12 Days of Recipes {Day 7-Caramel Bars Revisited}

Big apology as I have been out of commission on my blog reading and responding this week.  I am heading into the city this morning until tomorrow night, so I’m sure that won’t change, but I’m hoping to find some more free minutes next week.

 

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I did make time to go out for a run this morning and it was my first time running outside in weeks.  Although a little chilly to start, it felt great to be breathing in the cold winter air.

 

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Until I return, you’ll just have to keep yourself busy baking.  I know I said that I would give you 12 days of recipes, but I didn’t say they had to be new recipes!

 

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So I thought it’d be good to revisit one of the best bars out there…Caramel Bars!

 

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They are a real crowd pleaser, so perfect for all of the upcoming holidays.

Mmmm!  My mouth is watering just thinking about them!

 

 

Caramel Bars

 

Ingredients

3/4 cups softened butter

3/4 brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup oatmeal

25 Kraft caramels

3 tsp butter

3 tsp milk

1/2 cup walnuts

3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.

Mix together: butter, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, tsp salt, and oatmeal.

Put 3/4 of the mixture into pan.  Press down so bottom of pan is covered.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool.

Melt 25 Kraft caramels with 3 tsp butter and 3 tsp milk in microwave for ~3 minutes.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over crust.  Top with finely chopped walnuts (I didn’t chop mine) and chocolate chips. Then crumble the rest of the first mixture over the bars.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.

 

 

What are you baking this weekend?

Anyone else running in the snow?

Drop the Tension

It’s been way too long since I’ve been to a yoga class!

Which is why despite staying up late drinking wine with the neighbors last night, I woke up this morning determined to go to yoga.  Upon waking, I immediately began to rehydrate, chugging tons of water.  My studio has a few classes on Sundays, so it was easy to get to the 11:30am class with a fantastic instructor.  The moment I walked into the studio, I knew I’d made the right decision.  A few minutes later, I was laying supine on my mat, excited to be back, and starting to sweat in the warm studio.  I love the atmosphere at my yoga studio, and it’s because of scheduling conflicts that I don’t get there more often.  Today’s class started slowly with breathing in stand and then we plunged right into sun salutation while The Lumineers Stubborn Love played in the background.  During an early downward facing dog, the instructor came up to me and gently rotated my shoulders.  ‘Good’, she said, ‘Now drop the tension in your shoulders’.  Ahhh…I let the tension release from my shoulders and my entire body.

 

Truth be told, there hasn’t been a lot of tension this weekend.  The BOY and I intentionally didn’t make plans knowing we wanted to celebrate the end of his second year of law school with some time together.  We were moving non-stop yesterday and had the best day!  And today was another unscheduled day.  I let this feeling of weightlessness carry me through the rest of the class which included some challenging poses (like bound Warrior III).  By the end of the class, I was both exhausted and exhilarated.  I soaked up the peace of shivasana before heading back into the sunshine and driving home.

 

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This afternoon turned into an impromptu BBQ with the neighbors (planned last night over wine).

 

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We pulled together some tables, cracked open cold beers, and ate grilled meat and veggies.

 

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For dessert, I made one of the BOY’s favorite recipes…Caramel Brownies!

I just searched my blog and couldn’t find this recipe anywhere.  Is it possible that I’ve been blogging for this long without sharing this recipe with you?  There’s no way!  If you find it on the blog, please let me know!  I swear I remember bragging about how much I love these caramel bits!

 

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They make these brownies super easy!  Which is why I could pull them together after yoga this afternoon.

 

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No worries…I’m sharing this recipe now and you will thank me : )

 

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Save this recipe for your next impromptu BBQ!

And as you head into the week, remember to ‘drop the tension’.  I know that’s my game plan!

 

Caramel Brownies

 

Ingredients

1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped (if you can find the little caramel bits, that’s the way to go!)

1/3 cup evaporated milk

1 (18.25 ounce) package chocolate cake mix (my favorite is dark chocolate or triple chocolate!)

3/4 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup evaporated milk

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a heavy saucepan, combine caramels and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth; set aside. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix, melted butter and 1/3 cup of evaporated milk by hand until dough holds together. Press half of the dough into the prepared pan, reserving the rest.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust, pour the caramel mixture evenly over the chips. Crumble the remaining dough over the caramel layer and return to the oven.
Bake for an additional 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool in refrigerator to set the caramel before cutting into bars.

