up so I can make them. Otherwise, I am afraid I would make them at home and eat the whole pan.
Well, darn. My caramel came out great although I may have cooked it a bit too long. I was going for a nice dark color and flavor but it looks like it might have ended up being more crisp than yours – the end texture was more like english toffee. I definitely did not get oozing puddles of caramel deliciousness. Like a few others, mine fell through the batter and some, not all, ended up on the bottom, melted into hard pools of caramel. The taste is okay although I like a darker chocolate brownie. Back to the drawing board. I added a sprinkling of sanding sugar mixed with Maldon salk flakes (from Baked’s caramel brownies) right after they came out of the oven which I think is a really nice touch. That photo with the caramel dripping out of the brownie looks like heaven!
Deb, did your caramel have a soft, chewy texture similar to a store bought caramel? If so, I cooked mine too long. That might be the answer – giving up is not an option!
My carmel sunk… but I had some extra and set it on the warm brownies (over the lost carmel holes) and it melted to a lovely goo filling the holes.
It also occurred to me that it would all be too sweet – but you were way ahead of me! Enjoyed reading your thought process for this one… thanks! ;)
I just made these for my boyfriend’s birthday after the wintery nastiness outside nixed my previous plan to take him out for dinner. They were very easy to make and were super delicious, especially when we ate them warm and gooey with butter pecan ice cream.
The only thing that I noticed about the recipe was that my sugar caramelized to a deep copper brown in about two minutes (instead of five) on medium-high heat; thankfully, I smelled the caramel, turned off the heat, and stirred until everything was a uniform color. After that, though, the caramels turned out wonderfully. So if you’ve got a little candy-making experience as I have, keep a close eye on the heat (maybe use medium heat to give yourself a little more leeway) and use your nose to tell if things are starting to edge toward burning. It should smell pleasant and brown (if that makes sense), not like burning sugar.
Thank you as always, Deb, for a wonderful recipe!
After one bite, I took a bunch of these to our downstairs neighbor– just to get them away from us. Thanks for another brilliant recipe!
Oh man! Just made these gluten free and they were incredible! Six-year-old Asher and younger sis Cate licked the pan clean and never knew they were gluten free! Yum!
Insane! My caramels sank too. Do you think this happens if the caramel is not appropriately chilled? I let them sit on the counter in the warm kitchen while getting the oven temp correct (thanks to typical NYC oven with unmarked thermostat knob…).
These are amazing! I panfried some pecan halves in a little grape seed oil and a pinch of sugar and salt (left the salt out of the batter) and they made amazing turtle brownies. The only thing my fiancé suggested was a “cakier” brownie. How would one achieve that?
Finished making these a few hours ago, and they are yummy. However, despite the fact that my caramel was rock hard when it went in, it still melted into the brownies and did not leave big gooey pieces like pictured. Kind of bummed, because the caramel was amazing on its own but you can’t really pick it out in the brownies. :( hopefully my neighbours still like them, they’re getting some as a thank you for snow blowing our driveway this morning!
O. M. G. It’s cold outside with rain and snow swirling…a fire in the fireplace…a sleeping cat on the back of the sofa where my husband lies sleeping…and these glorious choco-caramel dreams are in the oven! Wait…yes, that’s my husband stirring. “Willoooooowww…what’s that I smell? CHOCOLATE?” Yep. Gonna be a great night! (THANK YOU!)
I made this late last night, had one taste, and couldn’t wait to wake up early on a Saturday morning to eat the brownies for breakfast. Mmmm salted caramel brownies with coffee!
They look yum have you seen this recipe http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2006/06/dulce-de-leche/
Not the same but these are really good : )
Like a couple other posters, no amount of time in the freezer would harden my caramel (it was a gooey, delicious mess). What is this indicative of? Too much cream? Not enough time in boiling? Other? Please help; caramel has always been my nemesis!
I confess, I made extra caramel for an extra treat, and the flavor was outstanding. My girls and I stood around the parchment paper and unapologetically scraped it off with our fingers… Yum!
When I made your recipe for “My Favorite Brownies” I told my self….”this is it, your brownies search is over. These are the perfect brownie and no other brownie will ever come close to matching it’s wonderfulness.” Then you came out with these. I was visiting my sister last night and she begged me to make these; they did not disappoint. I was a little nervous about making caramel but with your direction it came out perfectly!
I will admit that I didn’t add enough of the caramel to the mixture. I only added a small amount and the top of the brownies were swimming in caramel. When I make these again, I think I’m going to try to add half of the caramel to the mixture and then half on top to see if I get a better ratio.
I could not stop thinking about these ever since you posted them…when I decided to brave the weather here in the northeast to drive to the market the kids were not so sure it was a good idea. I said, “I have 5 words for you…Smitten. Kitchen. Salted. Caramel. Brownies.” and they replied, “off you go!” They were the best ever! I even cut them into hearts as I did not want to disappoint.
Just wanting to say I made these yesterday and they are delicious!
The only problem with the hearts is you have all these little leftover pieces…hmmm…what to do with those??! Scraps have no calories, right??
Thinking is totally hard sometimes! I always appreciate the amount of thought that goes into your recipes, Deb—these brownies being no exception. I’m not the biggest fan of caramel, but I think that’s because the store-bought stuff is no good. Can’t imagine I wouldn’t get weak in the knees if presented with the homemade kind (butter, sugar and cream, hello!).
I just made the brownie part of this recipe and it is amazing! I’ve been searching for a new go-to brownie recipe since I moved to Colorado and my old go-to recipe decided it doesn’t like to work at altitude. This one worked perfectly!!! Thanks!
A question: I never made caramels before and was surprised by how easy your recipe was, and how delicious they were when I took them out of the freezer. Out of curiosity, I looked at other recipes and they all ask for corn syrup – is it because they are making candies and we are putting it in a brownie?
these are seriously UNREAL.
Thank you, Deb, for this contribution to humanity. It is invaluable.
Just made these. They are SO good. Followed your recipe exactly and came out perfectly. Thank you! <3 <3
I made these yesterday, and they were pretty fantastic. I did have a problem with the caramel melting into the brownies (I don’t know what happened there), but they were still excellent.
Wow! And I guess that the reason you used a heart-shaped cutter instead of just slicing into squares had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the fact there would be scraps that needed ‘clearing up’?! Nothing at all! What a shame! Waste not want not! I must use a cutter next time! :-)
I just made these and while they are wonderful and gooey, my carmel seems to have just incorporated into the batter. It was pretty soft and gooey by itself when I cut it.
Did I cook it too long or not enough do you suppose?
My family loves them but I was hoping for those pockets of pretty caramel.
Yesterday I was depressed about losing my iPod and when I saw this recipe I jumped up off the couch and got to work – it was a great distraction! The recipe is great. I used half and half and the caramel turned out great! I did have some trouble with freezing it – I left it in the freezer for about an hour and it still softened really quickly when I was cutting it up (maybe due to the half and half?) but I did the best I could to keep it in chunks. I had to bake for a bit longer than the recommended time too, but in the end these were GREAT. The caramel stayed in little pockets and the brownies were so chewy and delicious.
I got to spend the weekend with my parents at home and was going to suggest to my mom that we make these (she is the one who introduced me to Smitten Kitchen)! Much to my surprise, these brownies were waiting for me when I got home, so instead we had to make Ethereally Smooth Hummus (it is actually kind of fun to “pop!” the chickpeas out of their skins) and Intensely Chocolate Sables. All three were (not are – there’s no more left) fantastic!
From the moment I received the email with this recipe, I could not think about anything else than making it…and I resisted for about 5 hours!
I was surprised with how easy making caramel is (and cleaning the pan, I thought I would just have to throw it away when actually the caramel dissolved in the hot water).
The brownie was amazing except the sides which turned into hard caramel (Carambar for any French reader!). When I put the caramel squares into the batter, they were firm but not hard, do you think that was the problem? I really wish to understand what went wrong because I’m sure I’ll be doing it again!
Thanks for your help.
Count me as another person whose caramel simply refused to firm up (despite three hours [!] in the freezer), and so instead got incorporated into the batter, turning it pretty much uniform. The result is a cross between a gooey brownie and fudge which I have been unable to stop eating for the last hour, so PLEASE tell me how to never make this happen again. (Om nom nom nom nom.)
As my husband and I approach the last few brownies that I made we keep ratcheting up our love for them. At first it was, “These are pretty tasty!” to, “I think I might like these more than the last time you made brownies.” to, “Seriously, these are the best flipping brownies, ever! Should you start making more immediately?”
These were super good. I also had the caramel sinking into he brownie issue, though only around the perimeter of my pan. Not as pretty as Deb’s bit I could care less – they were delicious!
I am not a big brownie person but for some reason i was compelled to make these today. They are hands down the best brownies I’ve ever tasted. I followed the recipe exactly and they are perfect!!!
These are great! I made them in mini-muffin tins and the recipe made 18. They are perfectly sized and absolutely delicious. Thanks so much for figuring it out for us!
They are the centrepiece for my valentine’s gift packages and that is a worthy place for them!
I made these Friday as the snow swirled in Connecticut. I followed the directions exactly and they came out perfectly. Easier to make than it seems, don’t be put off by the caramel making. It’s really quite simple. DELICIOUS! Will not be last time I make them.:)
why can’t i pin these delicious looking brownies? i’d love to come back & make them sometime but I’ll forget about them without a pin. :( Or can you put it on your pinterest board so i can repin it from there??
Pinterest — We’re looking into the trouble.
Caramel firmness — The caramel should not be hard when it comes out of the freezer, actually on the soft side, but firm enough that you can cut it into sticky/stretchy separate squares. If the pieces soften quickly, that’s fine. If they seem chewy and want to stick together, that’s fine too. Just do your best to separate them into bits, and stir them in. The important thing is getting them into separate “islands” of caramel.
Marietta — I don’t find corn syrup necessary to make caramel sauce of candies, though some people find that makes it easier for people to make at home. My friend David Lebovitz talks in more depth about how and why and when it is used over here.
James — I think I bought it like 10 years ago at a Le Creuset outlet store in Flemington, NJ. Not exactly helpful! You can buy something like this inexpensively from Amazon.
Chocolate varieties — These brownies are at their absolute best with unsweetened chocolate. If you can’t find it, use the highest percentage chocolate you can and dial back the sugar a little in the brownie.
Janyll — Thanks! I’ll check it out.
Making these now, and my caramel out of the freezer is not chewy at all, it is hard like toffee. Not sure what went wrong. Soldiering on anyway, because toffee brownies are probably not a bad thing.
@Peter – will you let us know how they turn out fresh from the oven? A lot of us couldn’t get the caramel to set at all, so I’m wondering if yours come out of the oven just right.
Yumo-O! I can’t wait to give these a try. How fun to use a heart shaped cookie cutter too.
My caramel turned out exactly as described. Makes me wonder why I though all caramel recipes involved juggling thermometers and pots of hard boiled sugar hardened beyond anything good. Nope, this was easy, and the result is yummy.
This is my second attempt at making these… I’m not sure wat went wrong both times but it was a buttery mess, the brownies did not rise, and the consistency was watery and did not harden after 45+ minutes of baking. I followed the recipe exactly, the only difference I could think is maybe using organic cane sugar ( instead of refined) and organic flour? Would this cause this recipe to fail? Was baking powder needed? It was not listed as an ingredient. I really would love to make these , however after 2 attempts I will stick with cooking and not baking!
I made these brownies and they are delish! Incredibly easy to make actual hands on time is probably 10 minutes all total after letting the caramel sit in the freezer. Big hit!
Will you please let us know on your Facebook thread when we are able to Pin this recipe?
@James: Fresh from the oven, the caramel/toffee was soft, but definitely more toffee-sticky than caramel-gooey; you could tell something was wrong. A few hours later, it’s back to hard toffee, which doesn’t pair well with soft brownies. My guess is that I cooked the caramel for too long on the stove. I’ll try again soon, being extra careful to cook the caramel for less time.
Oh not you didn’t!
We made these yesterday and they are wonderful. Intense chocolate flavor in the brownies and amazingly creamy caramel. I could eat the whole batch of caramel before it went into the brownies. My husband and I had a small one each and sent them to the office for “Treat Monday”. Thanks for such great recipes. I’m always confident when I make a recipe from your site.
Epic. That is all :-)
I bet you have a very happy little snow playing boy that gets to come in and have brownies and cocoa. Can I come over and play too?
