So the way I look at it, people have preferences. Specifically when it comes to flavors. A LOT of people are big peanut butter lover’s and gravitate towards anything peanut butter and chocolate. Other’s prefer chocolate in it’s unadultered form. Many people would rather have something less rich and more pure- like vanilla anything. The list goes on and on. But either way you look at it- people have a “number one”. Personally I am a mocha, coffee-and-chocolate kind of girl. A close second- caramel. Love it!
I don’t think I have shared a true caramel recipe yet. I made some Caramel Crumb Bars last summer, but the filling was simply a dulce de leche mixture made from sweetened condensed milk. Not a true caramel. Although pretty damn good. So I decided it was high time I bring one to the forefront.
It wasn’t until recently that I had ever heard of them. I found them on the Brown Eyed Baker and thought they looked so decadent and delicious. I put them on my to do list and have finally had the opportunity to bake some up.
Wow, are these rich. They are a great, wonderful rich. But you definitely only need a single square to hit the spot. They are not the kind of treat you can just endlessly pop in your mouth like some cookies… (chocolate chip, you addictive devil’s you!) They are perfect for bringing to a party because they so easily can be cut up and served. And as I said, they are quite satisfying.
The filling is super easy to throw together- just a melted bag of Kraft Caramels and 1/2 cup evaporated milk. The filling is identical to another bar that I have eyed in the past too. Except that one has a chocolate crust and this one has an oatmeal cookie one.
And as much as I like caramel, I think my favorite part of this bar has got to be the oatmeal crumble crust. It’s just so delicious- nice and buttery. And the texture is just perfect.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cups light brown sugar
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 14 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Add the oats and mix on low briefly to just combine.
- Transfer approximately half of the dough mixture to the baking dish. Spread and press the dough into the baking dish until you have an even layer with no cracks or crumbles. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven.
- While the dough is baking, combine the evaporated milk and caramels in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture constantly until all the caramels are melted and you have a thick sauce. Allow to cool until cookie base comes out of the oven.
- Once out of the oven, sprinkle the cookie base evenly with chocolate chips and pecans, and then carefully pour the caramel sauce over the cookie base, nuts, and chocolate. Use an offset spatula to spread the caramel sauce into an even layer.
- Sprinkle the remaining cookie dough over the top of the caramel-chocolate-nut mixture a handful at a time, making sure to get an even coating over the whole dish.
- Return the dish to the oven, baking until the topping is lightly browned, about 15 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, allow the dish to cool completely and then refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight (optional- make for an easier cut, but harder cookie). Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
adapted from Blue Bonnets & Brownies