Tuesday, June 28, 2016

For Lexi

Recently a young lady, who I care about very deeply, was hospitalized with a severe infection. She was in the hospital for many days, but what a trooper she was!  She showed everyone just what she was made of....strong and confident and full of joy.  Even when she didn't feel up to it, she showed us her inner beauty.  

When I entered her hospital room, every empty space was filled with flowers and gifts.  She touches people's lives and they openly share their love with her.  She is a gift and I'm so happy to have her as a part of my life.

I created these bars especially for Lexi....

Lexi’s Special Gooey Chocolate Caramel Bars
1 package chocolate cake mix
1 cup chunky peanut butter
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
2 large eggs, beaten
12 ounces (1 package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 jar (12 ounces) caramel ice cream topping
1 cup peanut butter chips
½ cup chopped salted peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a 13” x 9” baking pan with foil.  Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, combine cake mix, peanut butter, melted butter and eggs on low speed for one minute. Scrape down sides often while beating. Set aside 1 ½ cups cake mixture.

Place remaining cake mixture in bottom of 13” x 9” baking pan and press evenly on bottom of pan, using fingers. Set aside.

Combine chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, butter and vanilla in microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 2 minutes, remove and stir until chips are almost completely melted. Return to microwave, if necessary, for 30 second intervals until chips are almost completely melted.  Stir in coconut.  Pour chocolate mixture over cake crust and spread evenly.

Pour caramel topping evenly over chocolate and sprinkle peanut butter chips and peanuts (if using) evenly over caramel.

Sprinkle the remaining cake mixture (breaking it up with fingers) over the top.

Bake, in center of oven, for 25 to 30 minutes or until top cake pieces are firm to the touch.

Allow to cool in pan and then place in refrigerate to firm completely.  Remove from pan by lifting the foil and cut into 1 inch squares.