Caramel Oatmeal Bars
Layered bars are not a new baking sensation. They’ve been around for ages. What I love about them is how easy they are to vary. Change up the crust or the filling or the topping, and you’ve got a new sweet treat suited specifically to your tastes!
These particular bars follow a bar layering strategy that is one of my all-time favorites. A buttery, oat-y, crumbly bottom and top layer with deliciousness in between. Specifically, these have a creamy caramel layer nestled between all that oat goodness. Plus, there’s just a little bit of chocolate under all that caramel. If you like more chocolate, feel free to toss in a little extra.
This is a lovely blend of flavors, as the rich caramel is mellowed a bit by the oat crust. They are still quite rich, so a small bite goes a long way. They are thick and chewy and just about perfect. These are ideal candidates for sharing. Or, maybe they’re too good for sharing.
Caramel Oatmeal Bars
Yield: 24 2-inch bars or 48 1"x 2" bars
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Rich caramel and a buttery oatmeal crust and crumb topping combine in these bars for an irresistible treat.
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 & 1/4 cups unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
- 48 soft caramels (such as Kraft caramels)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9″x 13″x 2″ baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper, leaving about a 2-inch overhang on the short ends.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the butter, using a fork or your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press half of the mixture onto the bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake until just set and starting to brown around the edges (about 20 minutes). Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes.
- While the crust is baking, cook the caramels and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the caramels are melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Sprinkle the partially baked crust with chocolate chips. Drizzle the caramel mixture over the chocolate chips and crust. Top with the remaining crumb mixture.
- Bake 20-25 minutes, or until pale golden. Cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.
Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart.