Boyfriend Brownies {Caramel Brownies}

I am the loathsome sap who loves Valentine’s Day.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

I buy heart-shaped sprinkles; I bring Tweety Bird valentines to the office; I wear pink. Most importantly, I bake caramel Boyfriend Brownies.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

My purchase of cupid-printed cupcake liners, assorted truffles, and shiny greeting cards fuels a Hallmark holiday that probably does more harm than good for the average woman’s self-esteem, right along with her date’s wallet. I simply cannot help myself. To those familiar with my mental age, insatiable desire to prepare theme meals, or acute chocolate dependency, my weakness for Valentine’s Day comes as no surprise.

Hate me for loving Valentine’s Day? Eat a caramel Boyfriend Brownie.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-

Now, you can hate me. Hate me or fall at my feet in gratitude. I accept both reactions.

You see, caramel Boyfriend Brownies are simultaneously the most superb and the most awful item to enter your life.

We’re talking first devouring caramel Boyfriend Brownies, then in a brief fit of self control, hiding the remainder from ourselves, only to wind up desperately licking our fingers as we scrape shards of buttery, dried caramel from the tight corners of our pan. It’s that kind of awful. And by awful, I mean awesome.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

Boyfriend Brownies (Caramel Brownies) from Well Plated by Erin

What could be awful about a sticky layer of caramel lava flowing over a bed of melty semi-sweet chocolate chips and squished betwixt two layers fudgy German chocolate brownie? Answer: Absolutely nothing. (Except for the part where I realized the caramel shards were laced with cooking spray residue. WORTH IT!)

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-

Boyfriend Brownies have been the sweet star of my Valentine’s Day since high school. Back when, I had no idea what to purchase for my fledging-boyfriend’s V-Day gift, so I baked my way out of the conundrum. Caramel Brownies were born. The finished product was such a raging success with the BF that, had I known just how well they would be received, I would have demanded a dinner-upgrade. Olive Garden perhaps?

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-

Flash forward 365 days: New year; new boyfriend; same issue. I had no clue what to choose for his Valentine’s gift. Da-dun! **Cue Superman music** Caramel Brownies to the rescue! Same recipe; same triumphant success. We went to Red Lobster. I privately christened caramel brownies with a new name: Boyfriend Brownies, my V-Day hit.

Every Valentine’s Day since, I have made my caramel Boyfriend Brownies, independent of my relationship status. Even without a date—and I have spent far more Valentine evenings drinking Shiraz and watching bad action movies with the girls than at dinner with a BF—caramel Boyfriend Brownies are reason enough to welcome Valentine’s Day.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe

A few important recipe notes to ensure your caramel Boyfriend Brownies are a pan of gooey perfection:

  • This recipe calls for cake mix. In my current life, I typically shy away from recipes that call for boxed mixes, because I find comfort in measuring and understanding each ingredient. In high school when I first baked caramel Boyfriend Brownies, I could have cared less. One bite and neither will you.
  • Make sure to use German Chocolate mix! No Devil’s Food. No Triple Chocolate Fudge (note: this is the only time you will every hear me forbid triple chocolate anything). German chocolate cake is lighter in flavor, so once you’ve piled on the chocolate chips and bubbly caramel, the brownies will still be irresponsibly decadent, without being excessively rich: a recipe for dangerous consumption.
  • My high school version of the recipe calls for store-bought caramels. I find store-bought caramels to be over-priced and intolerably annoying to unwrap, so this time around, I made my own caramel instead. Homemade caramel sounds high-maintenance, but I promise that you can make caramel with more success than you ever imagined. Plus, making your own caramel will leave you feeling like an empowered, sugar-transforming wizard. My fingers tingled just writing that.
  • If you don’t mind dealing with annoying plastic wrappers or care about being a sugar wizard: I have included directions for the store-bought caramel approach as well.
  • You must, must, must let the brownies cool as directed, or they will be a disaster to cut. Waiting is torture, and disasters can be beautiful—just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Boyfriend-Brownies-{Caramel Brownies}-Recipe-

Final selling point: the last boy for whom I baked caramel Boyfriend Brownies married me. Bake them for certain; share them with caution.

And demand Olive Garden.

Boyfriend Brownies {Caramel Brownies}

Yield: 16, 2-inch square brownies

Boyfriend Brownies {Caramel Brownies}

A sticky layer of caramel, flowing over melty chocolate chips, and squished between two layers of German chocolate brownie. Similar recipes have been called knock-you-naked brownies; whatever you name them, Boyfriend Brownies are irresistible. For the center layer, you can purchase store-bought caramels or make your own. I have included ingredients and directions for both.

