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CHOCOLATE-PEANUT BUTTER CARAMEL BARS

Cooking spray

Brownie layer:

1 package fudge brownie mix 1/4 cup water

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

Peanut butter layer:

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Caramel-chocolate layer:

1 bag (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped

3 tablespoons water

1 bag (11.5 ounces) milk chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bottom only of 13-by-9-inch pan with cooking spray.

2. Stir brownie mix, water, oil and eggs in medium bowl until well blended. Spread in pan. Bake 28-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

3. In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter and water; mix well (if necessary, add additional water 1 teaspoon at a time until mixture is smooth).

4. Drop spoonfuls of peanut butter mixture over cooled brownie layer; spread evenly. Sprinkle with peanuts; refrigerate while making caramel layer.

5. Heat caramels and water in 1-quart saucepan over medium heat; stir frequently until caramels are melted. Pour caramel mixture over chopped peanuts; spread evenly. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until caramel is set.

6. Melt milk-chocolate chips in an uncovered microwavable bowl on medium-high (70 percent) for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for 20 additional seconds as needed, then stir. Continue until melted and smooth. Once melted, pour evenly over caramel layer and gently spread. Refrigerate 1 hour or until chocolate is set before cutting. Makes 24 bars.


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