3 C quick oats
3¾ C all-purpose flour
2¼ C firmly packed light brown sugar
¾ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking soda
1 lb (4 sticks) plus 4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 lbs caramels
8 Tbsp half-and-half
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
2 C chopped pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the quick oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the melted butter and mix well. Divide the oatmeal mixture in half. Press one half of this dough into an ungreased 13-by-18-inch sheet cake pan. Bake for 10 to 14 minutes, until light golden brown.
Meanwhile, melt the caramels and half-and-half in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until smooth and creamy. Reserve about a third of the caramel mixture and pour the remaining over the oatmeal mixture. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel. Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture on top and drizzle with the reserved caramel and pecans.
Return the pan to the oven and bake 12 minutes more, until light golden brown. Cool the Caramelitas completely before slicing into 2-inch bars. The bars freeze well for up to 1 month. Lining the pan with parchment paper will make it easier to remove the bars to a work surface where they can be cut more precisely. Makes 54 bars.
Recipe and photo courtesy ofpinkpicadillypastries.blogspot.com.