The dessert looks like something from outer space. Other worldly! But most of all, I love the way you write. You’re so literary and sarcastic. Love your style and humor. :-)
Made these last night. Absolute yum. Unfortunately, had just made a Costco run and I had no freezer room. I can say a cooler with ice packs works fairly well. I probably should have cooked the caramel just a tad longer, as half of it stayed gooey.
Deb, do you know what stage we are aiming for? Soft crack, I imagine, but it would be helpful to know. I didn’t use a candy thermometer, but having made toffee before, it sounds as if a few folks now know how to make that, too. I love the intense chocolate flavor, with just the right amount of goo. Thank you!
I’m jealous of your caramel skills! I always seem to undercook or burn it when I try to make caramel… Those brownies look fabulous!
Just made these over the weekend! Home-made caramel = yum!
Made these on Sunday and they were good, but the carmel kind of just baked into the brownie. I rushed the caramel out of the freezer (maybe only let it set for 20 minutes) and it was still very soft and difficult to cut into pieces. I poured half of the brownie batter into the pan, then added globs of caramel in a layer and topped with the other half of the brownie batter and then added more caramel globs on top. It wasn’t bad, but I think I prefer you regular “perfect brownie” recipe (SO GOOD ON ITS OWN) without the additional caramel.
I made these on Sunday as well, and the caramel disappeared. Perhaps I didn’t let it cook long enough. My caramel pieces turned out they way I thought they were supposed to, though, so I’m not sure. Without the caramel, the brownies were quite bitter and not very cooked on the inside. O well.
Perfect for valentines! except, in regards to the bf, a scull and crossbones cut instead of the heart. That would just be tooo much. Question, can I substitute brown sugar for the white? and would it be the same amount, or more or less.
Made these over the weekend and yes – very delicious! A lot of you seem to have comments about your experience with the caramel, so I’ll add mine. My caramel was rock solid out of the freezer. Cutting it was impossible, I had to shatter it into pieces. I didn’t mix it into the batter, instead I scattered it around and pushed pieces underneath. Out of the oven, the brownies looked not-so-nice. The caramel had all melted into the brownies and left nothing but big holes where the pieces had been. Really though, it doesn’t matter much because these brownies are unanimously DELICIOUS. If anyone would be so kind to post the ideal temperature for the caramel, I’m sure it would be appreciated by all. I’d love to have my next batch look as good as it tastes!
I made these on friday afternoon. Sinfully good and easy to make! Thanks for the recipe.
These look amazing! I have tried to make salted caramel brownies with homemade caramel before and they turned into a eewey-gooey mush that my guests ate with spoons. The spoonfuls were delicious, but the mess was less than attractive! Can’t wait to try these!
Gorgeous photos, as always!
Warning: Novice question here. Just to clarify, to make the carmel, one would just put dry sugar into the dry saucepan, then add the butter later- as stated in the recipe? In your picture it looks to me like you have mixed the dry sugar and butter together. Thank you.
These were a BIG hit with my guys! Thanks for the inspiration.
Going to absolutely try these. But I was wondering if the caramel here would do for caremel apples (which I like to do for V-day)?
Dainapen — I think the caramel for apples is cooked longer, so it firms up, but I’ve never tried it so I cannot say for sure.
Julie — I do it in the order I say. In the first photo of the sugar, it is already beginning to melt and I rolled it around a little. I’m always charmed by the thick wrinkly stage and take a photo.
Thank you for posting this right before a snowstorm-they made my housemates (and me) very, very happy!
To answer some earlier questions about using half and half, I used it b/c that’s all i had, and it worked fine. My caramel was quite squishy, but it sounds like that’s just how this recipe is – more of a firm caramel sauce. I think you could even get away with regular milk if necessary. My go-to caramel recipe for holiday candies is ancient and calls for “rich milk”. I’ve used anything from all heavy cream to 2% with a big splash of half and half, with varied results on the firmness of the finished product, but my guess is that has less to do with the dairy and more with how long I let it cook (all of that soft ball/hard ball madness). These were SO delicious. ps: I also subbed in 72% bittersweet chocolate b/c that’s all I had and used about 3/4 c sugar, maybe even 2/3 cup. They were perfect!
I made these brownies on Saturday night and they were awesome – probably the best brownies I ever made.
I had the same caramel issue. The top of the brownie had holes and the caramel just melted into the brownie. I too wonder what the secret is to keeping the caramel is pockets like the finished product pictures.
Long-time admirer and happy user of your recipes; first-time poster:
These elicted more “sweet Jesus,” “oh my god,” and other invocations of holy figures than anything I’ve ever made before. I will make again and again. Like Jenny K above, the caramel on top melted into my brownies as well (not that it mattered as it tasted fantastic), which made me wonder if placing the caramel on top later in the baking process — enough to melt on top of the brownies but not into them — might work?
I have a hard time judging the color of the caramel, and when to take it off the stove…do you have guidelines using a candy thermometer? p.s. i just love your baking recipes – lots of them are my go-to recipes now!
I made these yesterday and they came out fantastic! I doubled the recipe and made a larger batch in a 9X13 which worked out perfectly. The only thing I would change is adding a little less caramel. While they are ridiculously delicious, a lot of the caramel fell to the bottom which is yummy but made them a little touch on the bottom. Overall fantastic – I cracked sea salt over the top and it was the perfect taste. thanks!
I did a test drive of this recipe last night. My plan is to bake them on Wednesday night, cut them into heart shapes, and bring them in for V-Day for the people who work in my office. Those aforementioned people — SOOOO lucky. These are ridiculously amazing and delicious. Two of my favorite foods are brownies and caramel, so to combine them is perfect. Thank you for the inspiration.
I had no problem with the recipe – the caramel on top turned into puddles, just as it should have.
What would you charge to come to my home and make these?
I’ve been thinking of making my own caramel for a banoffe pie. I know it’s super simple, seems like it should be complicated! Maybe I can incorporate this caramel recipe into my own :).
And here I thought I was going to make souffles for Valentine’s Day… now you have me seriously contemplating these instead!
I made these The day you posted. Perfect!
BTW, contests on winning today’s Piglet round.
The caramels never seemed to harden completely, and as I tried to cut them with oiled knife, then finally just pinch them apart with oiled fingers, the ones I’d already finished would quickly turn to puddles. I was doing a double batch so I’d put one plate back in the freezer while I worked on the other, and ended up doing each twice before stirring them in a quickly as I could, but I think the warm batter melted the first half straight in by the time I could wrangle the rest of the puddles into lumps to toss in. Sigh. At this point I’ve licked so much sugar off my fingers I don’t want to eat any. Good thing I’m giving half to friends leaving on a trip and going to a party with the other half tonight; everyone else can indulge, and if there are any left I know I’ll enjoy one tomorrow!
If there is a next time, should I take this as a sign to cook the caramel longer before freezing it?
I use the recipe on the back of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate and use kraft caramels and a little whole milk. Try adding crunched up thin extra salty pretzels, OR for the brave….crumbled bacon ! <— best ever, sweet salty meaty
Deb you’re on the Today show!! How fun! I was so excited I watched it twice!
Congrats on your Today Show segment–really good stuff! I liked how they said their crew couldn’t fit in your kitchen so they had to tape up cameras! ;-)
I’m glad I discovered your site, I saw your segment on the Today show this morning. I’ve never tried making caramel from scratch but you make it look so easy – thanks for sharing your brownie recipe!
Just found you after seeing you on the Today show…I have a feeling you’d better get ready for new follower overload! So far, I’m LOVING what I’m seeing. I mean, who wouldn’t love Salted Caramel Brownies for Heaven’s sake!?! Looking forward to a delicious friendship with you! ;)
Just an FYI for those who live in Brooklyn and NYC people who travel to Brooklyn. Sahadi on Atlantic sells the unsweeted and semi sweet Guittard discs in bulk, for less than $7 a pound. They are pretty good.
This is extremely dangerous. I made caramel with olive oil (ran out of butter!) and whole milk (didn’t have cream!) and it was delicious.
Then I put it in cupcakes because I didn’t have brownie mix. The result was to die for. Absolutely idiotproof and scrumptious.
I don’t think I’ll be able to stop!
New to you. Looking forward to trying a recipe or 2 or 3. I cook (for 5 months) in a smaller kitchen in our 5th Wheel RV, so I understand the confines of a small space. Most people don’t understand that a smaller, well planned kitchen is actually easier to cook in.
is the butter for the brownies melted before? room temperature? may be a stupid question but i’m the worst baker so better to be safe!
Made a gluten free version of this last weekend! Ooey gooey awesomeness!! Also sprinkled Fleur de Sel on the caramel before sticking in the freezer for the extra salty goodness!
On another note, Deb, your photos are beautiful!
Ack! Just saw you on the Today Show! I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while now and when I heard the teaser about a popular cooking blog I thought “oh please, oh please!” . Very cool!
BTW, brownies were a monster hit here at home. Thank you!
OK, I usually don’t regard much younger people as my heros, but you are my latest hero!!
These look amazing! And just in time for Valentine’s Day!!
Can’t wait to make them Thursday. I would like to make a bunch for my co-workers and family! Any idea if I want to get enough into a half sheet pan should I triple the recipe? Thanks for all your creativity!!
Can you provide a high altitude version? I live at 8000 feet. Is there a standard conversion formula for baked goods?
These look amazing! Going to the grocery store tonight to get the ingredients to make for my hubby for V-day. Thanks for an amazing recipe!
I made these as is! The brownies turned out exactly like how they’re supposed to – thin crackly top, deep chocolate flavour, squidgy pockets of creamy salty caramel. But everything was Insanely rich, even for me (a person who has no qualms with scoffing a good slice of real new york cheesecake or eating half a batch of cookies in one go). I would definitely halve the caramel the next time I make it, and/or cook the caramel longer to achieve a deeper, more rounded flavour.
Yay Deb! I loved seeing you on the Today show! Just have to say I loved seeing your story and the inside look of your kitchen! I have been such a fan! So cool :)
A) These are amazing, oh my sweet god. B) The Today Show! Really?! Well done.
Oh my gosh, I have been wanting to make these since I saw a recipe in the Food Network magazine, but I have been thinking all along I would just use the leftover caramel ice cream topping that I have in the frig. Now I just can’t do that! I have to make caramel! Thanks for the inspiration. Love the hearts!
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
Made these. Incredibly decadent. Salty caramel is a knock-out (see: your salty apple tart). Caramel turned out somewhat brittle – couldn’t cut it into pieces, but broke it easily into pieces with my fingers. The top part was less crater-like since the pieces of caramel were smaller. Inside the brownies, the caramel didn’t get lost. Each and every bite was amazing. Am now making some for Valentines. And for family living far away. And as a thank you present for my neighbor. And…
Deb, you always inspire me in the kitchen, but now you’ve started inspiring me in…other places.
See what I mean:
AAAHHH!! When they introduced your segment on the Today show… they didn’t say your name yet. and I was at the edge of my seat thinking.. can it be?.. “smittenKitchen”… I’ve been following/cooking/baking with you, since before.. your little miracle pumpkin… I am so proud of your accomplishments with the husband, the baby, the blog, the book, the tour, the TODAY SHOW!… Go YOU!!! congratulations! Keep up the fantastic things you do. And I have made these.. they are wonderful. Thank You.
I plan on making these for a girls dinner I’m hosting. I won’t have time to make them the day of the dinner but I want to make sure they taste as fresh and as yummy as possible.
How far in advance can these be made?
I really really like brownie. Photo is looking just wow! I am not good in baking but definetly i will try your this recipie for sure as soon as i can. Thankyou for such a nice recipie.
These look absolutely delicious! I can’t wait to make them this weekend! :)
Hi Deb- I was SO excited to see you, your family and your small but very efficent kitchen on The Today Show this morning! I can’t believe Jacob is three years old! Where has the time gone? These brownies look to die for. I can’t wait to try them!
I tried this! Awesome Deb, thank you!
They’re in the oven now, but add me to the list of those for whom the caramel never hardened. After 1 1/2 hours in the freezer, I managed to scrape it off the parchment & make little dollops in the batter. I still expect deliciousness!
