Oatmeal Caramel Bars

(originally made 2/2013)

Snowy here yesterday and a perfect day to bake. I'd accumulated 2 jars of caramel ice cream topping and did a quick search to see what I could find in MasterCook to use some up.   This recipe was perfect, it's from the Waiting for Gateau blog, which either is gone or not working at the moment.    They adapted the recipe from a book- Waiting for Gateau: No Nonsense Baking from Our Kitchen to Yours.   

I made a few swaps-  I had quick oats instead of old fashioned.    I used dark chocolate chips instead of semi sweet.    No nuts in our household, so I crushed up Rice Krispies.    I also used salted butter because that's what was on hand.  Next time I'd use the entire jar of caramel too.

I cut mine into about 28 squares.   They are rich and addictive and I'm sending home a dozen with the inlaws to get them out of here!

 * Exported from MasterCook *

                           Oatmeal Caramel Bars

  Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
--------  ------------  --------------------------------
  1 1/2           cups  all-purpose flour
  1 1/2           cups  old-fashioned rolled oats- used quick oats
  1                cup  dark brown sugar -- packed
     3/4      teaspoon  baking soda
     1/2      teaspoon  salt
     3/4           cup  unsalted butter -- room temperature- used regular
  1                cup  caramel ice cream topping
  4        tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  1                cup  semisweet chocolate chips- used dark chocolate
  1                cup  chopped -- toasted walnuts or pecans- used Rice Krispies

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a 9x13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray.   With an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients and mix at low speed until it is crumbly and resembles wet sand.  Reserve half of the crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for the topping.

Press the remaining crumb mixture in bottom of the prepared pan. Chill the pan for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze the remaining topping with your hand to make large crumbles. Refrigerate the crumble topping until ready to use.  Bake the bottom crust for 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine caramel topping and flour; blend well.  Remove the partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with the caramel mixture; sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture breaking up any very large pieces as you go.

Bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars. Keep refrigerated.

Makes 18 3x2-inch bars

from the cookbook, Waiting for Gateau: No Nonsense Baking from Our Kitchen to Yours


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