Ok. I know that I just harped on how light food is perfect for this time of year. But then I was assigned these brownies in a swap with my friends, and, ummmm, I didn't have any choice but to make them. Right? And I didn't have any choice but to eat all of them, right? Oh god, THIS must be why I was 15 pounds heavier when I went to visit the doctor. Drat! BUT, think about Valentine's Day next month. These brownies are so ridiculously fudgy and delicious that they will melt the heart of your love or your want-to-be love. And the salt makes a huge difference in the balance of flavors. There isn't a huge caramel flavor, but I didn't mind a bit, and I bet you won't either!
Salted Caramel Brownies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 14oz semisweet chocolate chips 3oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped 3 extra-large eggs 1 ½ tablespoon instant coffee granules (optional) 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar ½ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour, divided 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon kosher salt 5 to 6oz good caramel sauce 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt (I just used sea salt)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 baking pan with tinfoil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour about an inch of water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and place a mixing bowl over (but not touching) the simmering water. Place the butter, 8 ounces of the semisweet chocolate chips and chopped unsweetened chocolate in the bowl, and melt, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the eggs, coffee granules, sugar and vanilla. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and stir to combine. Cool to room temperature.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine ½ cup of the flour, baking powder and kosher salt. Stir with a spoon, then sift over the egg/chocolate mixture. Stir to combine.
In a small bowl, toss the remaining 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour with the remaining 6 ounces of the semisweet chocolate chips. Stir into the brownie batter. Scrape the batter into the baking pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. As soon as the brownies come out of the oven, heat the caramel sauce in a microwave-safe container just until warm enough to pour. Drizzle over the top of the brownies, then sprinkle with the sea salt flakes. Let cool to room temperature, then cut into 1.5x1.5-inch squares.