These brownies are rich, decadent, thick, and deeply chocolatey bites of happy.
The first time we ever had one was also the first time a birthday “cake” was sent to us from across the country. We weren’t expecting a home-baked treat and wow; what a treat!
They arrived and hardly lasted until the party (we had to make sure they survived the journey! What kind of hosts would we be otherwise?). If you're ever thinking of mailing someone food as a surprise, do it. Don't even think about it! It was such a delightful surprise! The batter, in all its forms, is worth a taste and nearly impossible to avoid as there’s so much tempting time while it cools. If you aren’t squeamish about a little raw egg or flour, have a tasting spoon ready!
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces + 6 ounces Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
4 medium or large eggs
1½ tablespoons instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 to 6 ounces good caramel sauce, such as Fran’s
2 to 3 teaspoons flaked sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Butter and flour a 9 x 12 x 1½ baking pan.
Set up a double boiler (see note).
Melt butter, 8 ounces of the chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate together, stirring to blend and combine.
Remove bowl from heat and cool for 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) the eggs, coffee, vanilla, and sugar together.
Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and cool to room temperature.
Sift together ½ cup of the flour, the baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Add dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture.
Toss the remaining 6 ounces of chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl and add them into chocolate mixture.
Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don’t overbake!
Warm the caramel so it’s just pourable. You can do this in the microwave (remove the lid first!) or by submerging the jar in hot water and stirring to distribute the warmer sides into the cooler middle. Stir until smooth.
Ribbon the caramel over the hot brownies and sprinkle with the sea salt.
Cool completely. If you’ve lost caramel definition, you can add more now that the brownies are cool.
Cut and serve. Ina’s original recipe suggests this makes 12 bars, but I’ve found that to be too much and cut them smaller. You know you and your crowd so cut to taste and enjoy!
The eggs from our farmer’s market are often smaller than what we get at the store. Ina calls for 3 extra large eggs so I used four of our smaller ones. The Kitchn has a great egg guide resource here.
Double boilers are similar to but different from a bain-maries. More on that here.
A double boiler is an indirect way of adding heat to your ingredients. Although they are sold in stores, I create one by using a pot with a few inches of simmering water with a glass bowl placed on top. Don’t let the water touch the bottom of the bowl (then you’d have direct heat). Be careful when lifting the bowl; the escaping steam can singe your fingers. I typically use a larger bowl (so that my fingers are farther from the lip of the pot) and pot holders.
If freezing the brownies, cut them first.