Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Salted Caramel-Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

Tuesdays have become "baking day" for me, mostly due to the fact that I was baking treats to take to chemo every week.  Now that chemo is over, I'm still trying to keep up the baking.  This week I tried a recipe I found on Pinterest.  The original recipe can be found here.  I made a few modifications, the main one being that the original recipe is made in an 8x8 pan, which is much too small! I adjusted the recipe for a 9x11 pan - plenty of bars for everyone!  I also used an 11oz. bag of Kraft Caramel Bits instead of unwrapping all of those caramel squares - my chemo fingers just couldn't do it!  Finally, I sprinkled a little sea salt over the caramel layer before baking.

Well, that's about it!  Let me know if you try them. Hope you like 'em!!  Enjoy!!

Salted Caramel-Chocolate Chip Oat Bars
Adapted from the original recipe at LuLu the Baker.

32 caramel squares, unwrapped (or 1-11oz. bag of Caramel Bits)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
2  teaspoons baking soda
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, coarse

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 9x11" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips and sprinkle evenly with sea salt. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.

*If you try cutting the bars before they are completely cooled, they will fall apart.  Put them in the fridge if you can't wait for the molten caramel to cool down. They should however, be stored and served at room temperature (although warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream wouldn't be a bad idea either).
**If you want to use homemade or store-bought caramel sauce in place of the caramel/cream mixture, use 1 1/4 cups of caramel sauce, and omit the caramel squares and heavy cream.