(Way back when, I didn't have nor need "magic brownies", but,... I, a 100% country girl, was born and raised on a working dairy farm and, even if he wasn't farm-born/raised, he... LIKED farms/farming!!! So,... I guess,... my country way of life was "all the brownie" I needed! ☺ )
Below: Here he is (was) on his 67th birthday--
looking darned good, I say!
I think the "country life" treated him quite well!
(Under that cap is a full head of "naturally" brown hair.)
Anyhow,... this recipe comes from Amy Westerman*. She and her husband, Drew, live in Maumelle (just north of Little Rock), Arkansas. She teaches high school Spanish and spends her free time cooking, baking and playing Roller Derby. Seriously, ...this IS the name these brownies come with!! And, there is a story* connected to this recipe, too-- I will put that story at the bottom of this post. ☺
30 Kraft caramels, unwrapped
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
1 of 15.25-oz. box German chocolate cake mix (For a deeper/darker chocolate brownie, I may try a fudge chocolate cake mix the next time I make these!)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans OR walnuts
1. Heat oven to 350-degrees and line the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Melt caramels with only 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk in a small saucepan, stirring mixture occasionally; set sauce aside.
3. Stir together cake mix, melted butter and the remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk to form a dough.
4. Put 1 and 1/3 cups of the dough into the pan by putting dabs of this all over the parchment paper like this and then, with dampened fingers, gently press dough clumps down until entire pan bottom is evenly covered...
Yes, press it down into an even layer like this...
6. Remove from oven and pour the slightly cooled and set aside "melty" caramel sauce evenly over the top, like this...
7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel in an even layer...
8. Top with remaining dough, crumbled into bits and scattered evenly like this...
9. Sprinkle with chopped nuts...
10. Return to oven.
11. Bake until brownies are puffy and set-- 11-12 minutes more (or, according to how your oven bakes)...
12. Cool completely.
13. Then lift out of pan by holding the edges of the parchment paper...
Cut into squares...
(These are not a thick/puffy kind of brownie.)Because of the caramel layer in these bars, they will be less sticky and more chewy if kept a little on the "cool" side.
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Below is the word-for-word description and the accompanying story that goes with the above recipe. It comes from Pages 82 and 84 of The Ladies Home Journal / February 2014.
* "'This dessert is so good that it's prompted at least two proposals. I can't promise a wedding, but y'all be careful. Don't give these to just anyone.'-- Amy Westerman. (Amy admits, "I make one addition to my mom's famous recipe: extra caramel.")
"When I was 7 my mother Susan, met my future stepfather, Larry. They had been dating for about a month when she made him a batch of caramel nut brownies-- a recipe she'd come up with herself. Larry took one bite and blurted, 'Oh my gosh, I love you!' It was the first time he'd said anything like that, and it was sort of a joke-- but then he followed up with, 'Actually, I really do love you, and I've been wanting to tell you that.' After they got engaged, Larry renamed the recipe 'Man-Catcher Brownies'.
"Mom taught me how to bake when I was 12, and these brownies were one of the first recipes she shared with me. 'Remember, Amy, whoever eats these will fall in love with you,' she said. I knew she was teasing, but the brownies still took on magical properties in my mind. My friends and I would have sleepovers and bake batches of them for boys we had crushes on. Sometimes we'd be sneaky about it and bring the brownies to the whole class, just so that a particular guy would be sure to eat one. When one of us had a steady boyfriend, we'd make up a nice little bag for him and tie it with a boy. Larry was on to our schemes. 'Those man-catcher brownies work, so y'all be careful,' he'd say. 'Don't give 'em to anyone who won't treat you right for the rest of your life.'
"In fact, there was one boyfriend of mine in junior high who wasn't so nice to me, so I dumped him. The next day he came up to me and said, 'I know we broke up, but my mom really wants the recipe for those brownies.' I told him, 'Nope. That's for boyfriends only.'
"I made these brownies for my husband, Drew, early in our relationship. I'd say the recipe definitely worked its magic, since we've been together for 11 years. He'll never admit it was the brownies. But I know better."
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My husband's comments, with a smile, after he read this story? "Hm-m-m-m,...tricky women!"