Sunday, March 13, 2011

Caramel Pecan Brownies

Not long ago, a friend of mine mentioned caramel brownies on Facebook. That was all I needed to hear. Caramel. Chocolate. How could you go wrong? I asked for the recipe and she told me it was on the back of the caramel balls. I was sitting there thinking, "What on earth is she talking about?"

I dismissed the whole caramel ball thing and decided to google a Caramel Brownie recipe. I found one. It involved the little wrapped caramels. That meant I had to UNWRAP them. Still, I am a big fan of both caramel and chocolate, so I decided to go for it. As I was searching for the caramels, guess what I saw? Caramel Balls! Okay, they are really called Caramel Bits, but they are shaped like balls. They kind of look like little brains in shape. And I am in love. Okay, not really love. But I really really like them. And I could probably eat a whole bag of them on my own...

By the way, I am getting no compensation or kickback from Kraft. I just really like Caramel. Notice. They are unwrapped. That makes it that much quicker to get to them. (Message to Kraft: Feel free to send me free bags of caramels for the free advertising...)

I made these brownies for a fellowship I went to the other night. I got a few bites of them there but then left them for the girls. So tonight when we had our "Cooking Date Night", I thought that might be a good thing to make since the family didn't get any. Then I got grumbles. I had mentioned making Red Velvet Cupcakes. I just didn't think I could do that with all we were making for dinner. Well, the grumbling stopped after the first bites of these brownies. Yum!

Caramel Pecan Brownies

1 package brownie mix
1 package Kraft Caramel Bits
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups pecan pieces

Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan generously with cooking spray. The package directions actually say to line the pan with aluminum foil (also sprayed) to lift out later but honestly, I didn't find that necessary this time around. It was less to mess with to just spray the pan directly.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Make the brownie mix according to the package. I used a dark chocolate brownie mix because...well, I just like dark chocolate. Pour half of the brownie mix into the pan and bake for 20 minutes. The package directions say to cover the other half and set aside. Honestly, I covered it and put it in the fridge. Anytime I have used eggs, I get nervous.

After 20 minutes, remove from the oven.

Dump the bag of caramel bits and the 1/3 cup of whipping cream into a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. (It only took about a minute and a half tonight) Take the pecans (I like mine pretty fine, so I crushed them with my hand chopper), and pour half of them into the caramel mix. I don't think I truly used as many as the recipe called for. I used a small bag. They are pricey! Pour the caramel mixture over the brownies in the pan.

Next pour the remaining brownie batter over the top of the caramel mix. Since mine was cold from the fridge, I had to help spread it out. I has kind of a marbled look if you use a spatula on the top.

Next sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top and return the pan to the oven for 25 more minutes or until the top is firm.

Let it cool (or it will be really gooey).

I of course ate mine with a little ice cream on the side. :)

Here is a picture though it does not do this dessert justice...the darker part is not burned. That is the dark chocolate. The lighter parts would be the caramel mixture mixed in...Here is a picture of a piece (not cut very straight). Okay, I am not a food photographer. I promise you, it is good stuff. Even my kids who turn up their nose at nuts ate it up.

Tomorrow if I have time, I will share a healthier recipe. Well, kind of. It does involve salad. :)

Happy Cooking,

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