January 11, 2010

Homemade Caramel Brownies - Starting from a Cake Mix

For about 12 years you would have been hard pressed to find a store bought cake mix in our home. Until about 4 or 5 years ago, I simply never bought them. If we wanted a cake or cupcakes I would make them from scratch; just as easy but tasted so much better. This all changed when I spied a recipe by Nestle for caramel brownies that started with a cake mix. I bought one to try out the recipe with and it was so quick and so easy that I regularly make sure we have a chocolate cake mix in the cupboard just for this recipe alone.

But... regular readers know that I almost never follow a recipe. I use it as a guide and improvise. Add, delete, mess around with the amounts. Use what you have on hand and make do. Make it yours.

That's what I did with the original recipe and every time I make it I do something different. Some ideas might be to use different base cake mixes; Dark Chocolate, Triple Chocolate, German Chocolate, Chocolate with mini Chocolate Chips... Use your own chocolate chips, use peanut butter chips, mint or white chips or caramel chips. Leave out the caramel completely or use hot fudge sauce or ice cream caramel topping in its place. Play with your food!

Homemade Caramel Brownies (starting from a cake mix!)

1 chocolate cake mix of your choice
1 c chopped nuts (optional - I love them, my son and husband hate them)
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted
1 c Evaporated Milk (not sweetened condensed milk)
35 caramels - unwrap
2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate, etc. (up to you)

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the cake mix with the nuts, butter and 2/3 c evaporated milk in a bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon - the batter will be very thick. Spread half the batter into a 13X9 inch ungreased pan. Bake 15 minutes. In the meantime, unwrap the caramels and add the remaining evaporated milk. (Sometimes I add all the milk to the chocolate batter and just use a few teaspoons of water to thin the caramels instead - like I did in the photos below). Drizzle the caramel mixture over the brownies and drop the remaining batter over the caramel by heaping teaspoons.

Bake for 25 minutes more. Cool in the pan before cutting into bars.

I really hate unwrapping caramels.
Sometimes I just use caramel ice cream topping instead.

The caramels are melted in the microwave and thinned with a bit of water
stirred in.

Carmel is drizzled over the half baked brownies

Drop the remaining batter by heaping spoonfuls
over the caramel and return to the oven to bake.

Let cool in the pan before cutting

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