LOVED the Today Show segment and seeing your tiny kitchen. It really gave me a better perspective on the kitchen and a window into your world (you do have a beautiful big window in your kitchen!). I look forward to meeting you in St. Louis in early March! I am taking the brownies with me to book club tonight and I am sure everyone will love them (even if they don’t look like the brownies in your pictures and the caramel melted into the brownies).
Oh Deb! I’m a frequent reader, not-as-often commenter. I currently have these guys (brownies) in the oven and have been salivating over the recipe online all day! (I was so tempted to leave work and get my bake on!–not that I can do that.) I’m a big fan, love your cookbook, and hope to meet you on your visit to STL. Thanks thanks for all the GREAT recipes!!
So, I made these pretty much immediately after you posted them and I have a few questions. I didn’t have bittersweet chocolate, I used 60% Ghiradelli as I *always* have the chips on hand for emergencies. Like making salted caramel brownies. OK, so anyways, I used the chips and the brownies weren’t overwhelmingly sweet, which was nice. But, maybe I didn’t cook them long enough? The caramels sort of all glommed together at the bottom of the brownies, they didn’t maintain their integrity at all. Yours look like they did? I’m remaking them now and I froze the caramel a little more and will cook for the full 30 minutes. Oh, and I added more salt as I could not resist and the saltiness kind of got lost in the brownie. Also, my husband suggested using Rolos. I scoffed at him. Scoffed.
I agree completely. Yuck. Why on earth would you want to put these in your mouth?Still just to be sure I’d better give them a try…..you know, for research purposes:-)
SO delicious! I just made a batch to give to my boyfriend for V-Day and they turned out amazing! I didn’t have any unsweetened chocolate in the house, so I used 60% cacao dark chocolate squares, which added a nice depth to the brownies :)
THANK YOU! This was my first caramel adventure, and it turned out stupendously. They’re a huge hit at work. My caramel also did not maintain its integrity in the brownies, but you can definitely taste pockets that have more caramel versus more chocolate, so it doesn’t bother me too much.
I, too, had the caramel sink into my brownies but had no problem with making the caramel and freezing and incorporating it into the batter. You could still taste the distinct caramel “pockets” even if you couldn’t see them. On a side note, I had birthday money that was burning a hole in my pocket and I bought the Maldon Sea Salt. Yes, I spent gifted money on salt. Can’t wait to try it. Pathetic, I know :)
I just LOVE your blog! and I want these caramel brownies in my BELLY NOW! p.s. your cookbook is wonderful, my loving husband bought it for me for christmas ;)
I would love to know which unsweetened chocolate you prefer to use–for this recipe and in general
I wanted to thank you.
I discovered your website by chance and the pictures made me want to bake those amazing things.
It’s probably one of the best dessert I have eaten in all my life.
I’m gonna look at others of your recipes, you are the best <3
ps : sorry about the english, I'm french and confused about conjugation (;
These are going to disappear so quickly…What makes me so happy about this recipe is that there’s no need for a candy thermometer. Thank you for writing recipes for the people! I love your blog (only recently discovered), your photography is incredible, and I can’t wait to work my way through your book!
It was great to meet you in Mtl on Saturday!
I just made these last night and the caramel did not work! Ugh. I’m really unsure as to why. It was disappointing. But soupy caramel brownies are ok too.
It was great meeting you in Montreal! I hope you had a good trip to Montreal and were able to eat at some interesting restaurants and see some sights!
If I hadn’t been so awkward and shy I would have said: Your recipes are awesome, and thanks to your recipes I have looked amazing at many special occasions were I have cooked from your blog! I always give you credit for it and can’t thank you enough for your recipes and your blog posts which I love to read…!
I hope the rest of the blog tour goes well! :)
I am absolutely ecstatic to make these tonight!!
These inspired me to make brownies to send to the kid at college. I wanted them to be more stable/less messy, though, so I could ship them. Instead of making caramel, I used Ghirardelli milk chocolate caramel squares. Put in half the brownie batter, then the chocolates, then the rest of the batter. I’m going to recommend she microwaves them for a few seconds before eating, for maximum gooeyness.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Made these last night, they were delicious! My only issue is that the carmel din’t set too well, but I think that was mainly user error. I get so scared of burning it that I cheat the time! These will be a great contribution to the Valentine’s spread at my work- I got the heart cookie-cutter and everything!
Made these the other night Deb! I baked them in individual heart molds since I had them in hand–they were awesome! Though next time I’d use something different than Dagoba’s 100%- wasn’t a huge fan (of that brand).
can i sub coconut oil for the butter?
Made these last night and they’re a HUGE hit! Thanks for a great recipe. I think next time I might put the squares of caramel back in the freezer for a few minutes before stirring them in – I took too long to cut them and didn’t get the little pockets of caramel in quite the same way you did.
I’ve never made a caramel from scratch before *hides in shame*. I love that you posted multiple pictures– makes me feel like it’s that much more doable. The brownies look so tasty, I might just have to work up the courage to try.
Help. Suppose you HAVE to make these but you only have cocoa powder and with three kids under five, you’re not willing to dash to the store for chocolate in the bar form. Suggestions? Please?
Made these last night and they were awesome! The brownie was that perfect cake/gooey combo. I really liked the addition of the caramel, but I would definitely recommend letting the caramel set all the way before adding it to the brownies. Also, I think I could have made them in a slightly larger pan, like a 9×9 because they are fairly dense and so it would have been good if they weren’t so tall and I could have cut bigger pieces.
Please please please, Deb, tell us the temp for the caramel. Mine also became rock hard in the freezer, and left big sink-holes in the brownies. It would be much easier to do it again if we knew what temperature to cook the caramel. Thanks!
My favourite is chocolate & my partner loves caramel – these are the perfect dessert for us! Just pulled mine out of the oven & am drooling already!!! Thanks for another winner Deb – AMAZING!!!!!!
Made these tonite as an early Valentine’s present- and he is now one happy man!
I followed instructions exactly and they turned out perfect. Thanks for posting. You have some great stuff on here!
Deb, I just watched the clip on the Today Show. You rock but you’re scaring the shit out of me. Are you going to get to big to share the love with us? Thought I should talk about love on Valentine’s Day Eve. These brownies and everything else you do are so killer. – Rollie
I’ve made these twice in 2 days. My friends in class loved the first batch, and I’m hoping for the same when I take them to work tomorrow. I did have a hard time both times with the caramel staying hard and uniform as pictured. I cooked it longer the 2nd time around just in case I hadn’t gotten the sugar to a hard enough stage the first time. I also left them in the freezer longer. Still got soft when I put them into the brownie mix. Oh well, still a really delightful treat, and it was fun.
I did use half and half. Maybe that had something to do with it. I don’t know. If I end up having heavy cream in my house next time, I’ll use that to see if that makes a difference.
My friend Gwen introduced me to this site not too long ago. I feel like I’m experimenting in the kitchen and I love it. I’ve been a baker for a very long time, but there’s something about your blog and the recipes that make me feel like I’m on an adventure in my kitchen.
Looking forward to future fun.
Made these twice with my daughter and shipped them out as Valentine gifts. Everyone loved them! Also, my husband enjoyed the remnants from the cut outs. Thank you!
I made these for V-day, they came out perfect! I have probably made 80% of your recipes over the past years and never have they failed, thank you for making the kitchen fun!
Here’s a tip- when you put the caramel in the freezer to chill, make sure your plate is on a level surface, or when you open your freezer 20 minutes later you will find caramel-covered everything. I should have known better than to try to balance the plate on a frozen chicken. Luckily I have enough heavy cream to try again!
Liz — Sorry about the mess, but I’m cracking up, imagining a photo pool where we all showed what our plates looked like in the freezer. Mine was smashed against the top, because the freezer is overstuffed with chaos (soups, tomato sauces, frozen things for Jacob’s lunches, fruit for smoothies, and that’s barely a quarter of it).
kari — In the brownies, definitely. In the caramel, I’m not positive. I’ve never tried it, but hopefully if someone else has, they can weigh in.
Brandy — I talk about chocolate brands in comment #163.
Jaclyn — They should keep fine in the fridge for a week, in the freezer, indefinitely.
Totally decadent. Loving already!
I made these and also had trouble with the caramel temperature. The first time I made the caramel, I cooked it for 3 minutes after returning it to the heat, and it was hard as a rock when it cooled. So I made it again with a candy thermometer, and brought it to just above the thread stage. It was still too hard, and ended up being like a very chewy candy throughout the brownies. But they’re edible especially if they’re warm! Would be interested in the right temperature just in case I try them again some day.
These were, hands down, the best brownies I have ever eaten. Thanks for the great recipe, Deb! Looking forward to meeting you when you come to Minneapolis!
This was the first time I tried to make brownies from scratch and it was so much easier than I expected! The only trouble I had was with getting the caramel to freeze, which it never did, after 2 hrs in the freezer. It made a huge mess when I was trying to cut it into pieces to put in the mix, because by the time I got to the end, I was scraping very soft caramel off the wax paper and sort of dolloping it on top of the batter in the pan. It didn’t seem to affect the brownies though because everyone is raving about them!! They turned out fudgey and with just right amount of saltiness in the caramel. Your directions are so user-friendly and actually make sense, thank you!!!
This looks great! It’s definitely becoming a part of my future To-Do list! :)
Made these last night to bring to work and they turned out so delicious! You were very accurate with saying “a mess of hearts” – I gave up and stuck to regular squares.
I didn’t have parchment paper so used a Silpat on a baking sheet for the caramel and it worked!
Love your recipe, but frustrated with the caramel. Did I cook it too long if it came out of the freezer very hard? I’ve made caramels before and didn’t have this problem. Thanks.
What an excellent recipe!
The caramel had a wonderful flavor, however, I too had sticky caramel issues, even after throwing the pan outside on the snow, and in the freezer. Definately a cooking time issue-will cook the sugar and butter longer next time. In addition, adding the salt after the majority of the cooking would help too-don’t need that boiling point elevation to increase cooking time even longer!
Also spiked my batter with some bourbon, and added 1 TB of instant espresso powder-really countered the sweet, sticky and delicous caramel!
Thank you for sharing!
O. M. G.
I made these last night and was told today that they are perfect! For those who are finding the caramel falling to the bottom of the pan, try letting the brownie batter cool off before adding them.
What temperature should the caramel be at when you remove it from the stove?
I made these yesterday exactly as directed and oh my holy goodness! They are DIVINE and I cut them into tiny bite size bits, which I really recommend since they pack such a punch. Spectacular and a huge hit with everyone I work with!
I made these, cut the pan into almost 64 pieces (well, I had to clean up those funny bits on the edge!) and brought them to work today — I am now everyone’s favorite person! Absolutely delicious! I did buy flake salt rather than skipping that for organic coarse grind – worth the $$ and now I have flake in my pantry. Chewy, fabulous, don’t eat more than two!
Thank the heavens for you, for testing all of these different caramel brownie recipes so that we don’t have to. Though I don’t pity your taste testers :)
I feel fat just looking at these. Nom Nom Nom. [sighs]. Thanks Deb
These are in the oven now so I haven’t tasted the finished product but after tasting the brownie batter I have decided that I will never make brownies from a box again- your recipe is absolutely amazing!
So I wasn’t sure what to make for a special Valentine’s Day dessert, I was stuck waffling between a couple choices when I thought, “I’ll just pop over to Smitten Kitchen for inspiration.” Well, between your pictures and your description I was sold before I even got to the recipe. All I can say is, wow. You have never let me down! Thanks for another utterly fabulous recipe!
Deb, my caramel took over an hour to cool and it was still oozy…did it not cook long enough? I ended up putting them in the brownies (which they remained indistinguishable in appearance, but very pronounced in flavour) Besides not getting the novelty of gooey caramel they were insanely decadent and delicious.
Never thought to put chunks of caramel in the brownies itself. I’ve always been simply drizzling caramel sauce over the brownies. Gotta try this method next time!
These were awesome! We made them for valentines for teachers–‘the best part was that the heart cut outs lef lots of leftovers — which I pretty much demolished –‘I think that amounted to 4-5 real sized brownies but in small pieces much easier to eat more;)
i seriously just made a different version of salted carmel brownies two days before this post! it must have been something in the air! :) i haven’t posted my experience yet… but i will. i seriously love your blog. i am the worst at commenting – but i read! xoxo
I also had a hard time with the caramel and made it three different times. The first two batches seemed like too much butter and in the end I used only 3 tbsp of butter and 2 of cream. It got very hard in the freezer so I basically chipped it apart for the batter. It didn’t really matter as it got all mixed in and deliciously melty.
