Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oatmeal chocolate caramel bars

It's a mystery to me why a cookbook called Of Tide and Thyme, first published in 1995 by the Junior League of Annapolis, Maryland, should have ended up for sale in a GoodWill resale shop in Munster, Indiana. But there it was.

These bars are easy to make and, be forewarned, very sweet. And everything will go quicker if you start unwrapping your caramels, and melting them in cream, before doing anything else.

"Chocolate Caramel Oat Melts"

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups oats (either old fashioned or quick)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 (14 ounce) bag caramels

Unwrap the caramels, and begin melting them gently, in the cream, in a small saucepan.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the cold butter, in small chunks, until the mixture is moist and crumbly. Set aside 2 cups of the mixture, and press the remainder into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking dish.

Sprinkle the chocolate morsels over the mixture in the dish. When the cream and caramels are melted and smooth, pour that over the chocolate. Then sprinkle on the remaining 2 cups of cookie mixture.

Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool and cut into squares.

The recipe further recommends refrigerating these bars for at least 3 hours before serving, and then serving them chilled, but -- although I am sure they might be a bit melt-y on a hot summer day, and the refrigerating of them is a good precaution -- they taste just as good at room temperature.

It's a mystery to me, too, why wine writers always agree that one must never drink a dry Champagne or sparkling wine with a sweet dessert. I think the combination is very sensible and tasty. A freezing cold mocha might be good, too, but it will have no fizz. Unless some bright soul thinks hard, and combines the two.

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