I charge 500 kisses for these bars! That’s a lot of kisses, but boy, they’re worth it.
I have a very good friend who loves these bar cookies, and whenever he says he wants some cookies, I always say “it’s gonna cost ya”. When he says, “how much?”, I say, ” 500 kisses”. He loves the cookies and I love the pay-off! (This is all in jest, of course.) Try baking these for someone special in your life and see what the reward will be.
No one I know can resist a caramelita bar. The base and top layer is made of flour, butter, oats and brown sugar, and the middle layer consists of chocolate, nuts and caramel, but you can customize this layer with whatever you may have in your pantry. I’ve used different kinds of nuts, coconut, toffee chips and butterscotch chips. They’re a hit however you make them.
Baked in a 13 x 9-inch pan you get about 32 bars. You will need to let them cool about 30 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the pan to prevent the caramel from sticking. Once cool, they cut neatly into the desired number of squares or bars.
Yield: about 32 bars
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 large egg
- 1 package caramels ( 14 – 16 oz.) unwrapped**
- 1/2 cup milk or cream**
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts, or other kinds
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the caramels and milk or cream. Heat gently, and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.
**My tip: a quick and easy step-saver is to use a jar of caramel ice-cream topping instead. It works just as well and I think is less costly. You will need to use 1 1/4 cups of prepared caramel topping if you go this route.
2. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease, or line with parchment, a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
3. In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Mix at low speed just to combine. Add the butter, a chunk at a time, with the mixer running. Once all the butter is in, add the egg.
4. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of this mixture for the topping. Pour the remainder into the prepared pan, and spread evenly. You can lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and then use a loaf pan to press it down evenly. Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 10 minutes.
5. After removing the base from the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the them, and then sprinkle the reserved base mixture over the top. Press down lightly to help it adhere. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.