Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oatmeal Caramel Bars

Oatmeal Caramel Bars - made September 26, 2010 from Cookies by Better Homes & Garden

The recipe calls for making this in an 15 x 10" baking pan but I made it in a 9 x 13" pan instead. Subsequently, they came out thicker than the cookbook authors intended but I thought they were just the right thickness. I almost doubled the amount of milk called for in melting the caramels as my previous experience with BHG recipes is they don't thin the caramel enough and after baking, the caramel becomes hard and chewy when cool. I didn't want to risk that. However, I might've thinned it a little too much. Next time, I'd add only 1 extra tablespoon of milk instead of 2.

I also omitted the nuts from this as is my wont but in this case, I think it might've been better to keep them in. The taste is good but the texture is all the same gooey-ness. Nothing wrong with that but I like contrasting textures in something sweet. So toasting some pecans and adding them finely chopped probably would've made this a better product. Next time. Oh and I also baked this for a little over 30 minutes. It wouldn't have hurt to bake it a little longer but I was working out while this was baking and I didn't want to keep stopping my workout to go check on the bars :).

1 cup butter
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 6-ounce package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate pieces
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
24 vanilla caramels (7 ounces)
2 tablespoons milk

1. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until softened. Add about 1 cup of the flour to the butter. Then add the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and baking soda. Beat till thoroughly combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the remaining flour. Stir in the rolled oats.
2. For crust, press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the oat mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan. Sprinkle with the chocolate pieces and nuts.
3. In a medium saucepan combine the caramels and milk. Cook and stir over low heat till the caramels are melted. Drizzle the caramel mixture over the chocolate and nuts. Drop the remaining oat mixture by rounded teaspoons on top of the caramel layer.
4. Bake in a 350˚F oven about 25 minutes or till top is lightly browned. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Makes 60.

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