As someone who thinks about food almost constantly and someone who also has a great memory (a trait Ben does not always find endearing, by the way), it is only natural that I remember most of my friends’ individual food preferences.  I seem to have a catalog in my mind with each friend and their likes, dislikes, etc.  Several months ago I was at a get together and someone brought salted brownies from Trader Joes.  My friend Andrea (who also happens to be the wonderful wife of my fab art director Ryan) was all about those brownies and asked me to recreate them.  I filed that request away in the catalog and waited for just the right brownie recipe, and then the perfect opportunity to make them.

Last weekend for the first time in what seems like forever, and in truth what has been at least three or four months, we had a weekend with zero plans and zero commitments.  I checked to see what Ryan and Andrea were up to and the next thing we knew, we were enjoying the sunny weather while the kids played in with the sprinkler, slip n’ slide, and water table.  (And these sweet peeps with this handsome little man joined us as well.  This kid is too cute for words.)  Due to the short notice, my options for contributions to the menu were limited but I was able to bring a layered mediterranean dip and these brownies for dessert.

Now as much as I love sweet and salty desserts, those Trader Joes brownies were tooo salty for me, so I was pretty nervous about these.  There is salt in the caramel, in the brownie itself, and then sprinkled on top (mixed with a bit of coarse sugar).  Thankfully I found these to have that perfect balance, and everyone else seemed to agree.  We were semi-jokingly fighting for leftovers.  The caramel sauce is layered with the brownie batter but rather than form a distinct layer, it seeps into the batter to produce a super fudgy brownie infused with caramel undertones.  These are a great choice to bring to a casual get together – a universally loved treat with a touch of sophistication to set them apart from the boxed variety.


For the caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • ½ cup heavy cream, slightly warmed
  • 1 tsp. fleur de sel
  • ¼ cup sour cream

For the brownies:

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 11 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Splash of Kahlua (optional)


  • 1 tsp. fleur de sel, to finish
  • 1 tsp. coarse sugar, to finish


  • 01

    To make the caramel sauce, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes deep amber in color and reaches 350˚ F on a candy thermometer.  Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour in the cream in a steady stream down the side of the pan, whisking constantly to incorporate before adding more.  Once all the cream has been incorporated, stir in the fleur de sel and sour cream.  Set aside to cool while you prepare the brownie batter.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line a 9 x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper or lightly greased foil.  In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and cocoa powder.  Whisk to blend well.  In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter.  Microwave in short intervals (about 30-35 seconds), stirring in between, until everything is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Whisk in the sugars and then the eggs.  Whisk in the vanilla and Kahlua, if using.  Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined and no streaks remain.

  • 03

    Spread about half of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula.  Drizzle the caramel over the top in an even layer.  Top with the remaining brownie batter, smoothing gently over the caramel and completely covering it.  Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.  Remove to a wire rack and let cool.  Combine the fleur de sel and coarse sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle about half of it over the top of the brownies.  Add the remainder to taste.  Let cool completely before slicing and serving.  Pawn off on friends to prevent binging.
  • thestuffedflamingo

    These look super yummy! thanks for sharing annie!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Yes, please! Love the sound of these! And their so dark and dreamy looking :)

  • Cat

    This looks AMAZING. I can’t wait to make them for my friend’s birthday!

  • Ellen

    Hi Annie! There’s something wrong with the caramel recipe- your instructions call for water, but there is not amount listed on the ingredient list…can you clarify? It’s also a bit confusing because there is both heavy cream and sour cream, but you just refer to “cream” in the instructions- which cream is it? Thanks!

  • Looks amazing!


  • Oooooh, want these!

  • These look amazing!

  • Emilie

    YUM. I haven’t had the ones from Trader Joe’s but I think I’ll just skip immediately to the step where I make my own :)

  • mayalaurent

    Oh yum Annie! Might have to try these for the long weekend. I like the Trader Joe’s ones but agree…way too salty. Wonderful that you got to see and hang out those two wonderful couples and their kiddos! :)

  • I love this post not only for the brownies but for the slip n slide mention. I had completely forgotten about that!! Anyhoo, these look absolutely delicious!


  • Sarah

    Ha, I love the last tip – should be completely directed at me! Yum!

  • Lauren Ochoa

    Oh wow! As someone who loves all salty/sweet combinations, these are going on the short list. I’m pretty sure I will need to bring them to work so I don’t feel tempted to eat the whole pan.

  • annieseats

    Both the sour cream and cream are listed in the instructions. Sorry about the water – I’ve corrected that.

  • Oh look… these are made with everything I keep on hand anyway. This is going to be dangerous.

    Good thing we have a couple get-togethers this weekend.

  • These sound like the best brownies ever – and I love the deep color that Dutch-process cocoa gives them! I have a pool party coming up, I may just have to bring these along!

  • Anything salted caramel will get me right away! These brownies look divine, and it was the worst thing for my wedding diet, seeing your photo on FB last night! Talk about midnight cravings… :)

  • UrbanWife

    Anything salted caramel + chocolate is okay in my books! These look amazing. I need to make them over the weekend.

  • I love pretty much anything with salted caramel and chocolate!

  • omg. those look ahhhhhhhhhmazing. love it!

  • You had me at “salted caramel” or wait, was it “brownie”??? I can just imagine how good these are and plan on making them over the long holiday weekend. Loved the Charleston posts and am so glad you are constantly experimenting in the kitchen – we, novices, reap the benefits.

  • You had me at salted caramel. I love the layer baked into these brownies – sticky, gooey heaven.

