3/4cupchocolate chips I prefer milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate
1/2cupvegetable or canola oil
2teaspoonspure vanilla extract
25unwrapped caramel candies**
2tablespoonsheavy cream or half & half
6unwrapped caramel candies**
1tablespoonheavy cream or half & half
flaky sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 square pan* with foil or parchment paper, leaving a couple inches of overhang on two sides (this will allow you to lift the whole tray of brownies out of the pan for easy removal). Lightly grease the foil/parchment.
In a large bowl combine cocoa powder, sugar, salt, flour, espresso powder, and chocolate chips. Whisk until combined. Add eggs, oil, water, and vanilla and stir with a rubber spatula until combined (it will be fairly thick).
Scoop half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
Place 25 unwrapped caramels and 2 tablespoons cream in a microwave safe bowl. Cook in 20-30 second increments, stirring occasionally, until the caramels are melted and completely smooth. Pour the caramel sauce evenly over the brownie batter in the pan.
Add the remaining brownie batter on top of the caramel. I drop spoonfuls of batter all around the pan, then carefully press/spread it into an even layer.
Bake for 35-42 minutes, until the brownies are baked through, but still fudgy. Be careful not to over bake. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes before proceeding with the topping.
Microwave caramels and cream until melted and smooth. After the brownies have cooled for 30 minutes, drizzle the topping over the whole pan of brownies, then immediately sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Allow the brownies to finish cooling completely on the cooling rack.
* The brownies pictured were baked in an 8x8 square pan. You can also use a 9x9, just note that the brownies and filling will be slightly thinner. Also, you will need to reduce the bake time by 5-10 minutes. **I purchased one 11-oz bag of Kraft individually wrapped caramel candies (on the baking aisle). You will not need the whole bag of caramels. You can store these at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I recommend warming individual servings in the microwave for a few seconds right before serving. They are best served slightly warm when they are extra fudgy and gooey (as pictured)! You'll most likely want to serve them on a plate with a fork. The colder these are, the firmer they will be.