Fudgy Salted Caramel Brownies

So.

Can we talk for a moment about things that are sweet? And salty? At the same time?!

Because if I ruled the world, I think that all food in life would encompass these two qualities.

I kinda sorta maybe definitely love food that is both sweet and salty at the same time. It's like a crazy tastebud overload, brining the best of both worlds together. Just take my pretzel crusted brownies. Or salted chocolate glazed blondies. Or cranberry topped brie. Or roasted grape & goat cheese bites, carmelized potato & parsnip tart, peanut butter & jelly bars. Just to name a few.

So when I found a recipe for Salted Caramel Brownies in an issue of Cooking Light, I of course tore it out and added it to my recipe binder. I was just waiting for the right time to make them. When I found out that it was Lindsay's birthday, I thought a sweet & salty, yet lightened up, brownie would make a great treat to send out to her. So make them I did.

These seriously came together in a snap. They were so easy. No mixer, no beating. Just a big bowl and a wooden spoon. Even the caramel topping was incredibly simple. I highly recommend that you make these. Immediately.

Fudgy Salted Caramel Brownies
*Adapted from Cooking Light, circa September 2011
for the brownies
3/4 C all-purpose flour
1 C granulated sugar
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 C packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
cooking spray

for the caramel topping
1/4 C butter
1/4 C packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp fat-free evaporated milk*
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 C confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp kosher or other coarse salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9" or 8x8" pan with foil, leaving some overhang so that the entire thing can be lifted out of the pan after baking and coat with cooking spray. Note: for thicker brownies, use the smaller pan. I only had a 13x9" pan on hand, so mine were very thin...but I liked them that way!

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, brown sugar and baking powder in a mixing bowl, stirring to incorporate. In another small bowl, mix the butter, eggs and vanilla. Add butter mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour into pan.

Bake for 12-15 minutes for a 13x9" pan, or 19 minutes for an 8x8" pan, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely in pan.

Once cooled, make the caramel topping!

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add sugar and evaporated milk and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and confectioners sugar until smooth. Pour over the brownies. Sprinkle with kosher or other coarse salt. Let set, cut into squares and eat many of them.

*Ok it sucks to open a whole can of evaporated milk to only use 1 1/2 Tbsp. So you should probably find something else to use with it quickly after. Or throw the rest away, like I ended up doing. Sorry environment.

So there you have it. A little sweet and salty treat for you! Hope you enjoy!

Do you like sweet and salty things?