Citrus Caramel Blondies

This is from Food and Wine’s America’s Greatest Cooks. I liked the idea of it and made the recipe as is for my first try, but then I doubled it and made it in a larger pan and I thought it was much better. The caramel is very simple and easy to make and I think the key is to let it cool down to room temperature before you use it.
Citrus Caramel Bars
Caramel

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt (see Note)

Blondies

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Make the caramel In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of water and bring to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil the syrup over moderately high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the cream, butter and Maldon sea salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.

Make the blondies Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray an 8-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the pan with parchment paper, allowing 1 inch of overhang on 2 opposite sides; spray the paper. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the kosher salt and baking powder. In a medium bowl, whisk the butter with the brown sugar until combined, then whisk in the eggs and orange zest. Add the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.

Make the blondies Spread the batter in the prepared pan in an even layer. Drizzle the caramel over the top, then swirl it decoratively using a toothpick. Bake the blondie for 25 to 30 minutes, until it is golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely. Lift the blondie out by the overhanging parchment and peel off the paper. Cut into bars and serve.

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