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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

It was potluck week at church again and I was, as always, signed up to bring a dessert and faced with the tough decision of what I wanted to make. My problem is that I have certain favorites that I'd love to make again and again, but I also have hundreds (literally) of recipes saved that I want to try...so I usually opt to make something new. I recently picked up a few bags of caramels on sale at Walgreens and have been waiting for a recipe to use them in! This one turned out to be perfect. The oatey (I think I made that word up) crust was thick and buttery (2 1/2 sticks of butter will do that...), and the caramel/chocolate combo was perfect!

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars
(recipe found here, a blog I stumbled upon when searching for pumpkin recipes...can't wait to make her pumpkin pie bars!!)

-1 package caramel cubes
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-2 cups old-fashioned oats
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 cup packed light brown sugar
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-2 1/2 sticks butter (Yikes!! Next time I might reduce to 2!)
-1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
2. Unwrap the caramel candies (worst step of the recipe :)). Place caramels and cream in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted.
3. Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with a fork or your hands (I just used my kitchen aid mixer and this worked fine) until mixture is coarse and crumbly.
4. Spread about half of the mixture in the pan, pressing down to form a crust. Bake for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the crust from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust and pour the caramel over the chocolate.
7. Top with the remaining crumb mixture and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes.