These decadent Caramel Bars are magnificent! They are like Turtle Candies with a delicious oatmeal crust layer, then they are topped with a layer of melted caramels, sprinkled with chocolate chips and pecans, and then another crust layer is crumbled on top for a streusel topping. Wow. They ooze, they’re gooey, they’re unbelievable. Because we made these for our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza I froze the bars before cutting them so you don’t see all that gooey deliciousness you normally would. But I assure you, these fabulous Caramel Bars are the BEST!
Back in the 1980s there was a young couple in our church with two boys. They had always wanted a little girl and Cyndy finally conceived for the third time and this time it was definitely a girl. But something in the pregnancy went dangerously wrong. Cyndy’s body started rejecting the baby, her organs starting shutting down, she was about 12 hours from death, and the doctors were going to abort the baby (against Don and Cyndy’s will) in order to save Cyndy’s life.
It was a very harrowing time. I remember many of us from our church getting a prayer chain together and begging God to intervene in Cyndy’s life so that she would live and the baby’s life would not be taken. We prayed and prayed and prayed. Cyndy held on for 24 hours and her organs were not doing any worse and began functioning somewhat so the doctors elected to wait and see. Within a day or two of a massive outbreak of prayer, God answered radically and powerfully. Cyndy regained full strength, full organ usage, and was able to carry that baby girl to term with no further complications. God glorified Himself in answering those heartfelt prayers and that baby girl is grown and in her twenties now.
We’ve lost touch with Don and Cyndy Snyder over the years. But I’ll never forget that story or Cyndy’s A-M-A-Z-I-N-G Caramel Bars. Cyndy used real cream and real butter in the recipe. No substitutes. Turtle candies were really popular in our circles back in the 80s so this tasty bar was always a big hit whenever we made them. These bars have always been one of our most requested Christmas cookies and ones we get some of the most feedback on as well.
You can find caramels in the candy section of the grocery store but not usually on the baking aisle anymore. These are a little labor intensive. You have to peel all the wrappers off the candies, then melt the caramels with butter and cream stirring until the mixture is soft. You partially bake the crust, then the difficult part is spreading the hot caramels over top of the crust. I usually pour the sauce in thin strips over the crust trying as much as possible to cover the entire crust. Then I VERY CAREFULLY spread the caramel layer over the crust to within 1/2″ border.
If you’re not careful enough some of the crust will be swept up into the melted caramels so you have to be patient and use care. After the caramel layer is applied you sprinkle the chocolate chips, pecans and the remainder of the oatmeal streusel crust mixture for topping. Bake again and voila! A marvelous, rich, ooey, gooey bar hits your tastebuds with this fantastic recipe.
If you’re looking for a sensational dessert bar to wow your company for the holidays then this recipe is it! It is so wonderful you will have a hard time sharing these with anyone else. Caramel Bars are addictive and certainly a chocolate lover’s delight! Enjoy.
Caramel Bars are an amazing treat your family will love.
These bars are still slightly frozen, that’s why you can’t see the gooeyness from the caramels and chocolate chips like you would normally. Caramel Bars have always been one of our most requested Christmas cookies.
I guarantee if you take a plate of these bars anywhere they will be wolfed down before you can blink your eyes!
Caramel Bars are addictive! Everyone will want more than just one!
Here’s what I did.
Unwrap the caramels. I made eight batches of this at once so it really was labor intensive!
In a mixing bowl place softened butter, flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, salt and baking soda. I always use UNBLEACHED all purpose flour when baking since it won’t toughen baked goods like bleached flour does.
Mix with a pastry cutter. I’ve also melted the butter and just stirred the ingredients together. That works too though the texture of the streusel is a little different.
Melt caramels, butter and cream in a small saucepan. You will have to stir occasionally and press down the caramels to get them to melt down.
Press half to two-thirds of the oatmeal mixture into a greased 9×13″ baking pan or dish.
Bake at 325 for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and spread caramel layer over top of the crust. Note how I tried to leave about a 1/2 inch border around the edge. This helps prevent the caramels from sticking to the surface of the pan making removal difficult.
Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture on top.
Bake at 325 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven to cool completely.
Because we pack our goodies in poly bags for shipping and deliveries we freeze these bars before cutting. They are too gooey otherwise. My husband took a spatula around the outside edge of the baking pan. Inverted the pan over the bread board. Gave the bottom a hard whack and the bars came out of the pan in one piece. Then he turned the bars right side up. Now he is using a pizza cutter to cut the frozen bars.
Here you can see his lines.
Here’s a close up so you can see a little of the texture of these bars. Caramel Bars are so mouthwatering you will find yourself eating and eating and eating. We could always skip dinner and eat Caramel Bars instead! Uh, maybe not!
We love the gooey caramel and chocolate mixture inside these bars. Consider making a batch of Caramel Bars for your Christmas office party this year.
Here’s the recipe.
(Recipe adapted from Cyndy Snyder, when we attended First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, Largo, FL)
- 32[url href=”http://www.kraftrecipes.com/Products/productmain.aspx” target=”_blank” title=”kraft caramels”] Kraft[/url] caramels (unwrapped)
- 3 tbsp. whipping cream
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1 ½ cups Gold Medal UNBLEACHED all-purpose flour (bleached flour toughens baked goods)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. real butter
- ¾ cup real butter
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup chopped nuts (pecans are best)
- 6-oz. chocolate chips (1/2 bag)
- Melt caramels, 3 tbsp. butter and whipping cream; set aside.
- Mix together ¾ cup butter, oatmeal, soda, flour, brown sugar and salt.
- Put ¾ mixture into greased 9×13” pan.
- Press down.
- Bake 5 minutes in 325° oven.
- Pour caramel mixture over top. (This is VERY HARD to work with and spread, because the mixture is hot and somewhat sticks to the crust if you are not careful.)
- Do your best to spread as evenly as possible.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel topping and then add chopped nuts.
- Sprinkle remaining ¼ oatmeal mixture over all.
- Bake at 325° for 15 minutes.
- Cool completely before cutting into bars.
You can see the caramel layer in the side view of this bar.
I assure you these sinfully rich bars don’t need caramel sauce on top. They are already so very sweet.
Don’t Caramel Bars look scrumptious? You’d better set aside one of these bars in a safe place if you make them–that is, if you expect to taste one!
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