Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oatmeal Caramelitas....or, Pass the Slimfast!

While blog-cruising one day last week, I came across the inspiration for these yummy, addictive bars on Pioneer Woman's site. She made a version of these with apricot preserves in the middle. Now, my kids can sniff out a fruited dessert blindfolded at 50 paces, so we're not even goin' there with them. Apricot preserves passed off as dessert is just a waste of good butter around here!

Someone in PW's comments section suggested "Oatmeal Caramelitas", which is essentially the same oatmeal struesel type base and topping, but with chocolate chips and caramel topping in the middle instead of the offensive apricots. I went on a google quest and found this recipe.

Would you believe my youngest said (and this is a direct quote), "Mom, I don't want to hurt your feelings but these taste too sweet." Well, I appreciate her honesty and I do have to agree somewhat; they are ridiculously sweet to the point that my teeth hurt, which (you'd think) would have stopped me, but I kept right on munching.

Now, I'm hitting the streets for a four mile run with my crazy dog. Trying to keep up with her might burn half off half of one of these bars!

Oatmeal Caramelitas
Makes 15-18 bars

2 c. plus 6 T. flour, divided use
2 c. quick cooking oats
1 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 1/2 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1 c. walnuts (I omitted)
1 12 oz. jar caramel topping

Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan.

Combine 2 c. flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter in a large bowl. Firmly press half the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish; reserve remaining half for the topping. Bake for 10 minutes.

Sprinkle chocolate chips and walnuts over the crust. Combine the caramel topping with the remaining 6 T. flour, mixing well (I had to microwave mine for 20 seconds to get mine stir-able). Drizzle the caramel mixture over the chocolate chips and nuts. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture evenly over the caramel. Bake for an additional 20 - 22 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

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