Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

2 c. Flour
2 c. Rolled oats
1 c. Brown sugar
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 c. Butter, unsalted
1 pkg (250 g) Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chipits
1 c. Dulce de leche Caramel Cream Spread
3 Tbsp Flour

Optional: 3/4 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Grease a 13” x 9” pan.  (I sprayed mine with PAM canola oil.)

Combine flour, oats, sugar and baking soda in a large bowl.

Cut the butter into the flour mixture and mix with your hand until the butter is incorporated.  This mixture should be crumbly.  Set aside 3 cups of this mixture (approximately 1/2).

Press the remaining mixture into the greased pan.

Bake for 10 min.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips (and pecans) over the baked crust bottom.

Mix 3 Tbsp of flour with the the caramel cream spread.  Drop blobs of the caramel cream on top and try to spread them out as much as you can (they won't spread as they bake).

Sprinkle the rest of the oat and butter mixture evenly over the top.

Bake for 20-25 min or until the top is golden brown.

Let the bar cool for an hour before cutting them into squares.

My comments:

My husband is not a chocolate fan (I know...Weeeiiiirrrdddoooo!!) but he loves caramel (ok, downgrading him to just a mini-weeeirdooo).  So I was quite excited when I came across this Oatmeal Carmelitas recipe.  I thought he'd go crazy over it, but alas! I was wrong.

First off, I will say that the bars did turn out well.  In fact, I liked them so much that I didn't even get a chance to whip out my camera and take pictures.  That's why this is a picture-less post.  The good news is, I will definitely make this again but I'll have to wait 'til then to snap a few nice photos.

But remember...I said I was making these for my husband, not me, so I will tell you why he didn't like them.  The problem was that I always tweak recipes; I simply can't leave a good recipe well enough alone.  In this case, I added way too much chocolate and Hubby found this to be too chocolatey and not enough caramel.  So he was disappointed in the bars, but I, on the other hand, loved them.

If I am making these for myself again, I'd definitely keep the caramel:chocolate chip ratio the same but also include the toasted pecan.  The bars were missing something and I think the pecans will definitely do the trick.  Unfortunately, I had to leave the pecans out of the bars this time because Hubby has nut allergies.

I have an idea on how to make these more caramel-y.  Next time, I'll make 1/2 a batch with pecans (for Me!!) and 1/2 a batch with more caramel.  If it works, I'll most definitely update this recipe...with pictures!!!

Meanwhile, don't hold your breath.  Lil' Babe #2 is 4 days overdue so it's a race between the caramel bars and the baby...and the baby will probably win!