Made with rich, dark chocolate, these luscious layered brownies beautifully combine salty and sweet. It also comes with its very own story. While enlisting more taste testers for the recipes in this cookbook, we naturally thought of John Norton, a trusted friend who is notorious for his sweet tooth. After consuming half a pan of these brownies, he came up with the “system”—we now fly a red flag off the porch to signal when he is to stop and sample on his way home from work!
To prepare caramel sauce, combine 3⁄4 cup granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan; cook over medium-high heat 7 to 8 minutes or until mixture is amber colored, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; add half-and-half, stirring with a whisk until blended (mixture will bubble). Stir in salt.
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare brownie batter, weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, cocoa, and next 4 ingredients (through ½ teaspoon sea salt) in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk.
Combine butter and bittersweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring every 30 seconds. Add 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Gradually add flour mixture, stirring until moist.
Spread half of batter into an 8-inch square metal baking pan coated with cooking spray; pour caramel sauce over batter in pan. Drop remaining batter by tablespoonfuls onto caramel sauce; swirl gently with tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until brownies are set. Cool completely on a wire rack.