Thanks for this great Valentine’s Day treat!
Made these little heart shaped babies last night. Turned out perfect! Someone at work even said “these are the best brownies I’ve ever had”.
The recipe says to melt the sugar then mix in the butter. Are you sure you don’t mean melt the butter then stir in the sugar?
Luke — No. You melt sugar to create caramel.
I am (almost literally) eating up your cookbook. Thank you! I have been reading your blog since I came upon your apple cake one day, and it’s nice to have your recipes and photos in a tangible form, sitting on my shelf!
Regarding the caramel step, the texture seems on par, but after sampling the caramel (I HAD to test it!) it tasted a bit bitter. Did I cook it too long? My caramel color also seems darker than your photos.
Sweet merciful Zeus!
HOLY SHHHHHHHHHHEEESH! I have been trying your recipes for the past year (LOVE your garlic soup) but have never posted on your site. These brownies caused me to break my silence! I made them tonight for my sweetheart and seriously… I had to convince myself not to eat the whole batch before I presented them to him (tough battle)!! They are absolutely perfect. I will be making these for the rest of my life. THANK YOU!!!!!
I Just dicovered your blog, spend hours reading and laughing and went straight into the kitchen to try these brownies. Had the same experience with the soft and sticky caramel but the taste was stunning. Baked them in a muffin pan thought and want to post your recipe in my (german) cook blog (of course I will link to your recipe). If you don’t feel confortable with it please let me know. Also wish you a nice weekend. Eva
I brought the “leftovers” (read: my fiance would have eaten them all if I didn’t get rid of them) to the faculty room at school. There were fights over the last one. Good thing the kindergarten didn’t see that.
OMG, these look fantastic! I love brownies,but I’ve never heard of a caramelly brownies!They are absolutely perfect!
I made these last night for my husband and they are AMAZING! The caramel recipe is perfect and brownie texture was just right. After baking the caramels on top sunk in and made little craters of gooey heaven. Thanks! It’s a winner!
These look UNBELIEVABLE! I actually ended up making the Baked brownies for V-day but both my husband and I wished that they were these the entire time. I guess caramel makes everything better.
Perfect v-day dessert (…and, ah, morning after v-day breakfast *ahem*). My mind is racing for ways to make these even more decadent (nuts! marsala-soaked cherries! coconut?), but honestly, they are perfect as-is. Thank you!
I made these for a party we had at work. They turned out really well and were easier to make than I thought at first glance.
I also had issues with the caramel. Medium-high heat had the sugar burning instead of melting. The resulting batch of caramel was quite dark and tasted bitter. Reducing the heat to medium-low produced a perfect second batch of caramel. Unfortunately, my caramel pieces were too small to maintain any structural integrity in the finished product. I ended up with caramel-flavored brownies, but they are absolutely delicious. The fault was completely my own for not cutting the caramel into 1-inch pieces. I can’t wait to try again. Thanks for the recipe, Deb! You are simply amazing.
Hi Deb. I’ve been reading your blog for years and always find you so informative. So, I find it a little odd that you have not addressed the fact that so many people are having a hard time with the caramel. The recipe would be much better and more able to be replicated by everyone if you gave a temperature to cook the caramel to. I understand the desire to make it easier by not requiring a candy thermometer, but the quality of the recipe suffers for lack of it.
I made these for my hubby and kids in college for V-day. HUGE success! I didn’t have trouble with the caramel — probably because I have never made it before and didn’t know that is was something that could go horribly wrong and therefore should be worried over. Fortunately it turned out just right. Sticky-gooey-yum!!!!!
As a frightened first-time caramel maker, the caramel making instructions were very easy to follow.
I do agree with some of the comments- these are closer to fudge than a brownie. Not that I’m complaining; this is probably the most decadent thing I’ve ever made!
Oh my…if only I had seen this recipe before Valentine’s Day. Already flagged for next year!
The brownies came out fantastically! My caramel never really set up in the freezer, so I couldn’t cut it into neat 1″ square. I ended up just tearing it into globs and dropping those in, which worked well enough.
Hello! I’m so confused!! Which cookbook do I buy/what’s the difference between the different versions? There’s one which has more pages than the other, is there more content in it? Thanks!!
I love coming back to this site often to see your pictures.. especially these ones about these caramel brownies. They look simply irresistible. I must try to make them this weekend!
I just pulled a batch out of the oven and HOLY COW do they look deviously delicious! Making them for a get together with friends tomorrow – friends who happen to have massive sweet tooth’s. Hope they bring something healthy :)
I’m not the degree to which this is responsible, but I tossed the bits of caramel that were going into the batter with a little flour before mixing into the batter. I guess I was thinking that if it helps berries not sink to the bottom of my muffin, it would help the caramel stay afloat. I did get those lovely little pockets of caramel, so I’m going to consider it a win!
p.s. recipe doubled beautifully, making a nice, thick brownie in a 9x13x2 pan.
I made these and they are excellent. There were some frozen vegetable casualties in my freezer when the carmel spilled a bit, but totally wortht. They seem to keep best in the fridge. Yum!!
Someone asked about eating these with braces. I have braces, and I think I ate about 4 of these brownies when I made them the other day. I even ate one of the caramels alone, tho I really sort of sucked on it until it was gone. This is not the sticky, cubed caramels that will ruin all your orthodontia, it’s totally doable. Good thing too, or I’d have had a huge new bill on my hands.
My caramel seemed to fade away in the middle of the brownie and somewhat sink to the bottom, but the caramel on top spread out nicely and there are little pockets of gooey goodness on top. I think this is probably because I have large square plates so the caramel may have been thinner than it should have been to hold up in the batter. Either way there are as decadent as they sound and super easy w/ or w/out the caramel part – never making packaged brownies again!
I made these and they were divine! — thanks for sharing such a great recipe. I’m new to your blog but it has quickly become a go-to for me!
Hi! Great recipe. Thx a lot for step by step photos. As soon as I saw it i decide to make. In the oven now! Will come back in a few min after tasting ! Smells good and looks nice ! TBC :-)
I made this exactly as written. My carmel didn’t harden, so i dropped the caramel globs into the batter – they disappeared. I put some on top, and they cooked into the batter. So..they didn’t look like your pictures, but the flavor was outstanding! We’ll be trying them again to see if they turn out more picture perfect. But it took all our willpower not to eat the entire batch at one time!
Deb, these look delicious!! I love how you cut them out as hearts for Valentine’s Day <3
Amazing! I have loads of yummy brownie recipies(I seem to collect them) but this recipe is the tops. Dessert tonite was half the recipe. I’ve got to do my monthly weigh-in at Weight Watchers soon, but we have to eat these up before I eat right again. That’s OK I would happily live on salad after eating these.
My caramels came out nice and soft, chewy and stretchy – they looked very similar to your picture in size, thickness and overall appearance. I was amazed. But then they totally utterly melted into the brownies – even the ones sprinkled on top :( The brownies are still delicious but sad about the melted caramels.
We made these and it was a HUGE hit with the family! The caramels were perfect, and I love that there’s no corn syrup in your caramel.
These are good I’ve made them twice in the past three days already!!
I’m also encountering the same issue as Susan (above me), and was wondering if there was anything I could do to make it more like yours?
Looks amazing!!! Must try!
Hey deb thanks for the recipe IT WAS THE BEST TASTING SALTED CARAMEL BRWONEIS EVER!!! However my caramel bits either all melted into the brownies (the ones sprinkled on top) or winked to the bottom. What can I do to get lovely pockets of caramel likes yrs????
They look gorgeous. Now I wonder how much I can mess up the American measures if I try making them? I can see much of the recipe has weight equivalents, but there are a bits that don’t. Maybe I’ll give in and just try using cups (like any true brit it makes me VERY nervous if I don’t get to weigh everything!!!)
I made these and had the same caramel issues as everyone- tried again but made the caramel yesterday, froze for an hour then chopped and refroze. Today I made the brownie mix, but cooled it down prior to adding the flour and frozen caramel chunks,this was almost as good looking as above – and qualified as awesome, even by the same people who enjoyed the first lot! Hope this helps.
Yum! This looks awesome. I love your book and have made so many recipes from both. Excited to try this one! Is parchment paper a must? Can I just use tinfoil or grease a pan for the freezer?
I made these yesterday for a belated Valentine’s Day dinner (the mussels in vermouth and tarragon oven fries from the cookbook – yum!). It’s a really good thing that some friends are coming over tomorrow, and that I’ve promised them brownies so must not eat them all.
These are insanely delicious – rich, fudgey, and the sweetness is perfectly offset by the salt. I almost never make brownies because even dark chocolate ones tend to be too sweet for me; the salt makes such a difference!
I noticed that some of my chunks of caramel melted into the brownie while others didn’t. I think I let my caramel spread too thin and I wasn’t particularly careful about chopping up the caramel into equal-sized pieces; the smaller ones seem to be the ones that vanished, so I’ll make sure I cut slightly bigger pieces next time.
Ok, made these today with my three year old and they are spectacular. I think I ended up halfway between a toffee and a caramel (it was hard and brittle coming out of the freezer, but ended up in beautiful melty pools just like Deb’s). I’m embarrassed to say that between me, my husband, my two little ones, and some friends who came by for a playdate, I think we’re going to polish these off in one day. Between these and the maple bacon biscuits that are staple now in our home, I think I can blame at least 5 lbs on Smitten Kitchen.
I tried the recipe and followed everything as described, although I had to use chocolate chips instead of bakers chocolate because I was out of it. Unfortunately, my caramel pieces created huge craters in the brownie just like you described it as creating troughs. Would making the caramel colder help? Or changing something to the brownie recipe?
Hoping to make these for a potluck and would love it if the didn’t look so bad. The taste though – amazing!
Thanks for posting
Trouble with the caramel — I’m so sorry some of you are having sinking/dissolving issues. I will make these again and note a correct temperature. My hunch is that it simply needs to be cooked a little longer so it gets a bit firmer in the fridge, closer to making a classic caramel candy. Also, as I noted in an earlier comment (and tried to in the recipe), the caramel doesn’t get hard in the freezer, just firm enough that it can be cut into bits when it’s very cold. (At room temperature, it quickly becomes more sauce-like, because I wanted to emulate the caramel sauce effect in the brownies.) Nevertheless, a temperature reading would help everyone and I will add it soon. My husband will NOT be sad that I have to make these again, not one bit. ;)
Jasmine — I agree, this is a slower-than-average response rate from me. I wish I could get to it faster, but it’s been a very busy week-plus (a few days in Canada, a sick kid, etc. etc.) around here, and it just wasn’t possible. I don’t employ recipe testers or an assistant, so when I become crazy busy for a week, there’s always a lapse on the site. I wish that it weren’t the case, I’d rather always have time to be here, but I also wouldn’t be comfortable with anyone else doing my cooking or comment-responding for me. In the next couple days, this should be updated with a temperature reading.
Following up on this over 7 years later (sorry!), did you ever get a temperature for the caramel?
chocolate and caramel is one weakness of mine and these brownies look spectacular! Love the heart shapes and that oozing caramel, oh my!
I made these yesterday. I doubled the recipe including the carmel and they turned out amazing!!! These will be my new annual Valentines Day treat! Thanks so much for the great recipe
Deb, my boyfriend made these for me on Valentine’s Day. Thank you, thank you, thank you. :)
@eliza — I made these using the best cocoa brownie recipe instead. I simply do not bother with other brownie recipes, so when I come across caramel/cheesecake/other brownie additions I want to eat, I always use the cocoa brownies as the base. That recipe is amazing (thanks, Deb!) and I have yet to find satisfaction with the fudginess in any other recipe that I so love in those/require in brownies. They came out great with the salted caramel!
because we believe an 8 by 8 of brownies is never sufficient, I doubled the recipe into a 9 by 13 and it worked beautifully. I did the carmel on a cookie sheet and silpat and it was fine.
This is so beautiful! Not sure if my caramels would make it into the brownies (love caramels), but I’m definitely going to try this!
So much drool on my trackpad I might have to buy a new laptop!
ummm i think my life might just be complete. I’ve never made from scratch caramel brownies… only the boxed variety. Must try soon!
Like a few others I am getting the carmel sinking to the bottom – marks left on the surface but all of it ends up on the bottom. This has happened both times I made them and I followed the recipie exactly both times.
