Friday, February 10, 2012

Caramel Brownies

I'll admit that Valentine's Day is one of my least favorite holidays. I don't really get why there has to be a day dedicated to proving your love to someone else when you should do it all year long. Although now that I've become the latest Pinterest addict, I am slowly warming to it. There are some dang cute ideas out there and some great homemade Valentine's for the kids to hand out.

One of the best parts of Valentine's Day though? Chocolate. And lots of it. It seems every where I look I see more and more chocolate and it makes me giddy. Something about chocolate makes everything okay, and it's definitely my go-to food when I'm sad (or happy, for that matter).

These brownies are the perfect Valentine's dessert (or anytime dessert!). They are gooey and caramel-y and chocolatey. Pair a brownie with a scoop of ice cream and you'll be in chocolate heaven!
You can melt your caramels in the microwave, but I prefer a double boiler. You can buy a fancy one, or just use what you have on hand. I've seen glass bowls used before, I just like my metal ones better. The key is to get a bowl that barely fits inside. You want to add just enough water to the pot to get a good boil, lower the temperature to get a consistant simmer, then place your bowl on top without letting it touch the water. It can take a while for it to melt, but it will be smooth and perfect!
Once the evaporated milk and caramels are melted and smooth, pour the mixture onto your slightly baked first brownie layer. And we won't judge you for licking the spoon when you're done! Add your chocolate chips next.
I like to press small amount of dough in the palm of my hand to create a "patty" and then place them on the caramel mixture. It's almost like a puzzle, but you don't have to cover every last piece. Once it bakes, it will eventually cover almost all of it.
And you end up with a gooey center to your brownies. It will be hard, but please please please don't cut into these babies when they are warm! They will just fall apart. Be patient (or stick them in the fridge to cool faster) and wait for them to cool before you cut into them!

Caramel Brownies
by Girls in Aprons

1- 14oz package caramels, unwrapped (we prefer Kraft caramels)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) melted butter
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup evaporated milk (again)
1 box chocolate cake mix (the no pudding kind, like Duncan Hines)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine dry cake mix, melted butter, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and nuts. Stir by hand (with a spoon) until dough is combined and holds together. Press half of dough into greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine caramels and 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a double boiler (or microwave) and stir until smooth. Spread caramel mixture over baked brownie layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel mixture. Crumble remaining cake mix over chips (or press small amounts into patties and place over chips). Bake for 15-18 minutes more. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

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