I distinctly remember the first time I tried these brownies. I was a junior in high school in Nebraska and had spent the day waterskiing on the lake and my family was having a cookout with my parents' friends at their lake house. These brownies were served and everyone was impressed. I made these quite a lot for a while and then I think I must have lost the recipe in a move or something because I just forgot about them and haven't made them for a long, long time. And then I stumbled across the recipe again on Pinterest and lo and behold, they are just as delicious as ever.
I made them to take to a funeral so I only set aside two brownies for Paul to take to work and he gave one away to his coworker before tasting them and afterwards texted me to rave about how good these were and grumble that he should have tasted them before deciding to offer one to his buddy since by that point I had already delivered the remaining brownies to the church.
Easy Caramel Pecan Brownies
1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix (unprepared)
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1/3 cup evaporated milk (for the brownie batter)
1/2 cup evaporated milk (for the caramel filling)
½ cup butter, softened
60 whole caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
¼ cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together dry cake mix, chopped pecans, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and softened butter. Stir together until totally combined. It may seem like they aren’t going to come together, but you just need to keep stirring and eventually you will end up with a very thick, almost cookie dough-like batter. Press half the mixture into a well-greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
In a double boiler (or heatproof glass bowl set over a saucepan of boiling water) melt caramels with additional 1/2 cup evaporated milk. This may take a while, but just keep stirring and the caramels and evaporated milk will combine and become completely smooth. When melted and combined, pour over brownie base. Sprinkle chocolate chips as evenly as possible over the caramel.
Use the remaining brownie batter to cover the top of the caramel layer. The easiest way is to either just drop small dollops of batter as evenly as possible over the top or, using your hands, to create small flat discs and lay them on top of the caramel creating a patched top. It is okay if there is some caramel showing through - that just makes the brownies even prettier.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate several hours. When ready to serve, generously sift powdered sugar over the surface of the brownies (or you can skip this step if you want, which I did). Cut into squares and enjoy.