By the way, nothing in this post is Paleo-friendly. I get one cheat meal a week and I take full advantage of it, damnit!
I love to cook. I love trying new recipes. However, I’ve learned that new recipes are a crap shoot. It’s best to try them at home first, instead of using friends and family as your guinea pigs.
With the week I had, there was no time for practice or rough drafts of recipes. Nope, I’d be winging it with a new recipe on Game Day and hoping that it turned out for the best (i.e. no one gets sick).
When using friends and family as guinea pigs, it’s always best to show up with a 2nd dish that is a no brainer. A dish that you know won’t let you down. These Caramel Bars will hide a multitude of sins, including bad first attempts at new recipes. They serve as a distraction to everything else. So much so, that no one will remember that you also brought the weird dip that had to be reheated in the oven for 30 minutes after arriving and was so spicy, people were choking.
32 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped (please tell me you knew to do that without being told, LOL.)
5 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 Cup all purpose flour
1 Cup oatmeal (I used old fashioned. I’m sure quick oats or rolled oats will work the same)
3/4 Cup brown sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar Substitute and made the conversion using the chart on the bag)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 Cup butter, melted (I actually did not use the full amount. I think 1/2 C or 2/3 C is plenty- otherwise you risk it becoming really greasy)
1/2 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 Cup chopped walnuts (Unless you’re like me -I HATE nuts in desserts. I omitted these)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan over low/medium heat, melt the caramels and heavy cream, stirring occasionally until smooth…
2. While those are melting and the oven is doing whatever it does to preheat, stir together in a medium bowl the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter and stir until well blended. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan. Reserve the other half for the next step.
3. Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips (and walnuts, if using)…
Pour the caramel over the top and then crumble the remaining crust mixture over everything…
4. Bake an additional 12 minutes (I believe I baked it for 14), or until the top is lightly toasted. Cut into squares while slightly warm… after cutting, be sure to lick the knife – that’s the best part!