Monday, June 24, 2013

Naughty Bars

It hit me earlier this week that I needed a sinful dessert.  Like right then and there.  Do you have those moments? Maybe I'm weird.

Some people reach for the chips, I reach for the sugar.  It's kind of a problem.  I really wanted to make those Knock You Naked Brownies but I didn't have the ingredients.  Laziness and dessert cravings cause me to do strange things.  So I improvised.

Enter Naughty Bars.  Sure to quell any sweet craving in .0457485 seconds flat.
I timed it.  

These are definitely not dainty little dessert bars.  More like super rich stand over the kitchen sink and make a mess bars.  But they are so worth it.  There's like an inch of creamy caramel and peanut butter in the middle.  See? Naughty. And they're made from a cake mix.  Come on.

6 ingredients and you don't even have to let the butter soften.  Love it.  Pour the melted butter over your cake mix.

Now pour in some of the evaporated milk and mix until combined.  It will be like a cookie dough.

Put have the dough mixture in a well-greased 8x8 or 9x9 plan and pat it down.  I used an 8x8 pan but I think next time I will use a 9x9.  The filling would probably be a little less messy.  I don't mind messy though. 

Bake your layer of dough for about 10 minutes until set and barely golden brown.

While your dough is baking you can start feverishly unwrapping 60 caramels.  If you're like me and this exercise becomes very similar to Lucile Ball's famous chocolate scene, you may want to give yourself more time and do this beforehand. Once you have the caramels unwrapped, pour the remaining evaporated milk over them and microwave at 50% power for a minute at a time until smooth and creamy.

Pour this over your bottom layer.

Grab your peanut butter chips.  A whole cup of them.  

Sprinkle them on top of the caramel mixture.

Now comes the interesting part.  In the original brownie recipe I saw, it said to form the remaining half of the dough into a square on your work surface and using a spatula, somehow peel this off and lay it on top.  Um, that didn't really happen for me. I don't know if it's because I used a different cake mix or what.  So I ended up laying this on top in sections.  You could also just press pieces of dough between your fingers to flatten them out and just lay them on top. It really will turn out great.  You're going to dust the whole thing in powdered sugar anyway!

Once you have the top layer on, return this to the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and done.  See? 
Not the perfectly flat surface but it turned out great.  Next, once this cools off on the counter you want to refrigerate this for a few hours or overnight to let all that filling set up.  I didn't wait that long, more like 2 hours on the counter because I wanted sinful molten filling.  Which is why I am ashamed to say I don't have a shot like this with the powdered sugar on because I had already taken out a big spoon and helped myself to some.  Oops.

This is what the filling looks like after just a few hours.  There is nothing wrong with eating these now but they are a little harder to cut and the filling is more oozy.  Naughty.

They look more like this if you let them chill for longer, and they would be even easier to cut and more firm if you let them chill overnight.  Either way, these are really over the top and delicious.  They certainly live up to their name.

Naughty Bars
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 plus 1/2 cup evaporated milk
60 caramels, unwrapped
1 cup peanut butter chips
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, melted butter, and 1/3 cup evaporated milk until completely incorporated - the mixture will be similar to cookie dough.

Divide the dough in half and press one half into the bottom of a well-greased 8x8 or 9x9 inch square pan.  Bake this for about 10 minutes until set and barely starting to turn golden brown.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, place the caramels and 1/2 cup evaporated milk together and heat on 50% power 1 minute at a time (take out the bowl and give it a stir after each minute in the microwave) until totally combined and creamy.

Pour this mixture over the bottom layer of dough and top with the peanut butter chips.

Take the other half of the dough and either press peices of the dough between your fingers and arrange on top of the peanut butter chips and caramel, or try to roll the dough out (I ended up doing a combination of both - I had a bit of a challenge getting this off my work surface but it all worked out in the end.) in a rough square the size of your baking pan and using a large spatula, place it on top.

Bake this for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let cool on your counter for a few hours to get to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to chill overnight.  Before serving, dust heavily with powdered sugar.  Use a nice sharp knife to cut these and use care when removing them from the pan.

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