Every year at the end of the school year I have a make your own ice cream sundae party for the students. It's the easiest reward of the year and they have a blast. I let them choose as many toppings as they want but I put the toppings on so it doesn't get too insane.
I always buy a variety of toppings. I have the sauces like strawberry, caramel, and chocolate. Then I buy sprinkles, cherries, and whipped cream. The last thing I have is candy that needs to be used up at the end of the year. I put it into small bowls and spoon it over top of the ice cream. It gets messy but it's fun.
Every year I always bring home the extra toppings. I hate that they sit in my refrigerator all year long so this year I decided to do something about it. I'd been looking for some type of dessert to use up the caramel sauce and I found sound delicious looking salted caramel bars. Because I had chocolate chips to use up as well I turned them into salted caramel and chocolate bars.
The base of the bars is a tasty sugar cookie with oats. It's pretty sturdy and it tastes really good. On top of that goes the caramel sauce, sea salt, and chocolate chips. Then more dough is crumbled over the top. It didn't sound too bad but I was worried that the caramel sauce wouldn't harden in the oven.
I tried it anyhow. When I pulled the cookies out of the oven the caramel was bubbling and some of it had gone down behind the foil and into the pan. I was really worried I was going to have a mess. After cooling for an hour the caramel still wasn't quite set. I let it cool another hour then took the bars out of the pan. I made the first cut and pulled out a bar. It was super gooey but did hold a form somewhat.
I decided to see if putting the bars in the freezer for 15 minutes would do any good. I put them in and then took them out after around 30 minutes. Turns out that was the magic number. I was able to easily cut the bars but they retained their shape. Even after coming to room temperature they now held their shape. So I recommend freezing them before cutting.
So how did they taste....AMAZING! My husband and I could not get enough of these bars. The oatmeal sugar cookies on the bottom were sweet and soft. The caramel layer was lightly salted and tasted amazing. I could hardly believe that it was caramel sauce for ice cream. The chocolate chips in the caramel just added to the flavor. These were so good they were dangerous as we ate way more then we should have.
If you are having a party or picnic this summer you need to make these! Who doesn't like salted caramel and chocolate? Just remember to freeze them for 30 minutes or so (not too long!) and they will be the hit at any party.
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- ½ c. sugar
- ½ c. brown sugar
- ½ c. powdered sugar
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1¾ c. flour
- ½ c. oats
- ¾ c. caramel sauce
- 1-2 t. sea salt
- ½ c. chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with foil, enough that it hangs over the edges so you can pull it out of the pan.
- In a large bowl combine the butter, sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Mix well until combined.
- In a small bowl combine the flour and oats.
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until a dough is formed.
- Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 13 minutes.
- Remove from oven and pour the caramel mixture over top of the cookie crust. Sprinkle with as much sea salt as desired and then top with the chocolate chips.
- Crumble the remaining dough over top of the caramel mixture. You won't cover the entire top but it should cover a good portion of it.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is browned and the caramel is bubbling.
- Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.
- Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer then use the foil to remove the bars from the pan. Cut into 12 squares.