Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Decadent Caramel Brownies (Lydia's Goom Bars) for Valentine's Day

It's not too late!  If you don't have plans for Valentine's Day (like us, since we usually just order a heart-shaped pizza for Bubba...it's something fun), I really, REALLY recommend whipping a batch of these brownies.  They are the best.  Ever.  Seriously.  Bubba would eat them every day if he could.  If I could actually keep them in my house.  But they always disappear.  Hmm...

I am usually not a fan of using mixes when baking (Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies aside).  But since you don't follow the box directions with these brownies, I feel I can make an exception.  That, and because they are so stinking fabulous.

I was introduced to these caramel brownies several years ago by my friend Missy.  She brought them to work for a potluck of some sort and I instantly realized I needed the recipe.  And am I ever glad she shared it!  The recipe belongs to Missy's aunt's and, funny enough, I saw The Pioneer Woman bake some suspiciously similar bars on her show one day last fall when I was working out (yes, I admit it's an odd show to watch when exercising).  But, as I mentioned, it's been a favorite in our house for years (and these don't include any pesky nuts).  And they totally complement heart-shaped pizzas!

Decadent Caramel Brownies (aka Lydia's Goom Bars)
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1 box German Chocolate cake mix
3/4 c. (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
2/3 c. evaporated milk, divided
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
14 oz. bag of caramels (Brach's Milk Maid or Kraft), unwrapped
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 13 x 9 pan.  Combine cake mix, butter, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and vanilla.  Mix well (the batter will be thick, almost a dough consistency).  Press half the mixture into the pan and bake for 6 minutes.  While the pan is in the oven, place the caramels and remaining 1/3 cup of evaporated milk in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 30-second intervals, mixing after each interval until the caramels are completely melted and combined with the milk.  After 6 minutes in the oven, remove the pan and, in layers, add the chocolate chips, caramel mixture, and remaining batter (in spoon-size drops) to the pan.  Bake an additional 16 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before cutting.  Store in a sealed container.