Wondering if I should cook the carmel longer – resulting in a harder candy? Cook for a shorter period of time? Cook at a higher temp?
Next time will try the suggestions I saw from a search of the comments – chill the batter and flour the carmels
Regardless of where the carmel ends up these are really really good!
It looks heavenly! I can’t stop my mouth from watering!
NOOO! Too amazing! Why did no one think of this before? Sheer brilliance combining brownies and caramel. These will go on my must make list!
I think I have found a partial solution to the “melting” caramel problem. Instead of using a lge plate to cool the caramel on (which I did the first time), I used a smaller one thereby allowing a thicker caramel. In no way did the caramel get hard enough in even 40 mins., so I left it in the freezer for several hours. Once all cut to size I “refroze” for 30 mins. and then tossed all but a few into the brownie mixture, quickly adding the “loose” ones on top and into the oven it went. Not all the pieces remained intact within the brownie, but not all melted like my first attempt. I am thinking the trick is the thickness of the caramel pieces as well as adding them to the cooled brownie mixture. In any case, they are so,so,so scrumtious that it really doesn’t matter if the caramel melts in the brownie or in my mouth!
Add me to the ranks of those-who-made-brownies-with-sunken-caramels. The taste is outstanding and I’m not sorry I made them, only sorry that they don’t look as pretty as Deb’s! I did cool the dough before adding the cut caramels and also left the caramels in the freezer for over an hour to no avail – a cratered top and disappeared caramels BUT oh… the taste… it’s heavenly.
Amazing! I had the same issue with the caramel disappearing into the batter. Know what? I served it at two different events and everyone said they were amazing. No one noticed the disappearing caramel, just loved the awesomeness that is the perfect brownie.
Stop. Stop right now. This is NOT ALLOWED, do you know how hard it is to follow a plant based, vegan diet when I see things like this? I lose ALL self control when it comes to chocolate and caramel. Or brownies and caramel. Or dark chocolate brownies and caramel. Oh dear..
I made these yesterday. They are WONDERFUL! The caramel stays gooey and the brownies themselves are very moist. Having made it once, it will go quicker next time. I will be making these again for sure! Thanks!
These looks obscenely good!
LOVE! How else can I say it? I love your blog and this recipe. Beautiful pictures! Tomorrow afternoon, I am SO making these! Look out world! The heart shapes are also darling!
I made these twice on the weekend for friends and they are definitely easier than they appear to guests ;) I lost all my caramel the first time too, and after reading comments and finding others had the same issue, tried a couple things. I’m pretty sure I cooked my caramel correctly but I’m not sure i set it long enough. The second time I also let it set again after I cut it since yor hands melt the caramel slightly. I put the thickest pieces in and the batter had cooled slightly when I did (although it was a pain to put in the pan ). Then I tried a few bits on top (and held some back) but they melted in the first 5 minutes. So I put the few I kept on top in the last 3 or so minutes and they melted perfectly. Inside the caramel melted but you could tell where, not like my first batch that seemed to just all blend together. Regardless these are amazing and I’m determined to keep making them until I get it right!
Gosh, my willpower just melted. I bookmarked this recipe and will make it soon. You had me at the ‘caramel’. Thanks for sharing this recipe!
I made these for our belated Valentine’s Day celebration on Friday and they are divine. Happily, I had no caramel-related issues–I made it just as directed and, since I was out of parchment paper, used a Silpat over a plate which worked beautifully. About 20 mins in the freezer and I was able to cut it up–mine ended up being less than perfect 1 inch squares (more shattering), but no matter. For the same reason (no parchment paper), I used a non-stick 9″ round cake pan (buttered and floured) for baking and had no sticking issues at all. I also upped the salt quantity a bit b/c I like really salty caramel. I have been keeping my brownies in the fridge, as you suggested, and they are wonderful even cold–the caramel is chewy, not hard (as you noted). So, so good and I thought these came together remarkably quickly–you get can get the brownie batter done while your caramel cools and that’s that!
What an amazing recipe!! I made these the same day I saw the recipe, and brought them to work the next day for Valentine’s Day. Everybody LOVED them! I’ve never made caramel before and it was easier then I’d ever imagined. I bake a LOT and this recipe is staying on my favorites list. I followed it exactly. Well…maybe a few extra sprinkles of salt because I love salted caramel… But overall, it was super easy and super tasty. Thanks for sharing another great recipe. You ROCK!!!!!
I made these for my husband’s birthday last week, and we are slowly eeking them out. I think we’re down to our last portions. These were a huge hit! I cannot get enough of the caramel islands. I think next time I’ll add some expresso powder to increase the bitterness and cut down a little on the sugar, as they are just a mite too sweet for me. Thank you, Deb!
Made them. Loved them!! Thanks! Every recipe from your site & book are winners and come out perfectly!!
These are sinful, Deb – I’ll be making them on the weekend!
These got rave reviews from all! I used Deb’s “best cocoa brownies” recipe (minus 1/4 cup sugar) for the brownie base and they were dense, fudgy and amazing. It was my first time making homemade caramel, but I don’t think it will be the last!
So I am currently made two batches at the same time, but one at a time.The first one looked perfect before it went into the oven. I set my oven to 350, let it pre-heat, then put them in for 30 mins.
Well, after the 30 mins, I tried to get a clean toothpick. Nope, so I set the timer for another three mins and checked it afterwards. Still not a clean tooth pick. I did this I would say at least a dozen times or more. Finally, I was worried that I was burning them by letting them stay in so much longer, but my tooth pick never came away clean. I finally had to take them out, and I had burned them around the edges.
The first one is currently in the freezer and I will see if I can salvage it, but the caramel pieces on top obviously melted into the brownies since they were in so much longer.Not sure if the ones inside completely melted away or not.
I have my second batch in the oven now and I am only going to keep them in for ten mins total longer, whether a get a clean tooth pick or not.
I feel like I am the only one who has had this specific issue… *sigh*
I just whipped up a batch and could not be happier with the results. Exactly what I was looking for ,and more ,in a brownie. I put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, to ease the crumbling while cutting issue, and they are just sublime!!!!! A total keep, keep, keeper!!!!! Thank you Deb!
Second batch came out perfect with a clean toothpick immediately and no suken in caramel.Go figure…no clue what I did differently. YUMMMY!!! And I was able to kind of salvage the first batch. haha! Yay! Thank you so much. I am sure the church goers will love these at tonight’s Lenten dinner!
Oh, my goodness! You have almost made my lifelong dessert dream: Caramel River Bars from scratch! Amazing.
These look incredible, this is one of my favourite combinations of flavours and I have been so disappointed with other recipes suggesting shop-bought caramels (I refuse!) so thank you so much for suggesting a way to make them that works in this recipe. I will definitely be trying these very soon indeed (well, maybe I should make them post-wedding… I am trying to exercise some form of self-restraint at the moment, however unsuccessfully!). I would also like to say that I am very very excited about your cookbook being released in the UK at the end of this month, and thank you for “anglicising” it for us!
Wow!! These look incredible! I can’t wait to try this! :D
I made these brownies and they were incredible. My only concern while baking was that the caramel didn’t fully set and I put it in my chest freezer for an hour and a half. I scooped the half set caramel into the brownie mixture and it was still amazing. Is there a trick for making the caramel set? Did it need to be cooked longer?
Why oh why did I give up sugar for lent??
I do so love that whenever I have an “I want to bake but not leave the house” moment you always have something. Just pulled them out of the oven and had a “taste” ohmigosh heaven.
Holy mackerel these were amazing!! I am a super chocoholic and have tried a million brownie recipes but these were above and beyond. I nearly died every time I helped myself to another square (much to my husband’s amusement). I used Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Choc bar (a generous 3 ounces) and the mix of dark chocolate with the salty caramel was exquisite. I can’t recommend highly enough!! Thanks Deb!
I made these yesterday. My life will never be the same. Nor, I fear, will my waistline… but I’m strangely okay with that.
I recently discovered this blog & am totally hooked! I made these brownies for my boyfriend and me last night. As soon as I saw them the other day I could not take my mind off of them and even though I try to bake more ‘waist friendly’ desserts I decided to give in & indulge a bit with these! While the brownies were absolutely delicious, my caramel did not keep its form quite the way yours did so they are not as picture perfect. I used light cream though instead of heavy cream, maybe that is why? I also made shakshuka (one of my favorite things to make!) last night and used a combination of your recipe & 2 other Israeli cookbooks- I added eggplant & sprinkled goat cheese. AMAZING!
These are in my oven with 10 minutes left and I’m dying to bite into them. I may even have to make another batch of those salted caramel candies while waiting because they’re just too good. Thank you for coming up with this recipe Deb!
I scaled these up six-fold for a work function, and baked them in two 11×14 sheet cake pans for 35m. Came out great!
I made these for friends lsat night. They were a big hit, but I think I overcooked them a little. They didn’t look nearly as pretty as yours!
Wow, they look delicious! Definitely book marking the recipe for my next baking session x
I’ve made these twice and both times something went wrong (not that prevented us from eating all of them but…). Both times, there was so much air in them that they bubbled up and looked like (my husband’s words) “brains.” They had more of a souffle like texture. Any idea what I did wrong?!
I just wanted to say I love your recipes, pictures, and blog. I first came to your site when I found your pink lady cake, and have made a few of your creations. I made these brownies the day after your post. They were the BEST brownies I have ever put in my mouth. They also got rave reviews at work. I have never tried my hand at homemade caramel. Your instructions made it a breeze. I love the bite that the sea salt gave and will definitely be making these again. I have every intention of purchasing your book, but will cross my fingers I get it from my hubbs for my birthday. Please, keep making delectable easy to follow recipes and taking beautiful photos.
ps. I LOVE the name Smitten Kitchen.
Looks delicious. I add bacon to mine. Which I admit is kind of overkill. But good overkill..
Hi! I just wanted to say that I absolutely LOVE your blog. First place I come to for good recipes. Second, I made these brownies this past weekend and they turned out phenomenal, literally gone in less then 30 minutes good. I just wanted to give you a small tip to making the caramel. A dry caramel cooks more evenly and faster if you melt the sugar a little at a time, should start off even by heating your pot on the stove with nothing in it to help even more, then start off by melting one tablespoon until its nice and amber then add a little more until its all melted. You get no lumps of sugar in half the time!
After making 4 batches of the carmel, I noticed a couple of things: #1-med-high heat on my electric stove is way too hot (sooo- I notched it down to between medium- medium low) It also depended on what pot size I used and, which burner (large or small).
#2 – I was forever having sugar crystals – some harder than othersand, some refusing to melt. (sooo – I began by adding a small bit of water to the sugar – making it desolve (the water burns off as it boils) and, the sugar bubbles to a great caramel color. As well, I learnt to not stir the sugar once it began to bubble.
This looks great. Wow! That looks amazing:)
Deb, I have made so many of your recipes and this is the best one yet! I made a second batch for my husbands birthday ( per his request) and they have been quite the hit.Although we may need to visit the dentist if we keep making these ;)
Deb: Oh, my! These caramel brownies look outrageously delish! I bet that they are quite gooey. Ok, ok!!! Just the idea makes me drool.
And no HFCS!
These look amazing. I like to add other flavors to my caramel too like ginger or cinnamon. Of course salted caramel is so mouth watering. I can’t wait to try these.
OMG These look amazing!! I know what I am doing this afternoon!!! YUM!!
Made them last week…despite an annoying sugar burn, they were awesome!
Ok, so I too was craving a temp on the caramel. Friend made them, said they were awesome but that the caramel sort of incorporated when baked. This reminded me of Lebowitz’ dulce de leche brownies for me- tasty but not like the photos.
I tried these anyway.
Wasnt sure about the caramel. Barely firmed. Unable to cut.
In the process of waiting to add it, the brownie mix without the flour cooled substantially. Finally added the flour and with a sticky mess and knife and fingers scraped up globs of caramel and plopped them into the batter already in the pan- could not see mixing this mess in the bowl!
They came out exactly as your photo. Firm to cut from freezer. Then oozing onto plate as they came to temp. Sarah(ironically) at post #470 similarly cooled the batter and had good results. I checked the comments after i made them to double check if i had missed any tips, so I might think about cooling the batter!
Thanks- very yum!!!
