Thursday, April 2, 2009

Oatmeal Carmelita Bars



So, I just recently discovered my nearby public library - my mother would be so proud - I don't know anyone who is not a librarian who spends more time in the library. I had the most amazing Saturday - a normal person Saturday with no work, no guilt about the work I should be doing and no dread for the work that must get done the next day! A whole weekend off = priceless! Anyhow, someone like me is not normally out during normal library hours - but this Saturday I was and I popped in to see what they had.

I have to tell you it was an epiphany. All these cookbooks that I can take home and test drive? Love it! You can be a lot more experimental when you don't have to pay for it (and justify yet ANOTHER baking book). So I picked up The Best of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookies and Bars. This is a kick ass book. And I never would have bought it - but now I think I will (oops, the library may end up feeding the cookbook habit!).






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.



Oatmeal Carmelitas


-Best of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookies and Bars


Base
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


Filling
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.


27 comments:

  1. I love checking out cookbooks from the library, thinking I'm being so frugal...but it does lead to the odd purchase! This book (and recipe) look enticing.

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  2. You convinced me I am trying this one.. They look fantastic!!I love that middle layer! I check out books from the library before buying them also:)

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  3. Haha, yes - I do the same thing with library books! So far I've been able to exercise restraint and not buy too many of the ones I've tried but it's tough. This recipe looks delicious. Salty and sweet together is such a great combination!

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  4. I've been on such an oatmeal kick lately and these look so good. Of course, it's the chunks of chocolate that are really crying out to me.

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  5. These sound and look delish and I'm going to make them soon!

    Maria
    x

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  6. Those bars look delicious! And everyone knows that to be successful with weight loss you have to have treats. No question. You're not runing anyone's diet. :P

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  7. I love anything baked with oatmeal. Your pictures sold me on this recipe!

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  8. I can't believe I missed these. I love oatmeal and the chocolate inside looks soooo yumeee. Hopefully there can be a repeat performance.

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  9. I love those bars...they look scrumptious. I had a brownie this week with an oatmeal topping -- so good!

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  10. those look really decadent! I'm lactose intolerant too, but it's only for milk and when it's cooked, it's ok.

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  11. These look great. And now I am going to dust of my library card and put it to good use because Lord knows I have a cookbook addition.

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  12. If you substitute canned dulce de leche for the caramel sauce, it totally changes the dimension of the dessert.

    Not that I would know anything about that........

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  13. Genius! I never thought about going to the library and checking out books to test drive them.

    Your bars look fabulous :)

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  14. What a great idea - I'll have to check out my local libraries...

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  15. Wow, those look really good. I always go to the library for cookbooks and magazines. Saves me a lot of cash!

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  16. Oh my gah, these bars look delicious. Soooo delicious! Obviously, I am just now getting through my google reader. I'm sorry that it took me so long to get to these. Man, do they look good. Todd's mom is a librarian, so he's always at the library. You and he are making me feel guilty--the only library I've set foot in recently is the law one (and there's certainly no pleasure in that). Hope your weekend is going fabulously!

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  17. These look delicious! Oats and chocolate together has to be healthy, right - roughage and anti-oxidants?? I have never utilised the library for my cookbook addiction, but I should - the books are taking over my house, and as with us all, I need to tighten my financial belt.

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  18. Lorelei, this looks really good!! I almost always borrow cookbooks from the library and until I absolutely love it, I will not buy my own copy haha. Or else I'd need a whole room to stock my cookbooks!

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  19. WOW these look soooooo good! and i'm glad you found your local library; my mom actually is a librarian so i spent my life growing up in her library, hahaha

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  20. First blondies and now this? You are killing me, woman! ;)

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  21. My mom gave me that cookbook when I started entering the Pillsbury BakeOff years ago. The caramelita bars are my absolute favorite recipe it in - they are a huge crowd pleaser (just don't tell anyone how much butter is involved!). Super cute blog!

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  22. MMMMMM...Looks really delicious!! Nice picture too!!

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  23. A tasty combination of a brownie and oatmeal cookie! I love this, yum.

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  24. Mmmmm, Mmmm, those look scrumptious!!!
    ~ingrid

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  25. These look great! Like you, I don't work normal people hours and have yet to make it to my local library. I think I may just have to venture out on my next Saturday off after your good luck.

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