Dark Chocolate Caramel Nut Bars

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This is a good, easy cookie bar recipe that I’ve had for quite awhile! I think I originally found it in a magazine ad and then I came across it later at Kraft Recipes. This recipe uses a cake mix as part of the ingredients for the yummy chocolatey crust, so it’s simple to put together. I usually prefer making things from scratch, but sometimes a mix comes in handy if you’re in a time crunch. And these bars are so good you may not mind that they’re made with cake mix!

My version of these bars is a little different from the original recipe–I usually use pecans instead of walnuts (this time I used a little of both), dark chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks, and regular chocolate cake mix instead of German chocolate. When you’re in the mood for a very chocolatey, chewy, caramel treat, this is a great recipe to try! Save some time by unwrapping the caramels ahead of time before you make these!

DARK CHOCOLATE CHIP CARAMEL NUT BARS by NancyC, adapted from Kraft Recipes

Makes a 13 x 9″ pan of bars

  • 1 (11-ounce) bag Kraft caramels, unwraped
  • 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk, divided
  • 1 package (2-layer size) chocolate cake mix with pudding in the mix
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, divided (I used a mix of pecans and walnuts)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap caramels and melt them with 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently until caramels are completely melted. Remove from heat; set aside.

Mix remaining milk, dry cake mix and melted butter in a large bowl. Press half of the cake mixture firmly onto the bottom of a greased 13 x 9-inch baking pan to form crust. Bake 8 minutes, then remove from oven.

Sprinkle 1 cup of the nuts and 3/4 cup of the dark chocolate chips over the crust. Drizzle evenly with melted caramel mixture. Top with teaspoonfuls of the remaining cake mixture; press gently into caramel mixture with back of spoon. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts and 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips.

Put back in the oven and bake an additional 16 to 18 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Note: if you want to eat these warm (they’d be great with some ice cream on top!) wait about 20 to 30 minutes before cutting them so they won’t be so gooey. For less gooey bars, wait about an hour before cutting them, when they’ve cooled more. Be sure not to wait more than a few hours before cutting them; if you do, they will be harder to cut since the caramel and bottom crust will harden some.

It may be a little tricky to get your first piece out of the pan without crumbling it a bit, but once that’s out, the rest of your bars should come out easily!

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The combination of dark chocolate, nuts, and caramel is so good! What’s your favorite chocolate/caramel dessert?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

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33 thoughts on “Dark Chocolate Caramel Nut Bars

  1. Caroline

    A foil lined pan makes getting bars out easy! I make a homemade cake mix (recipes can be found online) so bars have no preservative taste. Homemade cake mixes are not hard and just a few extra minutes of prep. That said, I still keep a mix in my pantry for dessert emergencies! 🙂

    Reply
    1. nancyc Post author

      Yes, lining the pan with foil, or even parchment paper, is a great idea, Caroline! I have seen some homemade mixes and I will have to try that sometime!

      Reply
  2. saucygander

    Ohh, the cookie bars look wonderful! If they are really that easy to put together, they might be dangerous to the waistline! Thank you for bringing these treats to Fiesta Friday this week Nancy!

    Reply
  3. HavensBakes

    These look absolutely amazing! I’ll have to save this recipe for when I’m having company over, if not I’ll end up eating the whole batch myself! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Reply

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