Salted Caramel Crunch Brownies

salted caramel crunch brownies

Here’s what I can tell you: handing out these Salted Caramel Crunch Brownies to a room full of students at the beginning of your food blogging class (the very first class you’re teaching in your entire life) is a terrific ice breaker. You say the words salted caramel brownies and you’ll get a lot of “oh wow” and “yes please” and “omg” – none of that nonchalant “sure, okay” that you might elicit if you brought a veggie platter (with ranch dip).

Eating brownies at the beginning of class means you don’t have to awkwardly sit and try to avoid making eye contact with other people. You can smile at each other, but you might be paranoid of having fudgy brownie stuck in between you’re teeth so you’ll spend extra time running your tongue across your teeth to clean out any chocolate bits. You’ll be lucky that the caramel doesn’t stick to your hair this time. You’ll think that the brownies nudged everyone to be in a more pleasant mood, and you’ll be less nervous. You might even be tempted to hug people whom you just met for the first time.

(Sorry, peeps, if I were creepy and tried to hug you. Also I’m sorry if I talked too fast, I was just so excited!)

salted caramel brownies with rice crispies

So, yes, I brought brownies to a class I was teaching. No, it wasn’t to bribe the students. My co-teachers that night, Melanie from A Beautiful Bite and Debbie from A Little Bit About a Lot of Things, and I planned to bring snacks to class and of course I volunteered to bring dessert. Plus I had to get these brownies out of my house ASAP. Eating them straight out of my freezer was becoming a problem. You can’t blame me.

These brownies are INTENSE. Intensely dark and fudgy. Intensely salty. Intensely sticky. Intensely crunchy. Ridiculous.

caramelized brown rice clusters

I made my latest favorite brownie base – I used dark chocolate cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate, then amped it up with ground coffee, chocolate extract, and chunks of really good quality dark chocolate (Lindt Excellence 70%). Then I topped it with salted caramel – I bought a jar of my favorite salted caramel from Trader Joe’s but of course you can make your own. Then I took some of my favorite cereal, brown rice crisps, drenched that in more salted caramel, let it cool, chopped it into pieces, and then topped the brownies with it. There’s a lot of favorites in here.

I think I was a little heavy handed with the smoked sea salt – the caramel was salty enough as is – so you can decrease the amount if you like. Lately I just can’t get enough desserts sprinkled generously with smokey salt, such as these chocolate chip cookies or these dulce de leche cake balls. But here’s a little secret: if you force me to choose between brownies, cookies, and cake balls, brownies will always win.

caramel crunch brownies salted caramel brownies with crunch topping
Yield: 16 brownies

Salted Caramel Crunch Brownies

Ingredients

Brownies

1 1/4 sticks butter, softened
2 large eggs
3/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon chocolate extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks (I used Lindt 70% dark chocolate, chopped into little chunks)
1/4 cup salted caramel (I used Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel caramel sauce)

Caramelized Crunch Topping

1 cup brown rice crisps
1/4 cup salted caramel
2 teaspoons smoked sea salt (or any other coarse salt)

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Make the crunch topping first. Spread brown rice crisps in an even layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Warm up the salted caramel sauce by heating for 45 seconds in the microwave, and pour over brown rice crisps. Toss well and let cool.
  3. Make the brownies. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened butter, eggs, sugars, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, chocolate extract, and coffee. Mix well, then stir in flour and salt. Whisk together until smooth.
  4. Fold in dark chocolate chunks and mix gently until just combined.
  5. Spread brownie batter in a foil-lined buttered 8x8 pan. Bake 22-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in brownie comes out clean.
  6. Pour salted caramel sauce over brownie.
  7. Take caramelized rice crisps (it should be cooled and solid by now) and chop up into clusters or break apart with your hands. Place on top of caramel sauce, and sprinkle with smoked sea salt. Let brownie cool then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or freeze for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares.

If you don't have chocolate extract, just substitute with more vanilla extract.

salted caramel crunch brownie bar

Thanks to everyone who attended the BCAE class a couple of weeks ago and to friends who sent me all the good vibes! Thanks also to the student who compared me to a Kardashian (I hope you meant Kim? And that it was a compliment?)

Who else agrees that we should start all classes/all meetings with brownies??

   

40 Responses to “Salted Caramel Crunch Brownies”

  1. #
    1
    Sues posted October 6, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Mmm I can seriously imagine the flavors in these brownies right now and I would totally eat a few for breakfast!!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 6th, 2014 at 9:56 am

      It has brown rice crispies so that’s totally acceptable, even encouraged.

  2. #
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    Mike @TheIronYou posted October 6, 2014 at 9:50 am

    How many brownies would you trade for a jar of chocolate almond butter?
    :)

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 6th, 2014 at 9:56 am

      16! I mean 15… I’m serious so don’t tease me!

