Best Dang Thing EVER Bars

My sister B was in town for the long weekend and we decided to spend her first day in town shopping all day. It’s always a blast to shop with her because we both have very different tastes, but we get each other to try on things we never would otherwise. And we both always come home with a ton of bags. I usually take a picture of the stuffed trunk, but forgot to this year…

For the second day she was in town, we decided bake together. I love it when she comes to visit because we always have a great time. We talk almost daily and it’s good to be able to talk to her in person instead of over the phone/email/texting. These bars are her favorite and she knows the recipe by heart. In fact, the whole family loves these things. What else would you expect with a name like Best Dang Thing Ever Bars!?!

I finally got the story out of B about where that name came from… When B was a freshmen in college, she had to give a speech that was a demo. Of course, she decided to demo making these bars. She ended the speech with something like “and that is how you make the best dang thing you’ve ever tasted bars”. She even brought in some of the finished product to share with her class. Of course they agreed that these bars really are one of the best things you’ve ever tasted.

I’m not sure exactly where this recipe comes from, since my mom had clipped it out from a magazine or something and it was just in her pile of recipes since forever. We never made this when I was young, but ever since B went to college, we make these every year when we’re together at the holidays. They’re very rich and chocolatey, so we always cut them into small bars. Have a glass of milk ready when you serve these!

I am submitting this recipe for the blogging event Family Recipes hosted by The Life and Loves of Grumpy’s Honeybunch and The Spiced Life. To enter, make a recipe that is a family recipe and talk about memories connected with it.

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Best Dang Thing EVER bars

Yield: 36 bars

Ingredients:

1 package German chocolate cake mix
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 package (14 ounces) caramels

3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
1/2 cup chocolate ready-to-spread frosting
3-4 tsp water

Directions:

Heat oven to 350.

Mix cake mix (dry), softened butter, and egg until crumbly; reserve 1 1/2 cups. Press remaining crumbly mixture in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches.

Bake until crust appears dry, 10 to 12 minutes; cool 10 minutes.

Heat butter, milk, and caramels over low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted. (We do this while the crumbly mixture is baking). Pour over crust; sprinkle with nuts and reserved crumbly mixture.

Bake until crumbly mixture appears dry and begins to brown, 25 to 30 minutes; cool.

Make glaze by mixing frosting with water one teaspoon at a time until desired consistency.

Drizzle with glaze. Loosen edges of bars with spatula; refrigerate until caramel mixture becomes firm, about 1 hour. Cut into bars, 2x1 1/2 inches.

Recipe from my family - no idea where the original recipe is from...

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13 Responses to “Alton Brown’s “The Chewy””

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    1
    Bridget — March 5, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Aren’t they the best? They’re so addicting. I’ve actually starting using the same ingredients, but mixing them like a more traditional chocolate chip cookie (i.e., softened butter instead of melted), because I like the dough better with softened butter. The baked cookies were just as good. Best of both worlds!

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    2
    Laure — March 5, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    These look gorgeous. Don’t you just love AB??? 🙂

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    3
    Julie — March 6, 2009 at 4:06 am

    The cookies look great. I love AB too..he’s such a dork (in a good way).

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    4
    CoCo — March 6, 2009 at 5:50 am

    I love the ATK/CI Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. I will have to try these to see what I think. I remember seeing that the recipes looked similar so I am sure I will love them.
    Another AB lover here. My husband gives me a hard time about my DVR list with him but loves it when I give him a fun tidbit or cook him something from AB.

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    5
    Jen — March 6, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I completely agree CoCo. Hubby does the same thing. I sometimes even watch episodes I’ve seen before! Hubby doesn’t like to admit it, but he loves AB too. Sometimes he’ll be the one saying “AB says to do this…”

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    6
    foodess — March 9, 2009 at 3:38 am

    They look SO good!! I am a sucker for a chewy chocolate chip cookie. Although, I must side with your hubby – I prefer mine with just a bit of chocolate.

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    7
    Naomi — March 9, 2009 at 6:46 am

    How much is a stick of butter? I’m not in the US and have never come across this measurement before.

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    Jen — March 9, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Sorry about that Naomi – 1 stick of butter = 8 Tbsp. Does that help?

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    Dani — March 9, 2009 at 11:46 am

    this is very similar to the ccc recipe i use, but anything that makes it chewier is good in my books! i will have to keep this one in mind 🙂

  10. #
    10
    Naomi — March 13, 2009 at 10:05 am

    Yes Jen, thank you!

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    11
    Allie — June 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    Yum! I will definitely be trying these. I always chill my cookie dough too usually because I’m too busy with 3 little ones but I also read that article in the NY times awhile ago and I felt like I deserved a nice big pat on the back for always doing the 24hour chill 🙂 Great post and beautiful cookies!

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    12
    Susan — June 23, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I love Alton Brown because of his scientific approach to cooking and baking. I’ve been baking “The Chewy” for years. One thing I do differently: Before chilling the dough, I scoop it into balls. This makes the process much easier. Sometimes I freeze the balls for baking later. After I place the balls on parchment, I carefully place a few extra chocolate morsels on top, pointy side up. This extra step produces picture-perfect cookies every time.

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    13
    Desiree — July 2, 2016 at 1:56 am

    The Chewy is my go to recipe for cookies. I make a few alterations, occasionally, such as substituting 1/4 of the brown sugar with dark brown sugar. I bake small portions in mini muffin tins; one batch makes 48 cookie bites that are super chewy and the perfect size bite. I’ve made them every year for Christmas gifts for a few years now.

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