I really shouldn't be sharing this recipe with you. Be warned, if you make it once you will make it again, and again, and again. You will soon be finding random excuses to make it like "a treat to enjoy while watching the bachlorette..." And then it will ultimately lead to your sugar demise. Matt and I aren't quite to the demise point yet because i continue to make them and we continue to gobble up as many as we can without going into a sugar/butter coma. Addicting to say the least. So here we go, i give you salty carmelitas, the Muir's favorite new dessert. Don't say you weren't warned :)
2 cups flour
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
20 tablespoons salted butter
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup of milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup of dark chocolate chips
coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 bag of caramels
1/2 cup heaving whipping cream
-Preheat oven to 350. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, rolled oats, light-brown sugar, baking soda and table salt. Place butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat butter in microwave until melted. Stir vanilla extract into melted butter then pour mixture over dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients together until combined. Press half of the oat mixture evenly into the bottom of a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish (i used my awesome flexipat from Demarle) and bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. In my experience you only want the crust/bottom layer to get slightly golden, if it over cooks here then it will be too cripsy/almost burned in the end.
-While the crust is baking make the caramel sauce. I have a great homemade caramel sauce recipe that i tried using however it was too runny so for these bars i stick with the store bought caramel method. Pour cream over caramels in a microwave safe bowl, heat mixture on HIGH power in 30 second intervals, stirring well after each interval until melted and smooth (alternately you can combine the two ingredients in a saucepan and melt over low heat), set aside
- Remove the bottom layer from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips into an even layer over baked cookie crust, then pour caramel mixture evenly over chocolate chip layer. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt evenly over caramel layer, then sprinkle top evenly with remaining oat mixture. I like to break up the rest of the oat mixture in my hands as i sprinkle it on top that way its not too clumpy.
-Bake in preheated oven 16 - 18 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven, sprinkle top evenly with an 1/8 tsp coarse sea salt (or to taste) and allow to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature, transfer to refrigerator to chill until cool enough to cut into clean squares (mine took about 2 hours chilling). Or you can enjoy them warm after about 20 minutes of cooling at room temperature (you just won't have clean cut squares and the caramel will be really runny) but go ahead dig your spoon in there and take a bite, because honestly who can wait 2 hours?!