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Chunky Turtle Blondies

Bars:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, toasted*

Topping:
12 caramels, halved
24 pecan halves, toasted
2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 teaspoon shortening

1. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line 9 inch square pan with heavy-duty foil extending over edges. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, stir together brown sugar and butter until smoothly blended. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until blended. Stir in flour mixture just until incorporated. Stir in chips and 1 1/2 cups pecan halves. Batter will be very thick. Spread batter in pan.
3. Bake 35 - 45 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached (be careful not to hit the chips) Do not over bake. Remove from oven. Immediately place caramel halves on top of bars. Return bars to oven, bake 2-4 minutes or until caramels are soft and slightly melted. Top caramels with 24 pecan
halves. Cool completely on wire rack.
4. Place chocolate and shortening in small microwave bowl; microwave 20-60 seconds or until melted, stirring occasionally. Drizzle over bars. Let stand until set. Using foil edges, lift bars from pan. Slide bars off foil onto cutting board; cut into 16 pieces.

*To toast pecan halves, place on baking sheet; bake at 325 degrees for 7-9 minutes or
until slightly darker in color. Cool