They’re made with oatmeal, so they have to be good for you.
This week I’m focused on oatmeal-centric baked goods. Coincidentally both recipes were sent to two of my favorite recipe testers, my kids. Although not my original recipes testers, as I have been baking since my early teens, they definitely have been holding those roles since they were toddlers. So, with about 20 years of experience, they are good at providing feedback, and I’m good at knowing what to make for each. These Chocolate & Caramel Oatmeal Bars were sent to my daughter in Canada. Not only did she like them, but they also survived the week of transit. Definitely a handy recipe to have with holiday travels in the near future!
To learn more about this recipe, originally published in February 2017, keep reading.
As I have mentioned, if I want to mail treats to my kids, they need to be treats that have a long life. So, last week’s chocolate peanut butter crunchies were sent to my son. I do believe he appreciated being the guinea pig for that recipe. To keep all fair, this week’s recipe was shipped to my daughter.
The main consideration (outside of how do I get more chocolate into the recipe) is what can be made to withstand a week of shipping. I decided to focus on bar cookies. They start with a firm consistency, so they wouldn’t lose the moistness that a typical chocolate chip or oatmeal cookie would. Plus, since they are firmer, they would be less likely to break during transit.
My original thought was to make some sort of chocolate infused bar. Before working in the kitchen I texted my daughter to gather her thoughts on adding caramel. That received an affirmative. I agree. Caramel and chocolate- a pretty combination, even in my less chocolate-focused world.
Before getting into the recipe I want to offer a valuable piece of advice. In addition to greasing the pan, I would encourage lining the pan with parchment paper. The caramel tends to overflow the edges just slightly but enough to make it stick to the sides of the pan, even when buttered. You don’t want to lose any of the yumminess of these bars to the sides of the pan!
- 1-½ cups flour
- 1-½ cups oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 7 oz. soft caramels
- 4 Tb. whole milk
- 12 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350
- Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix flour, oats, sugar, butter, baking soda, and salt on medium speed until butter is the size of rice.
- Line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper, and then grease parchment paper with butter or nonstick cooking spray.
- Place 3/4 of the cookie dough in the pan; pat firmly.
- Bake bottom crust for 12 minutes.
- While crust bakes, heat caramels and milk in 30 second increments in microwave, stirring after each.
- Remove crust from oven, spread melted caramel over it.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of caramel.
- Top with remaining cookie dough.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.