Chewy Chocolate Caramel Bars

7layerbar

Recently, my kids did me a huge favor.  They provided childcare at one of my Eat Cheap! classes free of charge.  There was a whole passle of kids, and the majority were age three and under.  Prior to the class, my kids knew one of them.  So, you can imagine how excited the majority of the little ones were about hanging out with my crew.  It was pretty intense!  Anyway, I told them afterward how much I appreciated both their willingness to help as well as their stick-to-itiveness in the midst of the chaos.

Here’s what I made for them in “payment”:

2 c. rolled oats
1 3/4 c. flour, divided
3/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1 t. baking soda
1 c. butter, melted
1 bag of baking caramels, unwrapped plus 2 T. milk (melted together) OR 1 c. caramel ice cream topping
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 and spray 9×13 with cooking spray.

Combine oats, 1 1/2 c. flour, brown sugar and baking soda; stir in melted butter with a fork until crumbly.  Set aside 1 c. crumb mixture; press the remainder of crumb mixture into pan.  Bake 15 minutes.

Mix caramel and 1/4 c. flour until smooth.  Drizzle over crust, spreading to edges.

Sprinkle reserved crumbles over caramel, then sprinkle chocolate chips over that.

Bake 18-ish minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

Cool completely (if you can stand the wait) before cutting into bars.  (Otherwise, use a spoon to serve.)

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