Brownies with Caramel Swirl and Sea Salt

Makes 16 brownies

This recipe makes a lot of batter, which results in deep brownies with crispy sides. At McMinnville’s Red Fox Bakery, they slice each pan into six slices, creating four corner pieces for those who love the edges and two middle pieces for those who don’t. However, these brownies are so sinfully rich, we cut the pieces much smaller.

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped into 1-inch pieces
6 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3-2/3 cups superfine sugar (1 pound, 9 ounces)
Pinch of kosher salt
4-1/3 cups cake flour (1 pound)
1 (11-ounce) jar thick caramel sauce (divided; we used Fran’s Classic Caramel Sauce; the sauce should be thick enough that it doesn’t pour out of the jar)
1-1/2 teaspoons flaked sea salt (divided; we used Maldon brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with a butter wrapper or nonstick cooking spray, and line with parchment paper or foil, leaving 2 inches extra on each end to use as handles when removing brownies from pan.

Melt chocolate and butter together over a double boiler. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

Place eggs, vanilla, sugar and salt in a stand mixer bowl. Using the whisk attachment, whip on high for 5 minutes or until the batter is thick and holds a ribbon when the beaters are lifted from the bowl. Remove from the mixer.

Gently sift the flour over the top of the egg mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour gently, avoiding pockets of white flour that will cause unsightly white dots in the brownies. Fold the chocolate mixture into the batter quickly, being sure to get all the way to the bottom of the bowl.

Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Drop half of the caramel sauce over the batter in dollops. Swirl into the batter. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt. Pour the remaining batter over the caramel and spoon the remaining caramel sauce in dollops over the top. Swirl into the batter and sprinkle the remaining teaspoon of flaked sea salt over the top.

Bake until the top has a thin, flaky layer, the sides begin to pull away from the pan, and it is slightly domed, about 50 to 60 minutes. A knife inserted in the center will come away with just a crumb or two.

Cool and refrigerate until set before attempting to cut. Best served at room temperature.

Laurie Furch, Red Fox Bakery, McMinnville, OR

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