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.
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
- 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
- 1 cup Kraft caramel bits
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 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.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and both sugars. Stir very well, then stir in the oats and coconut.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.