One Dish, Two Ways!

Killer Bars/Black Bean Brownies

Killer Bars/Black Bean Brownies

Happy Monday everyone!

Yesterday was my brother’s birthday and in his honor, I am sharing one of his favorite dessert recipes. Originally, this recipe was received from a special lady at my home church, Mrs. Sarah! When I was in elementary school and attending a Sunday school class with her eldest daughter, Mrs. Sarah baked this amazing bars for a church youth event. Immediately, I was hooked and soon Evan was too.

During his birthday party last Friday evening, Evan commented being unable to remember the last time I made these bars. I’m glad we were able to bring back a favorite dessert for Evan’s birthday celebration.

Though these bars are affectionately entitled “Killer Bars” though the Pioneer Woman has a variation of this recipe. For the record, I’d like to point out we had Killer Bars first 😉

For Shay’s Way, a significant change was made due to the caramels containing corn syrup. I’ll explain that variation. For my variation, I was unable to find a German Chocolate cake mix but as you’ll discover, I came up with something even better!

Killer Bars (Shay’s Way)

  • 1 box German Chocolate cake (We used Pillsbury as it is corn-syrup free)
  • ⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • ¾ cup melted butter
  • 6 oz. Kraft caramels, unwrapped or about ¾ cup- 1 cup caramel sauce (see below)
  • 1 to ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, ⅓ cup of the sweetened condensed milk, and the melted butter. Divide your dough in half and pat half of the dough in the bottom of a well-greased 9×13 pan. Bake your “crust” for about 6 minutes. While baking, melt your caramels and ⅓ cup of sweetened condensed milk in the microwave. Mix together so it makes a creamy sauce. Upon taking the crust out of the oven (it will be slightly softened), sprinkle your chocolate chips and pour the caramel mixture within a half inch of the crust. With the remaining dough, pat it between your hands and gently place the pieces on top of the chocolate/caramel goodness. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy cooled or warmed with some vanilla ice cream! This is how Evan prefers to eat his.

Caramel Sauce (based on the Pioneer Woman’s caramel sauce recipe)

  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup milk or half and half (thicker is better but using 1% milk was sufficient)
  • ½ tbsp vanilla
  • Tiny dash of salt

Melt and mix all ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat, whisking quickly for about 5 minutes until it produces a thick consistency. Remove from heat. Add in ⅓ cup of sweetened condensed milk. I used about ⅔ of the total mixture for the killer bars and saved the rest for ice cream. You could also freeze the remaining sauce for up to three months.

Black Bean Brownies (Shan’s Plan)

  • 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained well
  • 3 oz. Baker’s German Chocolate baking bar
  • ½ cup brown sugar (or your sweetener of choice)
  • 2 eggs (or flax eggs)
  • 4 tbsp. applesauce or oil
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • About ¼ tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips ( I used dairy free dark chocolate chips)
  • Optional: peanut butter/caramel sauce to swirl in the brownies

Mix together brown sugar, eggs, applesauce, baking powder, salt, and vanilla before combining with the black beans in a blender. While blending, microwave the 3 oz of the baking bar in 15-30 second increments and stir once melted. Add into the blender and blend until smooth. Lastly, add the chocolate chips and gentle combine (I found the german chocolate and dark chocolate chips came together for a nice thick fudge flavor) Pour mixture into a well greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 for about 30-32 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Though they can be eaten cool, I prefer mine warmed with a little peanut butter on the side!

I hope you enjoy these delectable little treats as much as we do!

Thank you Mrs. Sarah! I love your guts!

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