Caramel Filled Oatmeal Walnut Bars

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’d like to give thanks for the caramel bits which have released us from the task of unwrapping individual candies.  The task is tedious in and of itself, but what drives me crazy is how the wrappers always find their way to the floor, where a dog will inevitably be waiting,  leading to the other unpleasant job of having to fish a wrapper out of a dog’s mouth.  So thank you, Kraft, for your unwrapped pellets of caramel.  Please don’t discontinue them.  I’ll keep buying them even when I don’t really need them, which is how a bag wound up in my pantry and sat there for months until I finally was in the mood to make these bars.

Caramel Bars

These are kind of like the classic “Caramelitas” which call for caramel sundae sauce, but of course I used caramel bits for a firmer, harder, center.  With the coconut, toasted nuts, and chocolate, these bake into a thick, chewy, candy-like bar which I really like.  If you chill them, make sure to bring them to room temperature before serving or you may break tooth.

Caramel Filled Oatmeal Walnut Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
An oatmeal coconut bar with caramel and chocolate chips in the middle.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup (3.4 ounces) flour, stir and aerate before scooping or weigh
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus a tablespoon old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup very lightly packed angel flake coconut
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling
  • 1 cup Kraft caramel bits
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with nonstick foil or line with regular foil and spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and both sugars. Stir very well, then stir in the oats and coconut.
  3. Mix the melted butter and vanilla, then pour into flour mixture and stir until blended and kind of crumbly. Measure out about a cup of flour mixture, then press the rest tightly in the pan to cover bottom.
  4. In a microwave-safe bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, combine the caramel bits and cream. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave on high, stirring every 10 seconds, until completely melted. Spread melted caramel over oat crust. Sprinkle nuts and chocolate chips over oat crust, then sprinkle reserved oat mixture over the top.
  5. Bake on center rack for about 30 to 35 minutes, laying a sheet of foil loosely over top during last 10 minute to prevent over-brownies.. Let cool completely, then lift from pan and cut into squares.
Notes
If you double, use a 9x13 inch metal pan. For a cleaner cut, chill before slicing. Keep in mind that if you do this, the bars will get become very firm in the refrigerator. Cut while firm, then bring to room temperature before serving.

 

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Comments

  1. Martha in KS says

    Wow – I’m keeping this one. I’ve still got caramel left from Halloween. This maybe the perfect use for it. No walnuts, though.

  2. says

    For some reason, they are always on sale for .99 at Target, perhaps because Target thinks people only use them for making caramel apples! I also like the bits because they are easier to measure and melt in a much neater and more consistent fashion.

  3. Darlene says

    These look positively scrumptious! I wonder if omitting the coconut would make a big difference in the outcome of these. My sons dislike coconut immensely.

  4. says

    I love caramel and chocolate and nuts together! When you add oats it says healthy to me!!! Since reading your blog I ALWAYS toast my nuts-even in the Microwave sometimes as you suggested for small amounts.

  5. says

    Gloria, I’m happy to hear you’ve mastered microwave-nut toasting. Given the variables of microwave wattage and type and amount of nut, it may take a few trial runs for people to figure out the correct settings, but it’s a really quick and easy way to toast nuts when you’re only using a handful. Thanks for posting that it works for you.

    Darlene, I think the bars would be fine without the coconut.

  6. Carolyn says

    Caramel bits… something else we don’t have in Canada (along with the unique flavours of Oreos, Shout Colour Catchers,etc). Maybe when Target comes to Canada next year we’ll get these things.

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