Treat Week: Salted Caramel Bars

I saw this recipe on an episode of Kelsey’s Essentials and knew I had to make it. Salted caramel is one of those sublime sweets that appeals to those who love a bit of salty with their sweet. My husband especially loves anything with salted caramel, so I picked this as a goodie for treat week. It doesn’t skimp on the butter and sugar (I felt like a I needed to take a jog just making it), but these could be the yummiest bars I’ve made this year. They were fun to make and fun to eat. David’s utterance after his first bite, “Oh My …”.

adapted from: Kelsey’s Essentials

2 cups flour
1 ¾ cups old-fashioned oats
1 ¼ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup chocolate chips
heaping ¾ cup chopped pecans
1 ½ cups salted caramel sauce, recipe follows

2 ½ tablespoons flour

salted caramel sauce:
1 cup sugar
¼ cup water
¾ cup heavy cream
3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon gray sea salt, crushed or kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan.

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and softened butter in the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low until crumbly. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.

Press half of the crumb mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips and the chopped pecans evenly over the cooled crust. Whisk the salted caramel sauce and flour together, and drizzle over the chocolate chips and nuts. Top with the remaining crumb mixture.

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Allow the pan to cool, and refrigerate it until the caramel filling is set.

Cut into bars or triangles and serve.

Salted Caramel Sauce:
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. (Do not stir at any time during this whole process.) Increase the heat slightly and bring to a boil. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color. (Once the mixture goes from clear to light tan, it will darken to amber very quickly, so don’t walk away!)

Remove the sugar from the heat, let sit for a few seconds, then carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble vigorously. Stir in the unsalted butter and the salt. Transfer the caramel to a glass measuring cup and cool.

Cooks Note: This recipe will last in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.

*The salted caramel sauce is also delicious as a dip for apples or bananas, poured over ice cream, or for making salted caramel milkshakes.

1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup salted caramel sauce

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