Before I learned to cook and bake from scratch, I was a “box baker.”  I made a mean box of brownies, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and a layer of raspberry preserves (my mom’s favorite) and angel food cake with a rum chocolate-whipped cream frosting (my grandmother’s recipe and my favorite childhood birthday cake).

Somewhere down the road I started making brownies from scratch and after trying many recipes settled on the base you see below as my standby. It’s so good, it stayed as by standby when I gave up eating wheat as it adapted well with gluten-free flour.

When my friend, Lisa D, asked if I had a recipe for Caramel-Sea Salt Brownies for the cookbook project that we’re working on together, I responded “not now, but I will.” So I started with the gluten-free version of these brownies and adapted a caramel  that I’ve used in a few other desserts. I covered the brownies in the caramel rather than just a simple drizzle as I wanted to make sure the caramel didn’t get lost. The key to both the chocolate and caramel parts of this recipe is using good salt – coarse sea salt for the brownie base (it’s makes the chocolate even better) and flaky sea salt sprinkled generously atop the caramel.

While I used gluten-free flour in this recipe, it is just as good with regular all-purpose flour (same quantity).

These little bites would make a great addition to a New Year’s Eve dessert table.

Caramel-Sea Salt Brownies (Gluten-Free)


Caramel-Sea Salt Brownies (Gluten-Free)
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons water
  • coarse or flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9”x13" glass baking dish with foil, pressing firmly into pan and leaving a 2" overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray; set baking dish aside.
  2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave. Let cool slightly.
  3. Whisk sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium bowl to combine.
  4. Pour butter in a steady stream into dry ingredients, whisking constantly to blend.
  5. Whisk in vanilla.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition.
  7. Add flour and stir until just combined (do not overmix).
  8. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
  9. Bake until top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-40 minutes.
  10. While brownies are baking: In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine heavy cream, butter, brown sugar, and water. Stir over medium heat until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 240°F, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  11. Carefully pour caramel over hot brownies (just out of the oven).
  12. Sprinkle with coarse or flaky sea salt.
  13. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cool completely in pan. (They will not cut well if still warm.)
  14. Using foil overhang, lift brownies out of pan; transfer to a cutting board and cut into 32 squares.
* Cup4Cup Multipurose Flour is my go-to gluten-free flour.
* Recipe can be cut in half and baked in an 8"x8" pan.


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2018-01-02T15:04:12+00:00 December 28th, 2017|Categories: Desserts|Tags: , , , , , , |2 Comments


  1. David December 29, 2017 at 11:51 pm - Reply

    Why wait till New Year’s Eve! I have all the ingredients to make them tomorrow! Thanks – any leftovers will go to the students on Tuesday! Happy New Year!

    • Nicole January 2, 2018 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      David – How wonderful! Sounds like a winning combination. Happy New Year to you and Mark!

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