 

Eat warm or frozen!

I Dream of Chocolate {Cake Batter Fudge}

I know I wet your appetite with this post yesterday…did you guess the last recipe yet???

I have been dreaming about this recipe forever!

 

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Ok, that is an exaggeration, but I have been thinking about it, planning for it, and talking about it since I first discovered Cake Batter Fudge in June.

 

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I had a whole bunch of leftover chips (and nuts) to choose from to stir into my cake batter fudge.  Decisions…Decisions…

 

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Not really tough when the answer is all of the above!  I threw in some chocolate chips, caramel chips, and pecans and then topped the fudge with some white chocolate chips and a few more caramel chips (because you can never have too much caramel…right?).

 

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I considered adding in some sea salt, which I think might have been amazing!  It is definitely on the list for next time!

 

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The only bad thing was that I used parchment paper instead of foil, so my fudge couldn’t spread out evenly along the bottom of the pan.

 

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As long as you don’t mind the uneven margins, the fudge looks amazing!

 

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And it tastes just as good as you think it should!

 

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I brought the fudge to work where everyone LOVED it! I can’t say I’m surprised because what is not to love about chocolate cake batter, caramel, and pecans? It tastes like you’re licking the bowl of your favorite cake recipe (or just diving in head first)!

 

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The BOY is also a huge fan, and I’m hoping to make another batch to take up to Wisconsin this weekend!

 

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Maybe I will even add in some sea salt!  Yummmmm!

 

 

Chocolate Cake Batter Caramel and Pecan Fudge

Adapted from Cake Batter Fudge

 

2 cups chocolate cake mix

2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup caramel chips

1/2 cup sliced pecans

 

Place cake mix and powdered sugar in a large bowl and combine. Pour in the milk, top with stick of butter, and microwave for 2:15 minutes. Immediately begin mixing everything together – the butter may not be fully melted but will as you continue mixing. Mix in the chocolate chips, caramel chips and pecans.  Don’t over stir or chips will start to melt.  Pour fudge into a greased cake pan (or pan lined with foil and cooking spray). Pour white chocolate chips and any extras that you have over the top and gently press them in to the batter.  Chill for at least 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

You Have to Try These Bars!

A patient gave me this recipe, along with a few sample bars.  Since some friends are coming over for girl’s night this weekend, I figured they would be perfect.  I have never made them before, but they have all of my favorite flavors, including caramel, so how bad can they be?!

First step is to make the dough.  Combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and softened butter.  I did have to microwave my butter shortly in order to soften it.  I used a wooden spoon to stir the dough, but needed my hand also as I was having trouble breaking up the butter clumps.   My hand worked out well and it ended up covered in dough anyways to press the mixture onto the bottom of the pan.

 

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The next step is melting the caramel. I have a fabulous recipe for caramel brownies, and I discovered that unwrapping multiple caramels is boring and time-consuming.  So I was able to find these at the super Target and they are fabulous.   I buy them in bulk now when I can find them, but you can also buy them on Amazon.  For this recipe, you melt down the caramels with butter and milk.  I have also done this with 1/3 cup of evaporated milk.

 

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After the oat mixture has baked for about 10 minutes, layer the melted caramel, the chocolate chips, walnuts, and crumbled oat mixture on top.  This reminded me of making 7 layer bars but without the coconut.

 

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Bake for another 10 minutes and then let cool.  This has to be the toughest part…waiting for the bars to cool!

 

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The BOY was the first to try the bars and he agreed that the girls would LOVE them this weekend.  The only difficulty was cutting the crumbly bars.  I stuck them in the fridge to harden them up a bit, which will allow me to cut them and freeze them for Friday night.

 

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Caramel Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.

Mix together: 3/4 cups softened butter, 3/4 brown sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1 cup oatmeal.

Put 3/4 of the mixture into pan.  Press down so bottom of pan is covered.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Cool.

Melt 25 Kraft caramels with 3 tsp butter and 3 tsp milk in microwave for ~3 minutes.  Stir until smooth.  Pour over crust.  Top with 1/2 cup very finely chopped walnuts, 3/4 cups chocolate chips and the rest of the first mixture, crumbled over the bars.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Cool completely before cutting into squares.