Oatmeal Turtle Jumbles

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Oatmeal Turtle JumblesThere are certain recipes that get bumped up to the top of my to-bake list. When I saw this in my Google reader, I knew this was one such recipe. How could it not be?

Not only does it have chocolate and caramel, it’s made in a pan and can just be sliced. With that said, the bars are a bit time consuming–you have to unwrap caramels (I still can’t find the unwrapped baking caramels anywhere in LA!) and there is a melt on the stove step, but they’re definitely worth the fuss!

An oatmeal cookie base, gooey chocolate layer (with pecans if you don’t think, as I do, that nuts ruin everything), and oatmeal and caramel top. It really doesn’t get much better than that, does it? I think the next time I make these (trust me, there will be a next time), I’ll sprinkle some sea salt in the chocolate mixture because I’m still on my salty-sweet kick.

Photos of the process here.

Base and Topping Ingredients
6 ounces (12 TBSP or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup purchased caramels halved

Filling Ingredients
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup pecans (I omitted these)
1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; coat a 9 x 13-inch baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. Cream butter and both sugars in a bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and mix to blend, followed by the flour, baking soda, and salt; mix to incorporate. Add in oats and mix on low speed until incorporated.
  4. Crumble 2 cups of dough over the bottom of the prepared baking sheet. Press to cover base of the pan (don’t push dough up the sides); set aside.
  5. Add halved caramels to remaining dough, working them in with your fingers; set aside for the topping.
  6. Melt chocolate chips, condensed milk, and cocoa powder together for the filling in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until mixture is smooth, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and stir in the pecans and vanilla.
  7. Pour the filling over the dough in the pan and spread evenly. (I used an offset spatula to do this.) The layer will be fairly thin.
  8. Crumble dough with caramel pieces evenly over the top of the chocolate. Bake bars for 30 minutes, or until chocolate is set and topping is firm. Cool bars completely before cutting.

Recipe adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody.

Salted Butter Caramels

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Salted Butter Caramels As we’ve discussed before, salt and caramel are one of the best combinations ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. EVER. And these caramels may just be the best ever. You should go make them now. Seriously.

I know what you’re saying, “I don’t want to use corn syrup, blah blah blah.” Well, David has some alternatives to corn syrup in his post so go read it, make the caramels, then tell David and myself how much you love us. Ignore what your thighs say, they’re not allowed to have an opinion about this.

Photos of the process here.

3/4 cup (180 ml) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, bean paste, or powder
rounded 1/2 teaspoon + 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel
1/2 cup (160 g) light corn syrup, golden syrup (such as Lyle’s) or rice syrup*
1 cup (200 g) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 g), total, salted butter, cubed, at room temperature


  1. Line a 9-inch (23 cm) loaf pan with foil and spray the inside with cooking spray. (I used non-stick foil–that stuff is incredible!)
  2. Heat cream, two tablespoons butter, vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt in a small saucepan until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat, cover, and keep warm while you cook the syrup.
  3. In a medium, heavy duty saucepan (4 quarts, 4l), fitted with a candy thermometer, heat the corn syrup with the sugar and cook, stirring gently, to make sure the sugar melts smoothly. Once the mixture is melted together and the sugar is evenly moistened, only stir as necessary to keep it from getting any hot spots.
  4. Cook until the syrup reaches 310ºF (155ºC). To get an accurate reading while the syrup is cooking, tilt the saucepan to make sure the bulb of the thermometer is fully submerged in the syrup. (I had never done this before, and that could easily explain why I’ve burned sugar in the past. Good tip from David!)
  5. Turn off the heat and stir in the warm cream mixture until smooth.
  6. Turn the heat back on and cook the mixture to 260F (127C).
  7. Remove the pan from the heat, lift out the thermometer, and stir in the cubes of butter until they’re melted and the mixture is smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and wait ten minutes, then sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the sea salt over the top. Set on a cooling rack and let cool completely. Once cool, lift out the foil with the caramel, peel away the foil, and slice the bar of caramel with a long, sharp knife into squares or rectangles.

Storage: These caramels can be individually-wrapped in cellophane or waxed paper. Once cut, they may stick together if not wrapped. Store in an air-tight container, and they’ll keep for about one month.

Recipe from David Lebovitz.

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