Chocolate Caramel Brownie Bars

Chocolate, Caramel, Pecans. Sign me up!

My lovely sister is somewhat famous for making these delightful brownie type bars for parties. The recipe comes from someone she knew in junior high school and yet, some 30 plus years later, she is just now getting around to sharing it with me.

I would call “foul” if they weren’t so dang good.

They are oozy and gooey and chocolatey and caramely and EASY to make! You don’t need a mixer or any fancy equipment…just grab a big bowl and spoon and these can be yours.

Here’s what you need:

1 German Chocolate Cake Mix, Evaporated Milk*, Caramels, Chocolate Chips, Butter and Pecans.

Of course, the pecans are optional if you’re allergic or just weird about nuts.

*Secret hint – 1 can of Evaporated Milk is enough to make 2 batches of these bars so you might want to buy doubles of the other ingredients and make 2 pans. Trust me, they’re that good.

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Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Begin by unwrapping the caramels (I’m using a 14 ounce bag) and dropping them in a medium sauce pan.

Unwrapping all of these individual candies is a complete pain so you might need to eat one as you work just to carry you through the task.

Add 1/2 cup of the Evaporated Milk to the pan and melt the caramels over medium-low heat.

Once the caramels start to melt, you need to stir them constantly so that they don’t stick and burn. The whole melting/stirring process takes about 5 minutes.

Keep stirring to remove any lumps. Once the caramel has melted and is smooth, take it off the heat and set it aside.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. You can do this the old fashioned way with a little butter or Crisco on a paper towel…

be sure to get the sides and corners, then add a couple of spoonfuls of flour to the pan and shake it all around.

Finall, tip the pan over the sink and give it a gentle tap to remove any excess flour.

OR you can use a non-stick spray product especially for baking that has the flour already magically in the can.

This is different from regular non-stick spray. Be sure to buy one that says “Baking” and “Flour” on the label. Even if you have a non-stick pan like mine, I would suggest a coat of flour spray or good old fashioned greasing/flouring since these delectable bars are quite sticky.

Measure out a cup of pecans….

and chop them up. You can also buy pre-chopped nuts in your store.

Melt 1-1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 of a cup) in the microwave or in a small pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, the melted butter, and 1/3 cup of the Evaporated Milk.

Add the nuts and stir to combine.

This is VERY stiff dough so be sure you stir all the way to the bottom and around the sides of the bowl to get all of the ingredients combined thoroughly.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions in the bowl. No need to measure, just give a good guess.

Press 1/2 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking pan.

After I took this picture, I totally ditched the spatula and used my hands. Use your fingers to spread a thin layer of dough all over the bottom of the pan.

It’s okay if there are a few little holes here and there as the dough will puff up as it cooks and make a solid bottom layer. (oops, blurry. sorry.) Bake this layer at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

I should mention that I’m completely in love with these extra dark chocolate chips.

These Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet chips (on the left) are REALLY good, have so much more chocolate flavor, and are twice as big as regular old semi-sweet chocolate chips.

After baking for 8 minutes and the dough is all puffy and slightly set, sprinkle 1 cup of chocolate chips over the warm dough. Then pour the warm caramel over the top.

Quickly spread the caramel over to the edges. Drop the remaining 1/2 of the reserved dough in little blobs all over the caramel layer.

Oh my.

Put it back in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for an additional 18-20 minutes.

Allow the pan to cool slightly at room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set the caramel.

Excuse me, I have to go now. I think I’m needed in the kitchen.

Make these today. Here’s the recipe!

Chocolate Caramel Brownie Bars

Many thanks to my lovely sister and to her friend Susan from junior high school. Here is what she sent me for the recipe. Isn’t this cute?

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