When I was little, and my parents wanted to go on vacation without dragging their six children along, they would leave us in the care of the Masters. Greg and Melinda Masters were the most fun.
My sister and I would beg Melinda to make her famous Caramel Layer Cocoa Squares, and she would always give in. They are still one of my most favorite treats. I make them once a year, always at Christmas. They are super rich, chewy and chocolatey, and just so delicious. You should make a batch, and then give them out to your neighbors immediately. Otherwise you will eat the whole pan. And trust me, one small square is all you need.
Caramel Layer Cocoa Squares
1 14 oz. package of caramels, unwrapped (or one bag of the caramel nibs)
1 german chocolate cake mix
1/3 cup + a couple tablespoons evaporated milk, divided
1 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter, melted
Combine the caramels and 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk in a heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the caramels are melted. Set aside.
Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. Or line the pan with greased foil to lift out later for easier cutting.
In a large bowl, combine the dry cake mix, melted butter, and a couple tablespoons of evaporated milk until the dough holds together. It should be like a thick cookie dough consistency. Press half (or a tiny bit more than half) of the dough into the pan. You might feel like there is not enough to cover the bottom of the pan, but keep pressing. It will get there, I promise. Reserve the rest for the topping.
Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Once out of the oven, sprinkle with the chocolate chips, drizzle with the melted caramel, and crumble the reserved cake mix over the top. Bake for 15-18 more minutes. Cool slightly, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.