Q: How do you make brownies even better? A: Stuff ’em with salted caramel. Guilty pleasure? Yep. Caramel Brownies are not for people with a conscience!
Caramel + brownies in itself isn’t an original idea and if you do a Google search, you’ll find plenty of examples. And I would have used an existing recipe if I found what I was after, but every recipe I came across:
1. Used store-bought caramel;
2. The caramel was runny, more like a caramel sauce, usually drizzled on top of the brownie; or
3. Required a candy thermometer to get the caramel to the exact temperature so it would soft set, rather than ending up runny OR cooking it too far so it ends up like hard toffee.
All I wanted was a creamy layer of caramel inside, and no thanks to the candy thermometer.
What goes in Caramel Brownies
Here’s what you need for the brownie part – nothing ground-breaking here:
And here’s what you need for the creamy caramel. The key ingredient here is sweetened condensed milk, which is cooked on a low stove until it changes from white to pale golden ➔ ie. caramel!
Golden syrup is a little cheat ingredient to give the caramel a little boost of extra caramel flavour without the caramel cooking for so long it becomes super-thick, like a peanut butter consistency. We need the caramel to be a pourable consistency so we can pour it over the brownie batter.
Golden syrup is a gold-coloured syrup that’s common in Australian and British baking. If you don’t have it, no need to fret, hunt it down or even bother making it – just use maple syrup instead, which works a treat.
How to make Caramel Brownies
Firstly, make the caramel part because this takes 7 minutes on the stove whereas the batter takes mere minutes:
- Melt butter in a saucepan with golden syrup or maple syrup and salt;
- Add sweetened condensed milk and mix until well-combined;
- Then cook, stirring very frequently, over low heat until it changes from white to a caramel colour. You can get away with only stirring occasionally for the first few minutes, but as you start to see steam, be sure to stir constantly – albeit leisurely – to ensure it doesn’t catch on the base.
If the caramel happens to catch on the base, you will end up with tiny little brown bits in the caramel. It might look like a big deal when it’s in the saucepan but don’t worry – once it’s baked up inside the brownie and you bite into it, you won’t even notice;
- Take it off the stove, then keep stirring for another 30 seconds just to cool it down a touch otherwise the residual heat in the saucepan might still make the caramel catch on the base.
Cover, then keep warm while you make the batter. It needs to be pourable when you use it.
And here’s how the Caramel Brownie is assembled:
- Firstly, make the Brownie batter. It’s very easy and all happens in one bowl. If you want visuals of the steps, pop over to my brownie recipe;
- Set aside a heaped ½-cup of the batter for the topping. Then pour the remainder into a 20cm/8″ square pan. A lamington pan will also work well, the slice is just a bit thinner than pictured;
- Pour the caramel over as evenly as you can. Note: If your caramel has cooled down to the point that it’s not pourable, just reheat it on a medium stove until it’s pourable again (this literally takes 1 minute). You can’t really spread the caramel because it sinks into the batter once poured. So where you pour is what you get!
- Dollop the reserved ½-cup of brownie batter across the top;
- Then swirl a butter knife across the surface a few times in large sweeping motions. This is not so much about creating swirl effects on the surface because they don’t really stay once baked, as you can see in Step 6. It’s more about sort-of spreading the brownie batter across the caramel; and
- Bake – 30 minutes for very-messy-hands-gooey, as pictured, or 35 minutes for sensible gooey.
And this is what comes out of the oven:
Well, actually, this:
It’s sweet. It’s rich. It’s indulgent. This one is not for the faint-hearted or “I’m-not-really-a-sweets-person” types! It is for die-hard chocolate and caramel lovers – and everyone out there who just feels they deserve a treat.
Wait – that includes you, my friend. Do it! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Salted Caramel-Stuffed Brownies
- 200g / 7oz unsalted butter
- 200g / 7oz dark chocolate / semi sweet chocolate chips (Note 1)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs , lightly whisked
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or essence)
- 1/2 cup flour , plain/all purpose
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 395g / 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tbsp golden syrup or maple syrup (Note 2)
- 60g / 2 oz unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all oven types).
- Butter and line a 20cm / 8" square tin with parchment / baking paper.
- Place the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Stir occasionally for the first 1 minute. When it is heated (ie. when you see wisps of steam), whisk constantly (leisurely, not vigorously!) for 7 minutes, ensuring the base doesn't catch (Note 3). It should be a pale golden colour.
- Remove from stove and whisk for 30 seconds. Place lid on, set aside and keep warm.
- Melt chocolate & butter: Place chocolate and butter in a bowl. Microwave in three 30 second bursts on high, stirring in between bursts, until melted and smooth.
- Add sugar, eggs, vanilla: Add the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture and mix well to combine.
- Add dry ingredients: Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix until smooth and combined.
- Reserve some batter: Measure out 1/2 cup of brownie batter and set aside. Pour the remaining batter into the prepared tin.
- Pour over caramel: Pour the Salted Caramel over the brownie batter, getting as much coverage as you can (as you can't easily spread the caramel once poured). If caramel has cooled and is no longer pourable, reheat it on stove for 1 minute until runny again.
- Cover with reserved brownie batter: Dollop the reserved 1/2 cup of brownie batter randomly over the Salted Caramel. Use a knife or skewer to make “swirls” – they won't be so visible once baked, it's more about spreading brownie batter over the caramel.
- Bake: Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes (for very gooey brownie, as pictured) to 35 minutes (for very moist but not super-gooey).
- Cool: Leave to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Use surplus paper overhang to lift out onto a cooling rack. Cool for a further 20 minutes before slicing. Note: Caramel is a bit gooey when still warm but sets firmer once fully cooled, ie. it will cut through neatly.
Originally published August 2015. Updated with brand new photos and video in January 2021 – about time!!
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