I decided to make these Oatmeal Carmelitas because I had some extra caramel and they looked delicious and gift worthy. They were SUPER easy to make. I ran out of chocolate chips, but since I always have lots of bars around (I stock up when they are on sale) I made some milk-chocolate chunks. And for the nuts I chopped up some of my dwindling Costco mixed party nuts - I wanted to use salted nuts because I know that salted caramel is such a big hit. The verdict - they went like hot cakes at work and people (ok a few friends) raved about them. One partner said that I was getting too good at the baking thing and that it started to make him worry and one friend said something like -"oh my god @#$& why do you insist on ruining my diet with all this fattening food.... yum, hmmn, wow!" Your caramel fans will love these.
-Best of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookies and Bars
2 cups AP flour
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups butter or margarine, room temperature
1 jar caramel topping (1 cup)
3 tablespoons AP flour
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
½ cup chopped nuts (salted)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 13x9-inch pan with tin foil and leave some hanging over the edge. Grease tin foil with butter or cooking spray.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or another bowl with hand mixer) mix together the butter and brown sugar until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until crumbly (do not over-mix or you will have a dough rather than crumbs).
Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for topping. Press other half into bottom of pan and bake 10 minutes.
In a small bowl mix caramel topping and 3 tablespoons of flour.
When crust is done partially baking, sprinkle with chocolate chips or chunks and nuts. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.
Bake 18-22 minutes longer until top is golden brown. Cool completely in pan on cooling rack, about 1 hour. Refrigerate until filling is set, 1-2 hours. Cut into bars.