My significant other made these for me a few weeks back and surprised me with them. I shared the link on Facebook and said I had to make them. haha It was SO nice that someone cooked for me for once. Thanks so much for this recipe! They are DElicious!
I made these on Friday for a girl’s night–what a hit! Everyone loved them, including a couple of girls who almost never eat desserts. This is the third brownie recipe I’ve made from the smitten kitchen, and I know that I’ll be memorizing this one too!
I found the caramel to be surprisingly easy to make; I’m definitely going to try your other caramel recipes! (I burned the first batch, but that’s because I was trying to make sure it was “cooked enough” as per some comments. The second caramel batch I made, I cooked it about 3.5 minutes after adding butter and etc. and it turned out beautifully).
Addressing the difficulties some people had with the caramel melting in their brownies: I cut my caramel into about 3/4 inch square chunks. That worked out really well. I set the small edge bits aside to be eaten alone, and those went quickly too!
Since I didn’t have unsweetened chocolate, I made the brownies with 64 % cacao and reduced the sugar to around 160g (roughly 3/4 C) like in some of your other brownie recipes, and that worked very well.
Hey Deb! I made these brownies last night. They were AWESOME! Thank you for the lovely recipe.
I made these brownies for a party, and everyone present was OBSESSED. This really might be the best brownie recipe I’ve ever made! Thank you!
I saw this recipe and literally thought about it for two weeks until I caved in and made it. The photos are food porn! The first time I burned the caramel because the heat was too high. I immediately tried again and got it right. This is by far the easiest, tastiest, brownie recipe I’ve ever made. Thank you for sharing. You taught me how to make salted caramel and for that I am eternally grateful.
I read *all* of the small print in hopes of trying to find the beginning of your blog, the first recipe to grace cyberspace, with no success. Can you please share? Then I could read your posts in chronological order which has become something I would very much like to do.
Thank you, and apologies if I there’s an obvious answer to my request.
Lita44 — Here are the archives: http://smittenkitchen.com/archives/ I keep forgetting to add the link to the sidebar.
I have but one word for this, Guuh!
Then followed by drool.
I made this just last night, but used dollops of salted caramel cream instead. Yum. But I’ll definitely try making the caramel from scratch next time. :)
For those having trouble with the caramel and requesting a temperature- I also had trouble with the caramel, so I worked this out:
I prefer to make a caramel with water because it’s more forgiving, so I started with the 1/2 cup of sugar and added a 1/4 cup of water. Melt the sugar like normal (the water will boil off, takes a little while), and wait until it’s caramel colored. Stir in butter, salt and cream (it’s bubble up a lot, be careful), and then return to heat. Bring back to a boil and cook until a candy thermometer reads 234-235 degrees. This is right on the edge of soft ball and hard ball, an produces a nice gooey caramel that still somewhat holds its shape.
TL:DR; Cook the caramel to 234-235 degrees and you should have no problems.
Yum! These look amazing!
I followed this recipe and got crunchy toffee instead of chewy caramel. Any ideas where I might have gone wrong? Did I forget a spoonful of cream? Cooked too long?
Just an update. I ended up breaking the brittle caramel up and mixing it in the brownies just to see how it’d turn out. During the bake, it re-melted the sugar and seems that I drew in some of the moisture from the batter. The final product is kind of like a soft sticky toffee embedded in brownies, with a little bit of brittle crunch here and there. It’s actually a happy accident.
Yum! This looks great!
I am at my wit’s end–I have tried to make this three times and cannot keep the caramel from solidifying when I add the butter and sugar. My most successful effort (which still had lots of chunks) was when, after reading tons of other caramel recipes online, I tried to stir the sugar as little as possible when melting, and also warmed the cream and butter before adding it. But again–I still had lots of chunks that I had to strain out and didn’t have enough caramel as a result. What else could I possibly be doing wrong??
tara — There’s no harm in the caramel re-solidifying. It will always melt again, given enough heat and time. You can break up any bits and stir a lot to hasten this along.
and PS. the caramel I did get from my most successful effort didn’t freeze up even after over an hour in the freezer! help.
I forgot to mention that reading the fine print in the “About/FAQ” was really useful, interesting, and entertaining. None of that should have surprised me, given your consistently engaging and charming writing! I think your readers would enjoy – and benefit from – spending some time there. Thanks again!
Tried these last night.
The caramel didn’t turn out just as the recipe’s but I still used it. These brownies were awesome! Making a second batch now. ;-)
Made these last week, and although they didn’t look just like yours as the caramel on top had sunken in, and I didn’t have defined caramel globs inside they were still delicious. I suspect it was a combination of having them too close to the top of the oven, and in my impatience (actually greed) the caramels were still a bit gooey when I put them into the batter, even though they’d been in the freezer for ages.
Made these tonight and they came out perfectly. The folded in caramel is just brilliant. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe! I am definitely adding this one to my brownie rotation.
A quick note to those having trouble with the caramel…
Try melting the sugar at a lower temperature. This will yield a more golden colour as the sugar doesn’t burn when melting it at higher temperatures.
I have also observed that doing it this way also allows it to freeze more in a more firmly, making it easier to chop.
On previous attempts at this, I melted the sugar on a higher temperature. The caramel was darker, and would melt almost as soon as I opened the freezer.
Hope this helps!
I made these this weekend for St. Patrick’s Day. I doubled the recipe, but otherwise followed it to the letter and they turned out decadently delish! I used a shamrock cookie cutter and served them warm with ice cream. Great tip to freeze them for a bit. It made it much easier and cleaner when cutting shapes. Everyone gobbled them up….thanks!
Ok, caramel to 237F, take off heat, topped out at 240F. Thanks Laura.
Would hold back some butter next time, heat to 240f then stop it with the butter.
I poured the batter into the pan, then plopped the caramel on top and pushed some in deeper than others resulting in every piece having fab oozy caramel…
Came out perfectly- somewhere between oozy and holding onto the brownie.
Was a big hit, of course. thanks Deb.
I add bourbon to all things chocolate and/or caramel… So certainly did to both parts here. Never get complaints :-)
Help! I have now made these brownies three times (no apologies). BUT I can never get the caramel to harden. At first I thought it was my freezer, but I have just moved and made them again and after nearly 3 hours in my new freezer the caramel was still soft. What am I doing wrong? I use whatever cream I have in the fridge (either 18 or 35% mf) and that doesn’t seem to make a difference. Am I not getting the caramel to a high enough temperature? Any ideas would be most appreciated… Thanks!
Made my caramel this morning so it’ll be nicely frozen in time for me to bake the brownies when I get home in a couple of hours, wish me luck!
Please, for the people that tried this recipe : Once the brownies cool off completely or the day after they were made, does the caramel get hard again in the brownies? Or do we have to microwave them everytime to get the gooey texture back?
I tried this recipe and my caramel was very soft, even though it was in the freezer for more than 30 minutes. When I went to cut the brownie, I saw that all the caramel pieces had sunk to the bottom of the pan…making it like a brownie flan…
I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one suffering from pantless preschooler syndrome.
I have tried for years and years to successfully make caramel, and felt incredibly accomplished recently when I finally mastered the salted butter caramel sauce you posted back in 2008(http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/10/paris-a-deep-dark-salted-butter-caramel-sauce/). I made it to go along with some deliciously rich red wine chocolate souffles and the the next day, microwaved (don’t be horrified until you try it), it was the gooiest, most delicious hot-fudge-caramel-brownie-dessert I’ve ever tasted (http://adventuresoftinygirl.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/red-wine-chocolate-souffls-with-salted-caramel-sauce/). That being said, these brownies have now entered into my realm of awareness and I must make them immediately!
I made these last week… I’ve already made them again since. Oh deary me.
I made these for my office, and they were a major hit! I think next time I make them, I will take your advice and make the caramel very solid. It was still pretty soft when I folded it into the batter, and I had the problem that a lot of people are having where the caramel just sinks to the bottom and doesn’t create delicious pockets of melty goodness.
These were of course, amazing. I was a bit too impatient and didn’t let the caramel set for long enough so it kind of sunk to the bottom. Making them again though just so I can rectify this mistake :)
I made these and they were amazing, amazing, amazing!!!! Added 2 Tbsp of cocoa to make them a richer, and more salt to the caramel which I recommend doing. But these are by far the BEST brownies I have ever made. Oh Deb…
A solution for all of you who have been experiencing sinking caramel:
I have made these brownies 4 times now. The first time I didn’t let my caramel harden enough and it was a sticky mess to work with. The second time I let it harden longer and then chopped it up and folded it in. I found that the chunks stuck together in the batter and formed a few large pockets of caramel. The third and forth times I tried a different approach. I used a circular baking dish: line it with the parchment paper and pour the caramel in. Put the circular tin and a plate the same diameter into the freezer, and freeze it until the caramel is hard. Peel caramel off parchment paper and put back in the freezer on the plate. Re-line the circular tin with the same paper and spread half the brownie batter on the bottom. Take the caramel off the plate from the freezer and put on top of bottom brownie layer. Spread the rest of the batter on top, and, voila, caramel pocket across the entire brownie that doesn’t sink. By far the best sandwich I’ve ever had!
Kids wanted a quick Saturday night treat. Not wanting to take the time to make my own caramel I did the next best thing and used the Costco caramels. They are the best store bought caramels. We couldn’t help eating a few straight from the wrapper. Easy to unwrap and cut in half, created the perfect caramel pockets. Best caramel brownies ever.
First time commenter here.
My friend tried these and had the sinking/dissolving caramel issue (still very tasty brownies), but she also had a fair bit of spare caramel – more than she could demolish – which wound up in my freezer. I decided to use it in place of the chocolate hazelnut filling in some babkas* (http://www.gourmettraveller.com.au/chocolate-and-hazelnut-babka.htm), with some fresh macadamias, and the result was excellent. The salted caramel stayed a defined swirl in the centre, probably because of the more fibrous nature of a yeast dough.
Just in case anyone else is left with more salted caramel than they can really eat on its own, even though it is so delicious.
*Any non-Aussies using this, go by the weights, our cups are a different size to most other countries’ I think. Having said that, it’s a fairly forgiving recipe – I accidentally doubled the butter (who actually reads the method?), and just wound up with flakier-than-intended loaves. Not really such a terrible thing =)
Hi. my name is tessa. my best firend is kim and we have a baking blog to. we are 10 and live in amsterdam. our blog is in dutch so you may not be able to read it. my mom is from america and rites the recpt at the bottom so my grandmother can see what we make.
i like your blog and we want to make this recept. what is unsweetened chocolate? Is that like pure chocolate? the dark kind? I thik all our chocolate is sweet. Can we still make the carmel brownies?
sorry if my spelling is wrong. I dont rite in english much and my mom is making me do this myself.
Thank you for helping.
Tessa en Kim
Hi Tessa — If you cannot find unsweetened chocolate (it looks like regular chocolate but has no sugar in it — it’s no fun to eat at all), try using the least sweet/most bitter chocolate you can find and dialing back the sugar by a spoonful or two. Enjoy!
I made these and have the same problem with them sinking to the bottom, making them difficult to take off paper.. They tasted amazing but I would really love them to have the pockets of caramel. My caramel was just as you advised..should I let batter cool or coat caramel in flour. Dont know what I did wrong but really want to make these for a family occasion.
recently got your book and its so lovely !
I have semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate in my pantry, which one should i use?
Cassidy — Bittersweet is less sweet, but this recipe calls for unsweetened (or 99% chocolate), if you can find it.
Oh my, my oh my!
I made these last night and oh my goodness! I’ve gotten so many compliments on them! I’d say 9 out 10 people said they were the best brownie they’d ever had! This will be my new “go to” brownie recipe for sure!
Can I make this the caramel candies a day or two ahead of when I would make the brownies?
Aileen — Yes.
These are now a staple in our house and are the “go to” hostess gift I take to dinners, teas, brunches, everywhere. I have never had a problem with the caramel and sometimes I even make it a day ahead of time, wrap it up and FREEZE it overnight to add to the batter I make the next day. I just take the caramel out of the freezer and hit it (on a cutting board) with the side of a meat tenderizer until it is the size chunks I like. Always a hit (no pun intended)!!! Thank you!, thank you!
