As much as I relish my time in the kitchen–that methodical and soothing rhythm unfolding as you work a masterpiece–sometimes the moment calls for something semi-homemade. This is one of those moments. I wanted to prepare a sweet treat this week, and a quick stroll down memory lane brought me to the “famous” Yummy Bars.
Perhaps we do this more as we get older, but I love pulling out the old yearbooks from time to time, browsing classmates’ inscriptions, reliving the year’s shenanigans from football games to cheerleading stunts to running amok on the field in the mascot uniform (Mustang) … to baking. Wait, baking? Yes, in my yearbooks, friends wrote about my cooking, specifically the “Yummy Bars” I brought to school. Sure, they could remember me for cheering our teams to victory, for my big spill on opening night of our production of Grease, or for leading the Adventure Club into the wilderness of Yosemite. But, no, it’s the Yummy Bars–they win out every time.
My sister (or maybe it was her neighbor Pam) got us started on these in the 70s–a sinful cookie bar loaded with dark chocolate, gooey caramel, and toasted pecans–easy enough for a kid to assemble and seriously good. What’s not to love?
My senior crew on Grad Nite (that’s me in the middle):
As my recipe repertoire grew, Yummy Bars became an item often overlooked but never forgotten. Fast forward to the 90s, when Webicurean was a fledgling new Web site, I included it here. So long, and so many iterations ago, the original post is somehow lost. In 2000, when the folks who publish InStyle, People, and Cooking Light decided to premiere a new print publication, hot.dots Magazine, guess who made the cut? Webicurean’s Yummy Bars, of course:
Ah, it’s just a feather in my virtual cap.
These cookie bars are simple enough for a child to prepare (I did!), and because they’re semi-homemade, there’s little fuss. It’s good to have a few semi-homemade tricks up your sleeve, so you can whip up something delicious, even memorable, at a moment’s notice. Now it’s time for a new generation to discover Yummy Bars, so let’s begin!
Get all the ingredients ready. The original recipe calls for German chocolate cake mix. I’m not sure whether this even exists anymore, as I couldn’t find it, so I subbed in milk chocolate cake mix instead.
The butter needs to be melted, so pop it in the microwave for few. This butter was frozen, so it took a couple of minutes to melt completely.
Add the 1/3 cup of evaporated milk along with the cake mix to the melted butter, and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Spread half the cake batter in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish, and bake for 6 minutes at 350.
Meanwhile, melt the caramels in a pot with the other 1/2 cup evaporated milk. This will be the most tedious part of the recipe–unwrapping 50 individually wrapped caramels. Find a little helper for this busy work.
Once the caramel has melted, set it aside. The first half of your cake should be out of the oven and ready for the next steps.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips and nuts evenly over the partially baked cake bottom.
Drizzle the caramel evenly over the top of that.
Crumble and press the remaining cake batter over the top of the caramel, then bake another 20 minutes or so until done.
Allow to cool completely before digging in–Enjoy!
- 1 box German chocolate cake mix
- ¾ cup melted butter
- ⅓ cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup chocolate chips (1-6oz package)
- 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 50 caramels (1-14 oz package)
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- Mix together cake mix, melted butter, and ⅓ cup evaporated milk.
- Spread half of this in a lightly greased 9×13″ pan.
- Bake at 350 for 6 minutes.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts on partially baked cake.
- Melt the caramels with the ½ cup evaporated milk, and drizzle over the cake.
- Crumble and pat the remaining mixture on top.
- Bake 20 minutes at 350.
- Cut when cool.
- Makes 4-5 dozen 1- to 1½ inch bars.
Next week let’s dig into the fall’s apple bounty with some harvest rice.