Every Wednesday afternoon I volunteer in my church’s kitchen preparing a meal for the evening, and every week I bring dessert to accompany the meal. One of my fellow volunteers (98-year-old Elaine) usually greets me eagerly every Wednesday with the question, “What did you make?” and she is usually quite delighted with my answer. (She has a bit of a sweet tooth.) This week as I was cutting these bars to put on serving trays, Elaine was right by my side supervising. I asked her if she’d like to try one. She tried to act like it was no big deal either way, but I know better. She took one bite of her bar, slapped her hand on the counter, and declared, “These will get you a man!!” This outburst was followed by lots of “mmm’s” and “wow,” and “yum.”
I laughed in astonishment at her comment and then was tickled as she told me to pack up a few extras for her to take home. I teased her that she must be trying to get a man by packing extra bars as bait, but she assured me she had already had the best man there ever was. She then reminisced about her late husband Lee and described how he loved his sweets. She let me know that these bars would have been right up his alley. I’m not sure to whom Elaine’s comment about getting a man was directed. She has met my boyfriend and declared him “a keeper,” and she says she had the best man ever. In any case, we had a good laugh over it, and it gave me great material with which to tease her. I also thought it made for a great recommendation for all of you.
These bars are full of lots of good stuff–oatmeal, chocolate, and an oozing layer of caramel. Elaine wasn’t the only one who liked them.
*This makes a 9 x 13 pan. You can easily halve it for an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 pan.
- 64-70 caramel squares, unwrapped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 and 1/2 cups butter
- 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Unwrap caramels and place them and the heavy cream in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until completely smooth; set aside.
- While the caramels are melting, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 9 x 13 pan with foil or parchment paper to prevent having to scrape baked caramel off the pan. The paper or foil will also make it easy to lift the bars out of the pan for easier cutting.
- In a heat proof bowl, melt the butter and then add brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and baking soda. Mix thoroughly. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the crust. Pour caramel over the chocolate chips, spreading gently to cover the whole surface. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel.
- Bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. (Note: It will take a long time for the caramel to cool down and set. If you cut them too soon, the caramel may just ooze out of the bars completely. You can put them in the refrigerator to help speed up the process, but they should be served at room temperature.)
Source: Lulu the Baker