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Haley's Caramel Brownies

I call my year in Chicago my “Devil Wears Prada” year. Minus the Devil. Minus the Prada. During my first month at Entertainment Weekly, along came this blonde every day to microwave her Lean Cuisine™. She’d half smile at me; I’d half smile back thinking, “Well, we’ll never be friends.”

Don’t you love it when your preconceived notions couldn’t be further from the truth? Ironically, the walls came down when our mutual affection for Pride and Prejudice surfaced, shortly followed by a gab session over Anne of Green Gables. Haley is my best friend in Chicago - my sounding board and safety net for all things work related, my confidante with dating life and beyond. One day she brought in these brownies, and I turned one down explaining that I don’t really like sweets. “No, you don’t understand,” she rebutted. “This is the one thing I do RIGHT.” I think I had four that day.

When I left Chicago, we both refused to make a big deal about it; we vowed to visit each other often. I made good on my word, and not just because I was still getting my hair cut in Chicago three years after I left. Haley gave me one going away present; it cost nothing, but was worth so much to me: this recipe!

This year, while sharing the recipe with cousins, it occurred to me that I made these once with Beth from the Chattanooga Dinner on the Diner cookbook. I was probably 12; she was probably sending them in a care package to Kevin. Lowell can’t get enough of these brownies. Whenever he sees me making them from his kitchen window to mine, I get a text or phone call for any extra brownies - and batter.

1 package German chocolate cake mix

1 cup evaporated milk

1 stick of butter, melted

1 package of caramels, unwrapped

2 cups of milk chocolate chips

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

~ Combine cake mix, butter, and 2/3 cup evaporated milk.

~ Bake half the batter for 8 minutes in a greased 9x12 baking pan.

~ Melt caramels with 1/3 cup of evaporated milk. Allow to cool.

~ Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked batter. Then drizzle caramel sauce over the chips.

~ Drop remaining batter in rounded spoonfuls over caramel.

~ Bake 30 minutes until center is set.

~ Haley puts them in the fridge to allow the chips to harden back up: genius!


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