Let me read your mind. You’re in love with these chocolate caramel oatmeal bars and their ooey-gooey-chocolate-caramel middle layer, tied for first place with the buttery-soft oatmeal cookie crust. Yes, yes you are.
Let me read your mind again. You’re not a caramel person.
First of all, that’s weird and you should reconsider. Secondly, this:
So now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about my absence from the internet the last few days, gooooing on weeks. The internet is weird, because it’s like after the initial phase of feeling like you’re going to shrivel up and die socially, you kind of want to stay gone from the internet. Do you know what I mean? And am I from another time period? because I always want to capitalize Internet.
Other than my brief internet encounter last week to give away some free spa money, Bjork’s been holding down things here on Pinch o’ Yum while I’ve been living up the rustic life in the Wisconsin Northwoods. aka laying on the dock. My brothers did their usual crazy things while my parents tried to keep up and Bjork and I read books and drank Arnold Palmers and ate too many of these bars. Family time.
I also went to our friends’ baby’s first birthday party.
And I should be done editing all the pictures I took around the time he turns 18. So definitely been busy.
But enough about my personal social life outside of the Internet with a capital I. Let’s talk about CARAMEL in all caps. Like what caramel looks like when lovingly poured over chocolate chips over buttery oatmeal crust.
Something about these bars is just so dang good. Like get outta the house or get in my belly good. I mean, you heard my girl Jill in the email at the beginning. She doesn’t even like caramel, but oh, this caramel. This caramel and these bars that have that magic power that draws you in and never lets you go. And do you want to hear a true story? I was shaking my head in awe as I wrote that part about the magic power. Official weird food blogger status: achieved.
This recipe comes from my mom’s recipe box, which is a cute little wooden box that is full of every kind of recipe hand-written on a card. The box itself is both totally priceless and a little bit frightening. She has about a million recipe cards floating around in there. The salads are in with the desserts, which are in with the casseroles, and op! here’s Grandma’s applesauce! I’ve been looking for that recipe card everywhere! And on, and on, and on. I spent a lazy afternoon just grabbing a stack of recipe cards out of that box and flipping through them, and I think I could do that for another whole week.
Speaking of recipe cards, this one says it’s from the Pluckers. I don’t know the Pluckers, but dear Pluckers, thank you to the moon and back for this most incredible ooey-gooey-can’t-stop dessert bar recipe. You nailed it.
These chocolate caramel oatmeal bars have a sticky-sweet layer of melted chocolate and caramel over a oatmeal cookie crust. SO addicting!
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons salted butter, melted and slightly cooled
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
40 soft caramel candies
6 tablespoons milk or cream (I used heavy whipping cream)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter, let it cool, and pour into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir (I just used a wooden spoon) until a soft dough forms. It should be just slightly crumbly. If the dough feels wet and heavy, add a little more flour.
Press 3/4 of the dough into a 9×13 baking dish. Reserve the remaining 1/4 for topping. Bake for about 13 minutes or until the top is barely golden brown.
While crust is baking, unwrap caramels and melt in the microwave with the cream. Stir until the mixture is smooth and pourable.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crust. Pour the melted caramel over the chocolate chips. Crumble the remaining dough with your fingers (add a little more flour if it’s not crumbly enough) and sprinkle over the top of the bars. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the top layer is golden brown. Let stand for several hours or until the caramel is cooled.