These are as good as they look, if not better.
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/4 cups sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 8 pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate , chopped (I like Ghirardelli, chips are fine.)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (3 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs , room temperature
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup chopped pecans (about 2 3/4 ounces)
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
25 pecan halves (about 1 1/2 ounces), toasted
1. TO MAKE THE CARAMEL: Combine cream and salt in small bowl; stir well to dissolve salt. Combine water, corn syrup, and sugar in saucepan. Cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat; cook, covered and without stirring, until sugar is completely dissolved and liquid is clear, 3 to 5 -minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, without stirring, until bubbles show faint golden color, 3 to 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook (swirling occasionally) until caramel is light amber and registers about 360 degrees on candy or instant-read thermometer, 1 to 3 minutes longer. Remove saucepan from heat and carefully add cream to center of pan; stir with whisk or spatula (mixture will bubble and steam vigorously) until cream is fully incorporated and bubbling subsides. Stir in butter and vanilla until combined; transfer caramel to microwaveable measuring cup or bowl and set aside.
2. TO MAKE THE BROWNIES: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch-square baking pan with nonstick foil, extending up two sides. Spray foil with cooking spray.
3. Melt butter and chocolates in microwave for two minutes or until the butter is melted. Stir until smooth and combined; set aside to cool slightly. Meanwhile, whisk together flour and baking powder in small bowl; set aside. When chocolate has cooled slightly, add sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla and whisk until incorporated. Add flour mixture; stir with rubber spatula until almost combined. Add chopped pecans and chocolate chips (if using); mix until incorporated and no flour streaks remain.
4. Distribute half of brownie batter in prepared baking pan, spreading in even layer. Drizzle scant 1/4 cup caramel over batter. Drop remaining batter in large mounds over caramel layer; spread evenly and into corners of pan with rubber spatula. Drizzle additional scant 1/4 cup caramel over top. Using tip of butter knife, swirl caramel and batter. Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached (be aware that you may hit a pocket of caramel, making it appear that the brownies are underbaked), 35 to 40 minutes. Cool brownies in pan on wire rack to room temperature, about 1 1/2 hours.
5. Heat remaining caramel (you should have about 3/4 cup) in microwave until warm and pourable but still thick (do not boil), 45 to 60 seconds, stirring once or twice; pour caramel over brownies. Using spatula, spread caramel to cover surface. Refrigerate brownies, uncovered, at least 2 hours.
6. Using foil extensions, lift brownies from baking pan, loosening sides with paring knife, if needed. Peel away and discard foil. Using chef’s knife, cut brownies into 25 evenly sized squares. Press a pecan half onto surface of each brownie. Serve at room temperature.