Dessert comes in many forms, but a pan of bars is one of my favorite ways to feed my sweet tooth. You may call them “squares” or “treats” in your neck of the woods, but whatever you title them, our taste buds can all agree that they’re satisfyingly sweet.
Growing up, our family had several bar recipes that were on regular rotation. Rice Krispy Bars and Special K Bars were the most common competitors, but Caramelitas were tossed into the mix on occasion, too, along with my mom’s gooey chocolate-frosted oatmeal bars (which I have not yet shared with you but must do soon!).
Bars make for perfect potluck contributions and casual picnic desserts. At our house, though, Caramelitas didn’t often make it off the kitchen counter, much less out the door, because there were usually none left to transport. Half of them were usually MIA before the pan had even cooled.
That tends to happen, I’ve noticed, when you bake bars in a square pan. It’s smaller, so you feel like you’re not eating as much, and before you know it, you’re staring at crumbs.
Bonus: these bars are extra decadent when they’re fresh from the oven. The chocolate and caramel have started to melt, and they’re surrounded by warm, crumbly oatmeal topping that falls apart if you don’t eat your portion with a spoon.
Oven-baked desserts are my favorite at this time of year!
Fall always makes me think of caramel. Caramel apples, caramel corn, caramel-filled candies for the trick-or-treaters…
And caramel makes me think of warm Caramelitas straight out of the oven. Hey, if the trick-or-treaters get caramel goodies, I think those of us handing out the candy deserve something sweet and caramel-y, too! :)
Or I suppose we could all just shut off the lights, pretend nobody’s home, and keep all the caramel to ourselves.
That works too.
- 32 square wrapped caramels, unwrapped
- 5 Tbsp. cream
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup quick oats
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8-inch square pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt caramels with cream, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat.
- In a bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, melted butter, baking soda, and salt. Press half of flour mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over bars. Pour caramel on top, and cover with remaining flour mixture.
- Return pan to oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until bars are lightly browned.
If you're looking for an easy shortcut, use caramel ice cream topping instead of making homemade caramel sauce on the stove.