I'm gonna be honest with you guys. I started off feeling really uninspired over the weekend. Uninterested, too. I had a list of bookmarked recipes to try in front of me but all of them just looked the same. Nothing really special. But I knew I couldn't leave you guys hanging today, especially since I promised you last week that my schedule would be back to normal.
So, I went ahead and just picked this recipe, most obviously because of the pictures of melted chocolate chunks. They get me every time. But then I swiftly realized that I didn't have any chocolate chunks on hand, neither dark, milk, nor white. And I really didn't want to use chocolate chips because I ALWAYS use chocolate chips and that would be boring.
So I started looking for other mix-ins that go well with oatmeal and after running into quite a few, namely raisins, cranberries, and white chocolate, I came across these bars on Lindsay's site. Chocolate caramel oatmeal bars. It was then that I remembered I had 1/4 of a caramel candy squares bag stashed away somewhere in my pantry. That's when I started getting excited. I had never worked with caramel before. Never tried using it, never tried making it, never anything. This was going to be a first and I was super pumped!
Thankfully, I found the bag. And I got straight to work. I used Tieghan's recipe with some slight adaptations, and then used Lindsays idea of layering the chocolate chips and drizzling the caramel on top. Yes, I ended up using chocolate chips but I didn't distribute them throughout the batter so it doesn't count. Plus, CARAMEL!
I wanted the chocolate and caramel to peak through the top of the bars so I used more dough on bottom and less on top. At first I thought I used too little on top, but the ratio was perfect. You could see just the right amount of caramel and chocolate puddles.
And let me tell you, biting through those chocolate and caramel puddles was even more heavenly than I anticipated. Chocolate, caramel, and oatmeal belong together. That should be established in like, the book of baking rules or something.
I cannot believe that I have deprived myself of this combination for this long. I'm sure that I made up for lost time though. That pan you see up there was demolished in maybe less than three hours? Oh yeah, I mean business.
Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal BarsYield: 16 squares
Ingredients:1 and 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
10 caramel candy squares
2 and 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on opposite edges.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl using an electric hand mixer, add oats, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, egg, and coconut oil. Beat together until combined.
Press about 3/4 of the dough onto the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the dough.
In a small saucepan, melt together caramel and heavy cream over medium-low heat, making sure to stir constantly so the mixture doesn't burn. When caramel is smooth and creamy, drizzle evenly over the chocolate chips.
Crumble the remaining dough with your fingers and sprinkle over the caramel. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
Let cool in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes before lifting out and cutting into bars.
Note: There is a very mild coconut oil flavor in these bars; however, if you don't want any coconut flavor, use REFINED coconut oil, as it is flavorless.