  • Andrea Hunley

    I am still dreaming about these…I can almost taste their salty-gooey goodness looking at these photos. I’m going to make them for our family memorial day cookout today- can’t wait. (Hopefully I’ll redeem myself from the Mexican Chocolate Brownies fiasco 5 years ago…. I replaced the tsp of Cayenne with a Tbsp and they won’t let me live it down.) Thanks for being a great friend with a great memory!

  • arenda

    Hee hee hee, I love your writing, Annie, especially your little comments like “a trait Ben does not always find endearing.” :) This is a little late, but congratulations on your 5 year blog anniversary! My husband and I throw your name around like you’re a dear friend (“Is this recipe from Annie?”) and your recipes find their way into our home a minimum of once a week and are consistently loved for their deliciousness. Thank you! :)

  • Susan in England

    I made these this afternoon and they are fantastic! My only issue was that my caramel sauce was very runny so I had to ‘blob’ on the top brownie layer rather than spread it but this was probably because I am away from home so have no sugar thermometer! Also my kids really wanted to eat the caramel sauce so I think I’ll need to make a double batch next time so there’s some left over for them.

  • pat1645

    Could there possibly be a better recipe for brownies?? I think not. Oh my, these would be dangerous at our house, unless we had plenty of people to share them with. Love this recipe!!

  • annieseats

    Aw, thank you :) That is very sweet.

  • annieseats

    OMG, too funny! I bet those had a little heat to them :) Thanks for being awesome and eating brownies with me.

  • Aimee

    This photo is stunningly beautiful. I can’t wait to try the recipe!

  • Too funny…we must be thinking alike as I made a dessert with salted caramel in it this afternoon:)

  • Seg_azul

    These brownies look soooo delicious! I really have to try them. But I’m from Portugal and use metric units, and I always have trouble with american and british units. Could you please tell how much volume is in a “cup”? Is it 240ml or 250ml? Thank you! And congratulations on your wonderfull blog.

  • These look so good! As if brownies weren’t good enough on their own, you added the salted caramel! I’m dreaming of all the ice cream possibilities to put on top of these! Yum!

  • Mary

    Made these today. They are absolutely amazing! Unfortunately I had never made caramel before, I don’t have a candy thermometer and I burned the first batch. Easily fixed it with a new batch and the finished product was enjoyed by all!!

  • Margarita Conde

    Hi Annie! I made this brownies yesterday for my birthday. They were a hit!… But I had a problem with the caramel, that it was too runny so the brownies ended too wet. I never have luck with the caramel! Do you have any step by step with pictures? I look for it but couldn’t find it…
    Thanks a lot for all these great recipes that you share with us!!!

  • These sound amazing! I can’t wait to make some!

  • elocin83

    These brownies look so tasty.
    I’m sorry, for my (stupid?) question, but I’m from Germany: Do you know how much “1 stick Butter” is? Because I have no glue, how to measure “1 cup Butter”. Should I melt it first or should I cut it in 1inch pieces and then fill it in a cup to measure?

  • annieseats

    Please see the conversion chart in the right side bar. Do not melt and measure by volume. Thanks!

  • annieseats

    No step-by-step photos here. Caramel can be tricky but the keys are a good quality saucepan and candy thermometer.

  • annieseats

    You could Google to find that information. Good luck!

  • Amanda

    Annie, first I just have to tell you that I absolutely love your blob and any recipes I follow turn out fantastic! These brownies are no exception. I made them the other day and my guests were raving and practically fighting over them. Some even secretly tucked some away to take home before they were gone. I am a veterinarian and look forward to starting a family one day soon; following your blob, seeing all you do is such inspiration. Thanks :)

  • Cat Madgett

    I tired these on the weekend and they were great! Although I had to bake mine for another 10 minutes and even then they were still a tad on the gooey side in the centre which was fine for a certain few brownie lovers in my family.

    Becasue of the caramel layer are you supposed to get a clean toothpick when testing for doneness?

  • annieseats

    I don’t generally use a toothpick test on brownies since they should be gooey/fudgy.

  • Jess

    These are absolutely delicious! I had the same issue with the brownie batter being heavier than the caramel, and had to bake them for an additional 10-15 minutes, but they were unbelievable – rave reviews!

  • elocin83

    Thank you very much. Shame on me, I didn’t recognize it before.

  • I need these right now! How delicous looking!

  • Amanda

    These were amazing! I made them the day they were posted… Our guests ate them before dinner was served!

  • Laura Perkins

    These sound SO yummy!! Two of my favorite ingredients; chocolate & caramel.

  • YUM!!! These sound (and look) so delicious. Thank you for sharing!

  • Baker RN

    Oh my gosh…so good! The caramel sauce has now turned into my go to caramel. I did have to cook it an additional 10-15 minutes. Well worth the wait. Kudos on this one!

  • ashleysydneynicoleandlainey

    So amazing!!! Instead of fleur de sel I used kosher salt and it turned out just fine!!! Now I need to make these with my fellow bakers!!! Oh, and also, I used powdered sugar instead of coarse sugar and it turned out fine!! Thank you!

  • Jen

    Hi, just wanted to let you know that the pictures links are down or broken.
    These sound good–I’m making them for a teacher luncheon next week.

  • annieseats

    I know :( Flickr is making some changes and it messed up a HUGE number of my pics. It’s been consuming a lot of my time fixing all of them, and I’m not done yet. Hopefully soon….

  • Laura H

    Do you have a preference between the two different types of caramel brownies on your blog?

  • Annie

    Both are great but I tend to make these most often because I always have the ingredients on hand and they don’t require the premade caramel candies for the filling.

  • Laura H

    Thanks! I made them and they are sooo delicious!