Oatmeal Turtle Bars
Adapted from Heartland Turtle Bars from Baked Exploration
Yields: one 13x9 pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (the original advises dark brown, but I used light brown and it worked fine)
1 3/4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup pecans, chopped into large pieces
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (I used a mix of milk, dark, and semisweet)
For the Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tbsp heavy cream
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grab a 13x9 glass or light-colored metal pan, and spray it with nonstick spray, then line with parchment paper, and spray or butter the parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the brown sugar, and use your hands to rub it in. This is especially important if there's lumps in your brown sugar! Add in the oats, and stir until evenly combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the melted butter. Stir until the entire mixture is evenly moistened and combined.
Spread about two-thirds of the oatmeal mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing slightly, and bake for about 10 minutes. When done, remove the pan from the open to cool, but leave the oven on. Sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips on the warm crust.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the sugar and butter (for the caramel) together. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly (the caramel will darken quickly). Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the heavy cream, and pour on top of the chocolate chips and pecans. Use a rubber spatula to evenly distribute the caramel. Sprinkle on top the remaining oatmeal mixture, and bake in the oven for 10-12 more minutes.
Let the bars cool in the pan for 15-30 minutes, then place the pan in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour before cutting. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. But, with this Texas heat, I didn't even think about taking mine out of the fridge. :)