In my house, it always comes down to brownies. Need a quick dessert? Make brownies. What do the kids want me to bring to school? Brownies. What is the only thing that will truly satisfy my chocolate craving? Brownies. Seriously, they fit almost every need I have when it comes to sweets.
There are lots of ways to flavor brownies, and most of them are pretty simple. For mint brownies, stick a layer of peppermint patties in the middle. For richer brownies, add a tablespoon of instant espresso powder to the batter. Chocolate chips or peanut butter chips (or both) always taste amazing when tossed in at the last minute. The possibilities are nearly endless.
My latest favorite brownie flavor has been salted caramel. It is as simple as stirring salted caramel sauce right into the prepared batter. I mean, seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than that.
While they bake, the caramel is sucked into the batter so it is like a thin ribbon that weaves its way through all of the chocolate. I prefer this to having a big heap of hot caramel stuck only the middle of each brownie. Plus, it reduces the risk of me burning my mouth on hot caramel when I eat them straight out of the pan just seconds after they’ve come out the oven. (Yes, this happens. Don’t judge!)
Here is my go-to brownie recipe, but don’t fret. If you don’t want to make them from scratch, you can use a box mix and stir the caramel sauce in as directed. I won’t tell!
RECIPE: Salted Caramel Brownies
Yields about 12 brownies
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup salted caramel sauce (or 1/4 cup caramel sauce with 1 teaspoon fine sea salt stirred in)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the inside of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan and set aside.
Place the butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and melt on high in 30-second bursts until the butter is melted. Stir together until smooth and glossy. Stir in the sugar, followed by the eggs and vanilla, until smooth. Fold in the flour and salt until the flour is just incorporated and no longer visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the batter. Use a butter knife to lightly swirl the caramel sauce into the batter. Do not overstir, because you want the caramel to make visible streaks in the brownies.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or just until a cake tester comes out clean and the top is set. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan for at least an hour; they will firm up as they cool. Slice and serve.