I couldn’t decide whether to call these “quick” or “easy” but settled on “easy” because even though you can throw these together in a matter of minutes (no mixer required!), they take a while to cool.
These are bar cookies with an oatmeal shortbread base surrounding a center layer of melted caramel filled Ghiradelli squares. If you have a variety pack or different flavors (they also come in mint, dark, and raspberry) you can use one of the other flavors, but the caramel works well. It melts into the chocolate at first, then separated a little as it cools and becomes chewy. My taste testers loved these, and I was happy with how easy they were. This version calls for an 8 inch square pan, but you can easily double it and bake in a 9×13 inch pan. Just watch the bake time because you may have to increase it to about 25 minutes.
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- About a 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup old fashioned or quick oats, not instant
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 9 squares of Ghirardelli Chocolate Caramel Squares or 3 circles of candy apple caramel melted with a tablespoon of cream**
- 2 tablespoons (approximately) miniature chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with foil and spray foil with cooking spray or just line it with nonstick foil.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan or microwave-safe dish, then remove from heat and let cool.
- Thoroughly stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and the oats.
- Whisk the egg yolk and vanilla into the cooled melted butter, then pour into dry mixture and stir until crumbly. Reserve about 1 cup of the mixture and put it in the refrigerator to chill (it's easier to crumble evenly if it's cold). Press remaining into the pan.
- Unwrap the chocolate squares and arrange them in an even layer across the dough.
- Crumble the reserved dough over the top.
- Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, then let cool completely at room temperature (or chill to speed things up). Sprinkle on chips or nuts if using.
- Lift from pan and cut into 16 squares or 8 bars.