Saturday, 4 February 2012

Oatmeal Caramel Crumble Bars

Fridays are usually a good day, but yesterday was awful: Higher English prelim exams. *Shudders miserably* It's too depressing to reflect's still too soon. Let's just say I think know I've failed. 
But there's a light at the end of the tunnel, a cure to turn around even the worst of days: take that awful day of yours and smother it in a crunchy, oaty, nutty, chocolaty tray-bake oozing with a layer of caramel. It works!
'Baked In America' is one of my most cherished baking books. The smooth front cover, the enticing layout, the mouthwatering photos...I highly recommend it, if not for the delicious recipes then just for the pleasure of reading it. 

Oatmeal Caramel Crumble Bars
(Baked In America)

for the base:
150g/2 cups oats (jumbo, rolled or a mixture of the two)
225g/1½ cups plain or all-purpose flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 
¼ tsp salt
175g/¾ cup, packed light brown sugar
175g/¾ cup unsalted butter, melted

for the filling:
340g/1½ cups dulce le luche or other tinned caramel
4 tablespoons plain or all-purpose flour

for the topping:
115g/1 cup pecans (I used walnuts)
175g/1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used chopped milk chocolate)

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a tin 12x9x2in and line with baking paper.
Combine all base ingredients until well blended. Set around half the mixture aside. Press the other half into the tin and bake for 10-12mins until light golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and leave the oven on.
Mix the caramel and flour together and set aside.
On top of the cooled base, sprinkle the nuts and chocolate chips. Dollop and spread the caramel over the nuts and chocolate. The book advises not to spread the caramel over the base first for serving purposes. It's not as hard as it sounds, the majority of nuts and chocolate stay in place as you spread. Don't allow the caramel to touch the sides if you can, to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the caramel. Bake for another 18 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely then enjoy!

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