Caramel Oatmeal Bars (version one)

I can think of few better things to do on a snowy afternoon when Mike is working an event at the Aviary than try a new recipe.  This one, though, will need some improvements; baked according to the recipe, it’s not quite what I had hoped it would be.

In order to find caramel oatmeal bar nirvana, I can certainly try different recipes; were I to improve upon this one, I’d make the bottom crust slightly thicker, increase the volume of the chocolate chips to one cup and perhaps switch to milk chocolate, and try pecans instead of walnuts.  I might also decrease baking time by five minutes or so to see how everything holds up.  Stay tuned for Caramel Oatmeal Bars, version two, in the coming weeks!

Ingredients

  • 1-14 oz. bag Kraft caramels
  • 7 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9×13 glass baking dish with foil.

Melt butter in the microwave; this can be done while you’re preparing the crust.

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a very large bowl.

Add melted butter and stir together until well-moistened, using your hands if necessary.

Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish and bake for 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt caramels and heavy cream in a medium saucepan on low to medium heat, stirring very frequently until smooth.

Remove crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips and walnuts, then pour in the caramel, using a spatula to spread it out and into the corners.

Press the remaining crust mixture on top.

Bake for 25 minutes; cool in baking dish on a wire rack.

Wait until bars are completely cool before cutting.

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