Any chance you might post the caramel temperature? Still hoping to be able to make them without the caramel sinking to the bottom again… Thanks!
such a delicious recipe!! thanks for sharing, pictures of my attempt are here http://abimakes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/salted-caramel-brownies.html
Made these for a second time last night, and I just have to say that I’m in love. These are the best brownies I’ve ever had, and I *love* brownies. They’re always so moist and gooey! The first time I made them, I took them to my roller derby league’s end of the season picnic… they were gone within 10 min.
Tip for caramel that won’t harden: Transfer the caramel and parchment paper onto a plate and into the microwave. Microwave on high in 20 second increments until it begins bubbling and turns a shade darker. Then transfer the caramel back into the freezer to set. This worked like a charm.
I made these and loved them! Even though I suck at baking.
Here’s my humorous attempt: http://bit.ly/14JCLfC
Thanks for a great blog.
I first made these for a co-worker’s birthday in May. I made them again for Mother’s Day. They have been requested four more times in less than two months. I’d mark this recipe as a great success in our family.
Hello! I made these yesterday and they were delicious! I had a problem with the caramel not getting firm enough. I left it in the freezer for two hours and it was still really gooey and baked into the brownie batter. Though the bits on top stayed separated. Any suggestions? Maybe I didn’t cook the caramel long enough? I did not have heavy cream and used half & half instead, could that have been it? SO GOOD!
Is there a specific temperature to cook the caramel at?
I couldn’t wait for the perfect temp for the caramels — just made these again (3x now) … the caramel took 2.5 hours at flash-freeze to get semi-hard, i.e. hard enough to make little balls of it; it never got hard enough to “cut” into cubes… I waited til the brownies had been in the oven 15 minutes before putting the last 1/3 of the caramel balls/bits on the top … Then cooled and froze the finished brownies (an hour in the freezer once they were completely cooled) .. cut into perfect little hearts… lots of little squares… and a whole batch of scraps that we’re planning on mixing into the chocolate truffle ice cream we’re making this weekend. The brownies are amazing — and this time the caramel puddled enough that they look and taste gorgeous!
I made these this morning to send to my daughter who is away at camp. I made the caramel last night and in 30 minutes in the freezer it was hard enough to cut. I cut into squares and left in the fridge overnight on a silpat so they wouldn’t stick to anything. Made the brownie batter this morning and added the caramel. They wanted to stick together in the warm batter, but I separated them with a spoon and popped the pan in the oven. Yum! The caramel is even good enough to eat by itself. I sprinkled the top with salt instead of incorporating it into the caramel and they are delicious!
These are seriously the BEST brownies I have made. Ever. And I have searched forever for a great, foolproof recipe. I have made these three times in the last month for different people and each time, I am begged for the recipe and have my praises sung. I refer them to your recipe and tell them to praise and be thankful for you and this amazing recipe :)
These are so delicious! I’m going to double them
because they didn’t even last the night. The first time I made them
Though I overcooked the caramel. Do you have a temp you bring the caramel too? It’s hard to go by color.
I have made these a dozen times and decided my vegan friend needed to try them (favorite brownies!). So I replaced the butter in the caramel with earth balance, the cream with coconut cream, the eggs with flax eggs, and the butter in the brownies with coconut oil. The caramel seemed fine, but when I put it all together and into the oven- 30 min later it was a bubbling mess. The caramel or coconut oil separated from the brownie and it just did not work. I tried baking it a little longer and then cooling, but still just awful (layer of liquid on top and brownies below chewy and not delicious). If anyone has made these vegan, I would love to hear how they did it!!
I’m planning to make these, how long do these keep for?
Yil-Huei — Several days, unless your family finds out you’re hoarding them. You can keep the longer in the fridge and for months in the freezer.
I made these brownies last week but had a problem with the caramel.
I followed the recipe and put it in the freezer, but after more than an hour, it did not solidify, nor it was liquid, but somewhere in the middle.
I ended up adding it to the brownies as it was, and stirring it in.
Any tip why it did not solidify?
Just made these, they were excellent! Thank you.
I made these brownies this weekend, and they were delicious! Like several other commenters, though, my experience with the caramel is that is was brittle when I took it out of the freezer, and shattered and cracked when I tried to cut it. While the end results were still pleasing, I’m curious about this development. I’d never made caramel before; did I cook it on the stovetop too long? Or did I freeze it too long? If like to make these again, but I’m not sure what to do to change the results: I though I’d followed the recipe exactly.
Heather — Just froze it too long. If you could take it out of the freezer a few minutes sooner next time, you’ll be able to choose what size pieces you cut it into. But, once it’s baked, it won’t make any difference how cold the caramel got.
I made these last night….this morning after being in the fridge all night are even better! I like a real salty sweet combo so I put sea salt on top, man is this good! The only thing for me was, I think while putting my toothpick into the brownies I was hitting caramel so I didn’t think they were done! I might have baked them 10-15 too long but I am not sure!! Because they were still so good and not hard or anything so I think I might have cooked them just right?! So instead of 30 minutes I had them in 40-45 minutes. But these will be made again! I’m 21 and starting my baking hobby heavily and I thank you for this recipe!
Perfect! The most decadent treat I have had in a while. Made them for my husband’s birthday. I live in Israel where salted caramel is still unknown (no SC icecream, vodka, etc…)so it has been really fun to introduce these to friends!
I have been meaning to try these for so long. Just pulled them out of the oven and they look so good. Just drizzled and swriled the salted caramel over the top :) Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe!
I just made these and they are outstanding! They are also extremely dangerous. I have already had two and it is taking all of my will power not to go back and have another. Thanks for an amazing recipe!
I love these brownies, but like others, every time I make them the caramel dissolves into the batter. Have you figured out a fix for this?
hi..can i use unsweetened cocoa powder instead of unsweetened chocolate bar for the brownies??
theresa — It doesn’t work the same, however, there are websites that will walk you through making an equivalent substitution if you’re eager to try it instead.
So. Incredibly. Good. Made these the other night for company and 4 adults and 4 small children polished off this entire batch. We did not intend to, but resistance was futile.
These were the hit of the Super Bowl party I went to yesterday! I had tried making the caramel with sugar-in-the-raw, which was a bad idea. It melted and burned very quickly. My second attempt with granulated sugar was successful. I think my caramel chunks were little small and may have disappeared in the brownies a bit, but they were so delicious, it didn’t matter.
Hi Deb! I made these last week and loved them. I want to make them for a gluten-intolerant friend – given there’s only 85g of flour in these, could I just leave it out, or do I need to substitute with a different type of flour? Hope you can help!
I made these gluten free for Valentine’s Day, using Cup 4 Cup and they turned out perfect!
Hi Deb! Can I pour the liquid caramel on a plate covered with buttered foil? I don’t have any parchment paper..
Laura — Yes, that would be fine. You could also just butter the plate. But a thin lining makes it easier to slide the whole thing off to chop it up.
Thanks Christina! I ended up using a gluten free flour mix (Dove Farm – UK) as you suggested and they turned out great :)
These are amazing! The caramel is perfectly gooey (which is to say a little) and the brownie is quite good for being chocolate based (my holy grail is Deb’s “Best Cocoa Brownies”. I find most brownie recipes to just be ok in terms of chocolate flavor.
If you’re thinking about making these, do, they’re easy and taste divine! These freeze beautifully (as do the best cocoa brownies) and are good straight out of the freezer or slightly thawed as it firms up the texture. Room temp they have a great texture as well. Make em!
First: Delicious! Just as good as I imagined them to be. But,
Second: What am I doing wrong with caramel-making? It took WAY more than 5 minutes for the sugar to liquidize. It hung out instead in this crumbly weird stage for a long time, until I jacked the heat way past “medium-high”. And then, it was grainy. Inside the brownies, of course, all sins are forgiven, but I wish I could get the hang of caramels. THey are simplicity itself in terms of ingredients, but I am apparently executing them horribly wrong.
Finally: Thanks! for the great recipe.
I’d like to thank you very much for this recipe which I made yesterday with my mum: we both loved these adorable and super tasty brownies! If I may, I’d suggest to make salted caramel more than 2 hours before the cake: this probably means my freezer is even more terrible than yours! :D
Clearly, I’m the only person with this issue, but I don’t see how you melt the sugar for caramel. I’ve read through everything twice and I don’t see water in the recipe. I ruined about two batches thinking that butter replaced it for the syrup. Thanks!
Anna — It’s the second paragraph, first line. The first paragraph begins with “Make caramel…”
i wanted these to work so badly! it took me 3 attempts to get the caramel right (1st one burnt, 2nd one seized up, 3rd was good but i think i slightly undercooked?). since my caramel was so soft (even after an hour and a half in freezer), it melted into the brownies like others have said. i even waited until 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time to put the pieces on top, and they pretty much melted in too. the end result is TASTY, but not what i was hoping for. my brownies also turned out a little greasy. i realize they are moist and gooey and i love all that, but they are downright greasy on the bottom. maybe butter in the pan next time instead of spray oil?
These are insane. I made them exactly as written and then proceeded to make them 4 more times in the past month. I even won a baking competition with them! (Fear not– Deb got all the credit.) I cut the sugar in the brownies a bit and actually preferred them that way. Also had success doubling the recipe in a 9×13″ pan. I can’t recommend them highly enough! And they make a killer grown up brownie sundae with vanilla gelato!
So I tried making these today, and they were pretty amazing. I can’t believe I actually made caramel – I’ve never done that before – and the brownies themselves and absolutely incredible.
My only slight problem is that the caramel still seems a bit hard even in the baked brownies, at least in spots, which makes me wonder if I messed up making it… it did seem a bit clumpier than your pictures. Any thoughts on what I can do better next time? Because the flavors are just too perfect for words.
Made these insane brownies for Game Night at a friend’s place. I usually print out the recipes because I make my own notes keep it on the side while baking. The recipe was wildly passed around and someone even took it home to make them.
I just had one big problem. The parchment was a big fail. Everything stuck to it. By that I mean the caramel and the cake. I did not butter the parchment for the caramel – silly me. The texture was perfect unlike what some people say about it being too hard. Mine was chewy and incredible. I buttered the parchment generously for the cake but the cake stuck to it miserably. Did I do something wrong by allowing the cake to cool inside the pan in the fridge before unmoulding it? Does the heat help the cake slide off easier? Needless to say we were all in the kitchen picking bits off the paper and licking our fingers madly.
Thanks again for such a genius recipe. Would like to try it again without the messy parchment problem. I also prefer buttering and dusting my pans with flour – old school I know, but foolproof! Can I try that method instead of the parchment?
Safrina — I’m sorry you had trouble with the recipe. What kind of parchment did you use? I have found that… some brands… are kind of terrible and this might be more of a parchment failing if it stuck. I usually use one that comes in a brown box with the very passive-aggressive name If You Care and it’s very good.
So happy to finally be making these, my gorgeous chocolate caramel heavens are currently cooking in the oven giving off the most irresistible aroma… Think my dad will polish these off as soon as they come out :)
May I suggest using a walled container for freezing the caramel? As an occasionally accident-prone individual, I easily managed to spill a fair amount of caramel all over the contents of the freezer… whoops…
But maybe it was just not my day.
I love your recipes! Mwah!
I’ve made these brownies lots of times, it’s one of my favorites! This past time the caramel turned into toffee- any idea why?
Hi I made these twice, the first time the caramel went the second time I cooked the caramel (after the cream has been added) to “firm ball” 250 F on the candy thermometer. I then refroze the caramel after I cut it. Some of it survived and was wonderful and liquidy, some of it melted away to a cavity so maybe keep the chunks large? I actually added the caramel to the spiced brownie recipe and its really good!
I love the sound of this recipe, but I do like the more traditional method with the carmel covering the top of the brownie. Any recommendations on how I might do that with this recipe?? thanks!
They look delicious!
I’ve made this recipe 3 times and there’s something really wrong with the brownie portion. Though the toothpick comes out completely clean, these brownies always turn out as heavy, gluey sludge. Delicious heavy, gluey sludge, but even for a fudgey brownie these come out looking underdone.
I’m sorry it hasn’t been working out. As the base recipe is the same as my go-to brownie, which isn’t exceedingly (just the right amount, or so I like to think) fudgy, I think this has more to do with the caramel melting into the brownies, making them heavier and stickier. It’s a really over-the-top recipe. Does baking them longer help?
Really frustrating to plow through 631 posts to try to find out whether it’s alright to double the recipe and bake in an 8×16″ … Guess I’ll try it and see what happens. Must be a better way ….
