There is nothing better, on a rainy, Friday afternoon than to leave your desk to make a cup of tea and return to find the sun out! Holy cow, I can even see blue sky. Honestly, it’s been just awful today. Not just rain, but gray rain. Everything outside my office window was painted a shade of mute steel. Not exactly something fun to look at for 8 hours straight. And then I saw a poor little spider clinging for dear life to his disintegrating web attached to the window pane. It was a sad sight indeed dear readers.

However, I have found that with the addition of, say, a space heater and a cup of tea, even the dullest view can take on a certain cozy charm. Something else that makes a February day smile? German chocolate caramel bars. I made them as a Valentine’s treat for my office today. You can take the lack of picture to go with this post as evidence to their quick demise. Snacks be warned, you won’t last an hour in this office.

-Brittni

German Chocolate Caramel Bars
These tasty treats are quite versatile and can be prepared in either an 8-inch square pan or a 9×13 inch pan. Personally, I did not think there was enough batter to cover the bottom of a 9×13, but I’ve seen pictures, which supposedly confirm it can be done so who knows. Personally, I’m more of a huge chunk of caramel goodness kind of girl and think the bars are great smaller and taller, but to each his own. Also, the bars need to chill for at least 30 minutes before serving so consider making them the night before your big soiree if you can.

You will need:
1 box German chocolate cake mix
3/4 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup evaporated milk, divided
14 oz. package of caramels (the kind in the candy aisle, wrapped individually)
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup nuts (optional)

Directions:

Heat oven to a balmy 350.

Mix the dry cake mix, giant bowl of melted butter and 1/3 cup evaporated milk until dough forms (the optional nuts would be added here as well).

Get those fingers in there and press half the dough into a greased, 8-inch square baking pan (or into a 9×13 inch pan if you’re a miracle worker). Bake 11 minutes for an 8-inch pan or 6 minutes for a 9×13 inch pan.

Unwrap all those individual caramels and no grumbling! These guys are worth the effort. Melt the caramels and the remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk in a saucepan on low. Set aside.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the baked cake layer and watch them melt into a gooey lather.

Pour the caramel mixture over the chocolate chips.

Spoon the remaining cake dough on top of the caramel and spread until covered. Or, do what I did and spread the dough by hand sans spoon. You can also drop the dough in chunks if you’d like the caramel to show through.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes for an 8-inch pan or 25 – 30 minutes for a 9×13 inch pan. Cool slightly and chill for 30 minutes to set the caramel. Cut into bars and step back as coworkers devour.

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