Caramel and Chocolate and Oats…OH MY!
This year for Christmas I had intended on making a Caramel Pecan Pie so I bought a bag of those cute little individually wrapped caramels. I ended up making a traditional Pecan Pie instead…
Then I was going to make a Caramel Apple Pie for New Year’s Day to use up the bag of cute little individually wrapped caramels that were lurking in the pantry. But I made a Pear-Apple Galette instead…
Here it is the middle of January and those cute little individually wrapped caramels are still begging to be used, transformed into a yummy decadent dessert. I simply had to oblige. These kind of remind me of a Magic Cookie Bar in texture and richness…they really pack a sweet punch but have the buttery caramel flavor instead of coconut.
This recipe uses store-bought caramels but you could sub in homemade caramel or a jarred caramel sauce. It also calls for heavy cream and butter but you could sub in coconut milk and coconut oil respectively 1:1. If you are not gluten-free then regular all-purpose flour and any type of rolled oats can be used, I used Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Rolled Oats.
Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Bars
35 individually wrapped caramels (Kraft and Brach’s are gluten-free), unwrapped
4 T. heavy cream
3/4 cup gluten-free flour (I used Cup 4 Cup)
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup light brown sugar (palm sugar works here too)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease an 8×8 glass baking dish and line with parchment paper, leave a few inches hanging over the sides for easier removal.
In a medium sauce pan, over low heat, melt together the caramels and heavy cream, stirring occasionally until smooth. You could also use the microwave to do this!
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the melted butter until well combined. Press half of the oat mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set the other half of the mixture aside.
Bake the cookie crust for about 8 minutes. Remove and while still warm sprinkle the crust with chocolate chips and pecans. Pour the melted caramel over the chocolate and pecans and spread evenly, not all the way to the sides if possible (usually not though!). Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top of the caramel and press lightly into the warm caramel.
Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 12-16 minutes, or until the top is lightly toasty brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool COMPLETELY. Yes, this means completely…about 2 hours on the cooling rack. Loosen the sides without the parchment paper with a sharp knife, gently lift the entire square out onto a cutting board. Using a large sharp knife cut into 24 cookie bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator…they are perfectly fine at room temperature but we found the texture to be better out of the fridge!