Esmee — You can double the recipe. I have never seen an 8×16 before, but I double them in a 9×13 often. They’re just a tiny bit thicker.
This is a family favourite, I have made them at least a dozen times and everyone raves every time! However, the first 3 times the caramel turned out perfectly, easy to cut and keep “separate” in the brownie batter. The following 9-10 times however, it just didn’t solidify – left it in the freezer for a full hour, but it is still a gooey mess! The end result is still yummy, but I would love to have the perfect caramel again! Any idea what I might be doing wrong? I have tried cooking the sugar longer, cooking it longer once it’s all mixed together, measuring everything 3X to make sure it’s correct, etc. . . help!
Do you think this same caramel method (freezing the caramel and then placing it on top of the dough to cook) would also work with cookies (your intensely chocolate sables, for example)?
Hm… I feel like it could work with a chocolate chip or other thicker drop cookie (although, it would be gooey and messy, but that’s perhaps the point) however I don’t think I’d use it for the sables, where the goal is that they should be thin and crisp.
i looked through the comments but couldn’t see someone who had made them, so i went ahead and did it.
they taste beautiful, but i did have a bit of trouble, when you’re mixing the melted sugar with the butter it clumped immediately, and did not dissolve till i put it back on the stove, the caramel melted quite fast, making it difficult to put the little squares into the batter, and on top of it. and the salted taste is not very prominent.
other than those minor difficulties which probably were just because I’m not experienced, it was surprisingly easy, and completely delicious, I’m taking them on my youth summer camp and the teenagers will go crazy for them :)
Hi! I’ve made this a few times and the brownie batter always absorbs the caramels on top, any way to prevent this? I want the caramels to stay intact and gooey.
so when you use the heart shaped cutter – what do you do with the leftover non heart part? is this a dumb question?
We have a potluck at the office today so I made these last night (breaking the cardinal rule of not trying something new last minute). I’ve had terrible results trying to make caramel from scratch before but I was feeling daring. I doubled the recipe since it was for more people and several commenters here said that wasn’t a problem.
I decided to make the caramel several hours in advance. I burnt my first batch of sugar before I even got to the caramel stage (I was trying to go by time and walked away from the cooking sugar) and then panicked and poured the burnt sugar in the sink so I spent half an hour trying to chip/rinse that out. The second batch I stood and stirred religiously but it went brown super fast anyway (and I was using a good Calphalon pot too). I took it off the heat and added the rest of the ingredients but never put it back on the heat because I was afraid it would get too dark.
At around 10:30 I settled in to make the rest. (One doesn’t bake brownies with an awake 6yr old in the house unless one plans to share.) The brownie recipe was a no brainer – not a single problem making that so I went to the freezer to retrieve my caramel. It looked great and thanks to a liberal spray of PAM, came right off the parchment. But it was melty! I could barely cut it, it oozed back together and I wound up stretching strands like melted mozzarella cheese to get my squares apart. I’m guessing that was due to the omission of the second cooking. I was really afraid it would dissolve in my brownies but I was at the point of no return so I went for it. I covered the entire inside of my 9×11 with buttered parchment paper since I was going to be cutting these up to serve anyway.
The brownies needed to cook longer than the recipe said – at 30mins they were still wet. Probably due to the doubling so I kept a close eye on them and took them out closer to 40mins in. They looked perfect! I sprinkled some malden sea salt flakes on top and left them to cool overnight.
This morning, with great trepidation, I took them out of the pan and cut them into boring squares (ok so I’m geometrically challenged, they were more like rhombuses when I was done cutting) I cut away the edges to try to even them out (Ok, really so that I could try them.) They are AWESOME! Gooey with caramel, chocolaty but not painfully sweet – I LOVE them, THANK YOU!!! Next time I would probably make a little more caramel and make sure to get a full layer on the top because it looks really cool on there but otherwise, this is a total keeper Great work!!!!
I love most of Deb’s recipes, but I won’t make this again. I had a hankering for a half size brownie of the turtle variety, so I made these. I did sub fancy caramels from Christmas for the homemade ones. They were high quality but pretty hard, and they baked up just right – strongly chewy nuggets inside. On top after baking, I scattered chips, pecans, and homemade caramel drizzle. That part was all great. The brownies themselves were just average. Cakey consistency, not especially chocolatey or sweet, and way too thin – only 1/2″ or so. Ehh, Brooke’s best Bombshell are still my go to brownie. I can just turtle those up when needed.
caramel on my fingers. caramel in my hair. caramel even somehow on my elbow. don’t ask me how.
i guess what i am trying to say is – caramel is tricky and I TASTE AMAZING.
I have never commented on a recipe before, anywhere, but had to here. Made these for hubby for V-Day…Best. Brownies. Ever!!! Love your blog and cookbook! Can’t wait for the next one. And congrats on the pending arrival!
These are in the oven now and I can’t wait to give them a try. My caramel bits weren’t as set as yours (more freezer time would have solved that), which I suspect will mean they’ll melt a bit more into the mixture.. but I’m ok with that. Can’t wait!
Made these but i may have either put too much salt or i didnt mix it right probably a bit of both
Made it today, loved it. Caramel didn’t harden in the freezer even after couple of hours. It was done in 25 minutes in my oven.
I have some salted caramel left over from a different recipe. Do you think I can use that and freeze it and it would work the same even though I’ve had it in a jar for a little while?
Hi made these a couple of days ago. Great flavour but the caramel once out of the freezer became soft and gooey. Any reason ?
PV — It shouldn’t be a total mess, but it was intended not to be a solid block of caramel in the brownies, but something that would stretch out a little (as it does in the photos).
I just made these again for about the 10th time. I LOVE this recipe so much, and s does everyone else that eats them!! :)
these brownies were not chewy or fudgy which was a bit of a disappointment, but they still turned out pretty great. Instead, they were very cakey/crumbly and were more like melt-in-your mouth brownies. And the addition of the salted caramel was definitely amazing!
I’m making homemade samoa cookies for my husband’s birthday, but substituting the store bought caramels for the caramel in this brownie recipe! Which also happens to be my go-to dessert when we are invited somewhere and never disappoints.
PS. I once forgot the flour (Whoops!) when making two batches of these at the same time and they were still delicious for anyone going gluten free and wanting to enjoy.
I have made this recipe many times over the last year or two making a few changes:
1. I double the batch size and use a glass 10 x 13 pan. It gives me twice the output for about the same amount of work. You can always freeze the extras as they keep well frozen.
2. The caramel comes out more repeatably when I monitor the temperature with a candy thermometer cooking it to 245 F. I triple the caramel and keep the extra unused portion in the fridge for when I need a little lift. (Again, a tad more work for a marginal output gain.)
3. I find the batter difficult to spread with the chunks of caramel in it. Thus, I pour/spread the batter without the caramel and then press the caramel chunks into it. I follow up by respreading the batter over the caramel.
These are amazing! Thanks.
I agree the batter was difficult to spread with the caramel chunks in it. I ended up fishing through the batter to make sure the caramel was still evenly spread. I will definitely use the layering technique next time. Thanks!
These look amazing! I wanna try them tomorrow, but since I live in Germany I cannot find vanilla extract in the supermarkets. So, can I substitute vanilla extract with vanilla sugar or something else? Thank you so much!
Am i the only one that found this recipe confusing/hard to follow? How can i melt the sugar if i don’t add water to it first? how much do i add if i do? what if the sugar doesn’t turn brown, should i keep cooking it down? i did mine & it just hardened into an awful mess.
LR — Water is not required to melt sugar, or make a caramel. That’s just one method. I find this, the “dry” method of caramel easier because you don’t have to do pesky thinks like brush the sides down with a wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization. The sugar will brown, usually by the time it’s all melted it’s a nice brown color, if not, keep it on and it will be soon enough. Hardening once it’s done is just fine, but it if happens before you get it out of the pot, just rewarm it to loosen it again.
I really wish people would only comment if they ACTUALLY MADE IT. It’s really difficult to sift through comments of people droning on and on about “how good they look” when they are going off a website pictures and haven’t even taken the time to try out the recipe. I’m going to be honest, I’ve never much been a brownie fan but I thought I would try these as they DO look amazing but sadly, another disappointment. The batter is too bitter even after I added additional sugar, the cocoa bitterness bleeds through. I also was a little disappointed that somehow my caramel that I sprinkled on top just created these sad little sinkholes after I took it out of the oven. Sorry, I am not impressed with the recipe.
Greeting from Tasmania Deb!
I’ve made these beauties many times, and they’ve turned out perfectly each and every time! I’m making them again as a thank-you present for a mad whiskey enthusiast, and was hoping to turn them into whiskey caramel brownies! I rooted around the internet for a recipe, but judging by the comments, they mostly lack a whiskey flavour. I was wondering if the best way would be to make a wet caramel with some whiskey and then evaporate it, or if you had any other ideas? I also wondered about what would happen if I boiled it down, a lá your apple cider caramels..
P.S. Thanks for being my go to for fool-proof deliciousness :)
I think you have the right idea. You could also swirl a tablespoon in at the end of the caramel, where the flavor would remain more potent.
My caramel was in the freezer for a while but never really solidified so that it got very gooey once I chopped it. Brownies are in the oven now and I’m sure they’ll be heavenly.
I had the same problem! I think maybe I didn’t cook the caramel long enough?
8 by 8? Doesn’t seem like many brownies! 😢
Incredible recipe… Just made it, the fudge is awesome and the brownie soooo chocolatey :) Thanks, Deb, once again for a rainy afternoon recipe tha makes your hose shine!
I made this but couldn’t get the caramel to solidify, even after it had been in the freezer for well over an hour. Thoughts on how I could get that to work better next time? Thank you!
I made these this afternoon. My caramel came out a little soft as well but it’s because I didn’t have heavy cream and I substituted with half and half. What I ended up doing is just swirling in the thickened caramel into the batter. Worked great!
Thanks for a great recipe!
These are SO GOOD, and so much easier than I thought they would be to make. Many moons ago before I had discovered you and your blog, I tried several caramel brownie recipes. I was left disappointed by the results, never getting the true brownie and globs of caramel I desired… until now.
Thank you for adding this irresistible brownie to my repatoire. These will be made for years to come :)
I made these once for a sort of potluck at my husbands air force group. They loved them so much and have become addicted to them, requesting me to make them every month. These brownies have become legendary there.
As far as caramel not hardening enough, this happened to me once when using a different brand of butter (unfortunately, I can’t remember the brand…), but it hardens very nicely when using Kerrygold or Plugra or similar. I’m not sure if it’s because other brands of butter sticks may substitute some cream with oil? And the small amount of oil substitute may keep the caramel from hardening completely. Regardless, these brownies are amazing!!! The best brownies I’ve ever had.
Let me me start with this: I do not cook. I bake, occasionally, but not often enough to be even moderately proficient in the art. I have never made caramel or brownies, let alone caramel brownies. But when I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen’s Instagram a few months back, I knew I couldn’t rest until I gave it a shot. Like other reviewers note, my caramel did not freeze completely. In fact, when I tried to cut it, it got all gooey and I was forced to form it into the small pillow-shaped morsels in the photos by hand. That’s when I tasted one, and it was so delicious I had to resist eating it all without making the brownies. Thank goodness I was able to show some self-restraint, because the finished product was something that dreams are made of. The caramel on top melted into little rivers of caramel that spilled over the brownie when bitten. On the inside, the caramel had melted enough to disguise itself but had not fully absorbed into the batter, just enough so that the lucky person eating it got a delicious surprise mid-bite. These brownies have reinvigorated my love and motivation to bake, and changed my life forever!
These are in the oven right now! Super easy, no troubles along the way.I realise now I’m rereading that I’ve used a 54% slightly sweetened dark chocolate and I wish I had double checked it before using (as I had an 85% as well). I will update if it’s made a terrible difference….
Otherwise, thanks Deb, I’m bringing these as a last minute New Years Eve dessert and it took hardly any time to whip up!
UPDATE: They were still lovely (and everyone enjoyed them) but not at all chocolatey tasting so definitely don’t make the same mistake I did!
I unintentionally burned the caramel a bit when I made these tonight. Amazing. Here’s to happy accidents!
This was a very easy recipe. I had no problem with the caramel firming up and the brownies were moist and very flavorful. However I found them bit too sweet, personally. I will definitely make them again but will probably dial back the sugar in the batter to somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 cup.