Ingredients

  • 1 box (18.5 ounces) German Chocolate cake mix (recommended: Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • If making caramel:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Additional 1/4 cup evaporated milk (Buy the small, 5-ounce can)
  • If buying caramel:
  • 14 ounce bag of caramels, unwrapped
  • Additional 1/3 cup evaporated milk (Buy the big, 14-ounce can)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally coat an 8x8 inch (or 9x9 inch) square pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving some paper hanging out over the sides. Coat again with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat together the cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of your prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes, then remove from oven
  3. To make caramel: Place the granulated sugar in the bottom of a dry, medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat. Heat until the sugar melts, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to break up any chunks. Once the sugar has melted (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and stir in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and kosher salt. Continue to stir, melting as much butter as you can, then add the additional 1/4 cup evaporated milk. Return pan to heat. Cook and stir on high until caramel is bubbly and slightly darker in color, stirring to melt any sugar clumps that have solidified. Be careful not to touch the caramel as it will be very hot. Nice work!
  4. If using store-bought caramels: Place the unwrapped caramels over a double boiler on medium heat. Add remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk. Stir together gently until caramels are melted.
  5. Once the first layer of the brownie has baked, remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Pour the melted caramel over the top.
  6. Break remaining half of the brownie batter strategically over the top of the caramel (it’s ok if some caramel peeks through). Return to oven and bake 25-30 additional minutes, until the top of the brownie looks relatively set.
  7. Let brownies cool in pan to room temperature on a rack, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Using parchment paper, lift brownies from pan. Slice and serve.
http://www.wellplated.com/caramel-brownies/

 

42 Responses to “Boyfriend Brownies {Caramel Brownies}”

  1. Elizabeth O'Neill — February 14, 2013 @ 8:46 am (#)

    Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

    • Erin — February 15th, 2013 @ 9:30 am

      Thanks Elizabeth! Happy Valentine’s Day to you. xo

  2. Sally — February 15, 2013 @ 8:02 am (#)

    the only thing better than these actual brownies is the name! so cute.

    • Erin — February 15th, 2013 @ 9:34 am

      Thanks Sally! These brownies earned their name thanks to significant others, but they are equally tasty when shared with friends or eaten standing alone over my kitchen sink (guilty!)

  3. angela @ another bite please — February 15, 2013 @ 12:58 pm (#)

    hahahahaha…share them with caution. love that…after reading your title i couldn’t wait to read this post….as always made me laugh. hope you had a happy valentine’s day!

    • Erin — February 15th, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

      Thanks Angela! Happy belated Valentine’s to you!

  4. Luv What You Do — February 15, 2013 @ 10:16 pm (#)

    My boyfriend LOVES caramel brownies!!!
    He has me make them sparingly because they are so incredible that we can eat the entire pan : )

    • Erin — February 17th, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

      I know EXACTLY what you mean. Those are the moments I have to remind myself that at least I had a partner in crime!

  5. ksenyei — February 15, 2013 @ 11:04 pm (#)

    These look fantastic! I love a creative twist on classic brownies!

    • Erin — February 16th, 2013 @ 10:56 am

      Thanks so much! Caramel + brownies are a match made in heaven. Just add a big glass of milk :-)

  6. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic — February 16, 2013 @ 12:58 pm (#)

    Love this post! I’m bookmarking the recipe. I’ve been making the same treat every Valentine’s Day for the last few years, too (Nutella fudge), whether or not I’m single, and sharing them with everyone. And like you, I’m a sucker for the holiday!

    • Erin — February 17th, 2013 @ 8:36 am

      Thanks Bianca! And your nutella Valentine’s treat sounds to die for. Here’s to sweet traditions!

  7. joan — February 17, 2013 @ 12:35 pm (#)

    Yummy! Your description on foodgawker made me laugh. I remembered a friend who made a chocolate dessert and called it.. sex in a pan. lol

    • Erin — February 17th, 2013 @ 1:38 pm

      Too funny Joan! By any name, these are over-the-top gooey goodness. Hope you enjoy and thanks for your comment!

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  9. Lisa — March 8, 2013 @ 7:02 am (#)

    Ok. I don’t have a boyfriend and I am not waiting to till Valentine’s Day to make these. I do have a husband and he loves brownies anytime of the year so guess what he’s getting this weekend for dessert?

    • Erin — March 8th, 2013 @ 9:00 am

      No boyfriend or special occasion needed to dive headlong into a pan of these gooey good brownies Lisa! Your husband is going to love you for making them (and if you are anything like me, you will be glad for an accomplice to help you demolish the pan!) Hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Thanks for your comment!

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  11. Chimmy — June 21, 2013 @ 9:13 pm (#)

    I have made this many times. It is delish!

    • Erin Clarke — June 22nd, 2013 @ 8:17 am

      Chimmy, that makes me SO happy to hear! They are one of our favorite recipes, and I’m thrilled that you love them too. Thanks for sharing your review and have a wonderful day!

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  24. Betty Rubble — February 13, 2014 @ 9:44 am (#)

    This has always been known as Caramel Nut Brownies, so was confused at the name! Great treat regardless what you call it!

    • Erin Clarke — February 13th, 2014 @ 9:49 am

      Agree that these would be amazing by any name Betty! I didn’t use nuts, but I think that addition sounds completely delicious. Peanuts would be like Snickers!!

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  28. Valerie — September 12, 2014 @ 12:12 pm (#)

    This recipe is almost identical to the pioneer woman’s…

    • Erin | The Law Student's Wife — September 12th, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

      Hi Valerie! I’ve never actually read the Pioneer Woman’s version, but she could have a similar one. This is actually based off of a recipe I received from a friend’s mom in middle school. She called hers “Snickers Brownies,” and I’m not sure where she got the recipe originally. No matter where they are from though, they are d-lish!

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