As the holidays grow near I find myself yearning for all things holiday (like being off work, food and Christmas cookies). I go back and forth between being very festive and not festive at all. This year I’m feeling festive. Which means I will take the holiday by storm with food.
For some people, Black Friday is for shopping. When I was growing up it was the day we went and chopped down or own Christmas tree, decorated it, hung Christmas lights, etc. It was also a day that my mom got to baking Christmas cookies. As an adult, I try to keep the family traditions alive. I will say that it’s hard to feel all Christmas-y as I write this and the temperature outside is 76.
For Christmas cookie making this year I want to do a mix of old recipes and new. But mainly I want to try new ones. I’ve seen recipes for Chocolate Caramelitas floating around for years but never got around to making any. I found a recipe for Caramel Chocolitas from Better Homes and Gardens, which is basically the same thing as Chocolate Caramelita I believe, and the relative simplicity of it won me over.
Speaking of winning things over, these bars will do just that to anyone with whom you share.
- 2 c. flour
- 1 3/4 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. butter, melted (or brown your butter which will kick this recipe up a notch!)
- 1 14 oz package vanilla caramels, unwrapped
- 1/3 c. milk
- 2 c. semisweet chocolate pieces (plus additional for garnish)
- 1 c. milk chocolate pieces (plus additional for garnish)
- 1 c. chopped pecans (plus additional for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending it over edges of pan. Spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, soda, and salt. Add melted butter and mix until crumbly. Reserve half of crumb mixture for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of prepared baking pan.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and milk. Microwave on 50 percent power (medium) for 4 to 6 minutes or until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring as needed.
- Sprinkle chocolate pieces and pecans over crust in pan. Drizzle evenly with melted caramel mixture and sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Sprinkle with additional chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Use the parchment paper to lift uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars.
These bars were a huge hit with my coworkers. I loved them as well but thought they were missing one tiny thing that would have made them a mega-hit: flakey sea salt on top. I would highly recommend!