Let me start with a confession: I judge blog posts that start like this one does, with a picture of a collection of baking goods that includes a box cake mix and candy.
I hesitated to make these brownies for the first time in years, since my baking philosophy has evolved to make me turn up my nose up when I know caramel and cake such as these add that slight chemical taste I now find in packaged foods. They are not pure. Not pure!
BUT then I remembered how a thick, buttery German chocolate dough encases melted caramel and chocolate chips, and remembered how its gooey chocolateness is richer than a chocolate bar.
Most of all, I remembered my time was somewhat limited, and with this recipe I wouldn't have to experiment with a caramel sauce and chance a brownie recipe that was too dry or too over-the-top rich. Convenience products are just so convenient (imagine that).
These convenience-baking-with-a-twist morsels of sweentess garnered many compliments at a large group function, and also prompted this conversation:
Roommate in our House of Sweets: I want you to make these for my birthday.
Me: I think we can find an excuse to make these again before your birthday.
Roommate: No, you don't understand. I want the entire pan to myself.
(Roommate got them for her birthday, and she even shared them.)
1 box German chocolate cake mix
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
¾ cup butter, melted
1 14-oz. pkg. Kraft caramels
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Mix by hand cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and butter. Stir until thick. Take half of batter and spread in greased 13 x 9. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes.
Melt caramels and other 1/3 cup evaporate milk. Pour over cooked dough. Sprinkle on chocolate chips, then nuts.
Put remaining dough on top; don’t spread around. (With clean hands, I take a spoonful of batter, pat it out with my hands, and then place them on top until the chocolate chips are mostly, but not all the way covered.) Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.