If you're one of my close friends, it's very likely I've shoved a caramel bar in your mouth by now. The recipe I'm going to share today is one of the first desserts I ever learned how to make and it's a Francis family classic. Caramel bars are super easy and always a crowd pleaser (I account it to the Paula Deen approved amount of butter used).
· 2 1/2 sticks Butter
· 2 cups Flour
· 1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar
· 1 tsp Baking Soda
· 1/2 tsp Salt
· 2 cups Oatmeal
· 12 oz. Semi-sweet morsels
· 66 caramels
· 6 Tbsp Milk
First, preheat your oven to 325. Then, melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.
I use this handy-dandy dessert cutter to mix together the ingredients because I lack any sort of mixer. If you don't have a dessert cutter or mixer you can use two knives to cut the mixture together.
Once the mixture blended, slowly add in oatmeal. Mix the oatmeal in the mixture using the dessert cutter.
Next you'll want to break out a 9 X 13 baking pan, grease the bottom, and using about half of the mixture start pressing it into the pan. Stick the first layer in the oven at 325 for 10 minutes.
While the base is baking, take your unwrapped 66 caramels and 6 Tbsp. milk and start to melt the caramels in the microwave. Now, this is probably the most annoying step about making these bars and I've thought about how to improve on this process, but so far I'm coming up blank. I usually start with 2 rounds in the microwave at 90 seconds, giving the bowl a little time to cool off before reheating. Then I go in 60 second increments until the mixture is smooth without any clumps. Be warned - the bowl will get extremely hot.
Once your base is done baking, you'll top the layer with the chocolate chips, then pour the caramel mixture over that (use a towel of oven mitts to hold the bowl!).
Finally, use the last half of the oatmeal mixture as the top layer. Again, because the last layer is so hot, what I do is just take pieces of the mixture, pat and flatten it in my hands, then lay it across the top until the mixture is gone/the top is covered. Stick your finished product in the oven for another 20 minutes or until golden brown (I think I usually let mine back for another 3-5 minutes, but that could just be my shady oven).
And there you have it! Sweet, delicious, buttery, salty Caramel Bars! Enjoy!!