Chocolate Salted Caramel Bars

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Chocolate Salted Caramel Bars

I was going to visit friends with a newborn, and wanted to bring a sweet treat. Since I didn’t have a chance to get the grocery store, I had to make do with what was already in my pantry. This recipe called for the basics. And yes, I usually happen to have jars of salted caramel in pantry–you can blame Trader Joe’s for that.

The reviews for the recipe were all stellar, so I was expecting something pretty amazing and was slightly disappointed. The bar is chewy, but the chocolate definitely overpowers and the caramel isn’t very noticeable. These are OK, but not so incredible that I felt the need to steal half of the pan for myself.

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups cold butter, cubed
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 jar (12 ounces) salted caramel

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Set half aside for topping.

Press the remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.

Whisk caramel topping and remaining flour until smooth; drizzle over top. Sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before cutting. Yield: about 4-1/2 dozen.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

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I’m not sure how I came across this recipe, but I’m sure glad I did! Not only did I think it was fantastic, but it was it a huge hit at the office as well. And since it’s yet another spectacular recipe from Baked, you can believe I’ll be checking out the bakery next time I’m in NYC!

Referring to this as a cake is a bit misleading–it’s more like a 9×13 pan full of delicious, addictive, chewy oatmeal cookie with chocolate chips topped with cream cheese frosting. I know, how can it possibly be bad?

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

Note: Until this recipe, I’d never made anything that required pouring hot water over oats and butter, so I found this a little strange. Also, my oat mixture got got a little gummy while it was cooling, so I wonder if I should have used slow cooking rather than quick cooking oats. Anyone know?

Cake Ingredients
8 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups water
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teas baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Frosting Ingredients
5 tbs unsalted butter, softened
5 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cake Preparation
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and position the rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Heat 1 1/4 cups water to boiling.

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and toss them with the vanilla until covered. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the flour over the chips and toss until coated. This will keep them from settling at the bottom during baking. Set aside.

Place the oats and cubed butter in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over the oat mixture, wait 30 seconds, and stir to moisten all the oats and melt the butter. Set the mixture aside for 25 to 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, both sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon until combined. Fold in the cooled oatmeal and stir until well combined. Gently fold in the remaining flour and then chocolate chops. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes.

Frosting Preparation
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is completely smooth. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined.

Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The frosting can be made 1 day ahead. Let it soften at room temperature before using.)

Spread a thin, even layer of frosting over the cooled cake then chill for 15 minutes until set. Slice and serve. The frosted cake can be kept, refrigerated and tightly covered, for up to 3 days. Bring the cake back to room temperature before serving. (An unfrosted one will keep for 3 days, tightly covered, at room temperature. )

Recipe adapted from Pass the Sushi.

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.

Low(er) Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Low(er) Fat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip CookiesEarlier this week I did something I should have done months ago. I cleaned out my freezer. Why I continually put this task off is beyond me, but it took my fridge making a horrid noise for me to finally to do it. (Alas, the noise did not stop, even with the cleaner freezer.)

What did I find between the freezer burned edamame from Trader Joe’s and super old something wrapped in layers and layers of foil? My homemade applesauce that I had glorious plans to use in cookies and brownies last year. Oh yeah, that applesauce.

I immediately put a container of it in the fridge to defrost and started Googling low-fat oatmeal cookie recipes with applesauce. There are a ton of them! I quickly discovered this four-and-a-half star recipe and decided to give it a shot. I am happy to report these cookies are delicious–moist and chewy inside with a bit crisp on the outside, which to me is the perfect texture for oatmeal cookies. And there is no way you can tell they are missing all that butter! In fact, I think the next time I make them I may replace the two tablespoons of butter with two additional tablespoons of applesauce. Maybe even use some whole wheat flour and see what happens. I know, I live on the edge.

Photos of the process here.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup plain unsweetened applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in the egg, followed by the applesauce and the vanilla extract. Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  4. Drop tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, flattening each cookie slightly. Bake for about 10-12 minute Cookies will be light brown at the edges when done.
  5. Let cool on sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields about two dozen cookies.

Recipe from RecipeZaar.