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    Chris @ Shared Appetite posted October 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Congrats on teaching your first ever class! And uhm… if I knew there were going to be these brownies involved, I would have signed up…. who cares if I would have to drive for hours and hours to get there?! These brownies are worth it!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks, Chris. If you drove for hours, you would definitely have gotten an extra brownie (or three) :)

  4. #
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    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) posted October 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    YEPP. YES. YESSSS these brownies are totally enough to make me become your new best friend! That salted caramel crunch topping is absolutely GENIUS!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Thanks girl! xo

  5. #
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    Michelle Lahey posted October 6, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    I would be way more happy to go to meetings if there were brownies there!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Right?? Or in general I would be happier to do anything if brownies were involved ;)

  6. #
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    Debbie posted October 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Those brownies were so DELISH!! Thanks for making them for the class! And I LOVE the salted caramel from Trader Joe’s – it’s my secret weapon!

  7. #
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    Meghan posted October 6, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Sounds so good, and I bet the class was amazing!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you, Meghan :)

  8. #
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    Lauren at Keep It Sweet posted October 7, 2014 at 7:35 am

    That salted crunchy topping sounds amazing on its own AND on brownies. Oh, and you were probably seen as the best teacher ever:-)

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      You are too sweet :) Thank you!

  9. #
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    Sharana @ Living The Sweet Life Blog posted October 7, 2014 at 9:36 am

    HOLY MOLY, MOTHER OF YUUMM … I think we have a winner… MMM… sounds so delicious :)

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks so much, Sharana!

  10. #
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    dixya | food, pleasure, and health posted October 7, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    i love classes that offers food..esp dessert. its a win win :)

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Thanks, Dixya! Win-win indeed :)

  11. #
    11
    Thalia @ butter and brioche posted October 7, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    These brownies look SO incredible. Think I could devour a couple right now.. especially loving that crunchy topping. Great recipe!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Thanks, Thalia! I definitely snacked on several bunches of that crunchy topping :)

  12. #
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    Shashi @ RunninSrilankan posted October 8, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I so wish I was in your food blogging class! Is it too late to sign up for next semester? ;) These look worth a drive up from Atlanta!

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Shashi, you are too sweet! Thank you. It was only a one-night class :)

  13. #
    13
    Monica posted October 8, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Okay, seriously, you’re the best teacher ever! How awesome of you to bring these ridiculously-amazing brownies to your class! I imagine it certainly put everyone in a happy mood – sugar and chocolate just does that! It looks amazing and very sweet of you to share. : )

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 8th, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you, Monica, for the kind words! It was my pleasure to bake and share the brownies :)

  14. #
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    PassTheKnife posted October 8, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    I’m sure these brownies were the perfect ice breaker! They sound amazing!

  15. #
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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar posted October 9, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Just how I like my brownies…with a big amount of crunch! These look awesome!

  16. #
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    Jenny @ BAKE posted October 9, 2014 at 6:24 am

    These look fantastic! I wish I had been in that class to get my hands on one!

  17. #
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    Joanne posted October 9, 2014 at 8:39 am

    You are SUCH A ROCKSTAR. These are pretty much: case in point.

  18. #
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    Choc Chip Uru posted October 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

    OMG can I just please take a leap into your gorgeous brownie batter and never come out? These brownies look super perfect for all occasions! :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  19. #
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    Tonia Larson posted October 9, 2014 at 9:45 am

    That looks like a fantastic combination!

  20. #
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    grace posted October 9, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    what a clever topping! i wouldn’t mind just eating it by itself, but it’s obviously better atop chocolate. :)

  21. #
    21
    BosGuy posted October 9, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Your office mates are the luckiest people in the world if you bring half these treats in.

  22. #
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    The Squishy Monster posted October 10, 2014 at 11:40 am

    You are the brownie queen!

  23. #
    23
    Ashley posted October 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Holy moly these look good! That topping!!! I just had a cookie and you have me wanting more dessert! haha

  24. #
    24
    Sacha posted October 12, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Yes, brownies DO always win. What lucky students you had!

  25. #
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    Jessica @ Sweet Menu posted October 17, 2014 at 2:32 am

    Oh MY! Its like all my favourite things rolled into one delicious dessert! These brownies look amazing!

  26. #
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    Chineka @ Savor The Baking posted October 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    These brownies look and sound delicious. The topping looks awesome.

  27. #
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    Molly Galler posted October 31, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    So fun that you brought these for your students. They look so incredibly delicious!

  28. #
    28
    Jessica @ Sweet Menu posted November 3, 2014 at 12:06 am

    That sounds like the BEST CLASS EVER! These brownies look INCREDIBLE!

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