Do you want to know a little tidbit about Nebraska? Like, basically, the most interesting thing about the entire state, according to me even though I’ve only lived here for 2 months and really don’t know much of anything about Nebraska?
I knew you’d want to know!
It’s the fact that this is the windiest freaking place ever. My word. I’ve been on a cruise, out in the middle of the ocean, where there is wind and there is nothing to block it and you know what? No. Not as windy as Nebraska. All of our outdoor patio furniture is currently either upside down or halfway across the yard and you guys, our furniture is heavy duty metal stuff. This is ridiculous and I want to go home where the furniture stays put and the house doesn’t shake from the wind and I do not have “wind warnings” every day of the week.
Anyway, it’s too windy to leave the house ever, so I’ve been baking like a crazy person. And I mean that part about not leaving the house literally. I can not open the door sometimes because the force of the wind is too strong.
These oatmeal bars are totally healthy because the crust is made of oatmeal. I’m not a doctor or anything, but I’m pretty sure you can trust me. Maybe?
The filling for these bars is a caramel made from sweetened condensed milk which is the tastiest liquid known to man and then it gets a big ol’ helping of peanut butter to round things out. Basically, you want these bars in yo’ face as often as possible. Enjoy. And then enjoy some more, because like I said. Health food!
Note: I’ve gotten quite a few comments that these bars and dry, crumbly, and falling apart. I’ve also gotten comments saying that these worked perfectly, so I’m not sure what the problem is. Be sure that you’re reading the recipe correctly (1 1/2 cups butter – not 1 1/2 sticks) and that you’re not overbaking. As soon as I have a chance to make this recipe again, I will report back and make changes if necessary. I’m not sure what is going on as the recipe was made as written below, but I do plan to test it again. In the meantime, be careful with this one as it seems to be finicky!
Caramel Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars
Yield: 16 bars
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 bag (11 ounces) milk chocolate chips
To start, make the caramel sauce by melting 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium low heat. When melted, stir in the sweetened condensed milk and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and darkens to a caramel color, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla.
To make the crust, combine the flour, oatmeal, and remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar in a large bowl. Melt the remaining 1 1/2 cups of butter and stir into the oatmeal mixture.
Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the oatmeal crust. Spread the caramel peanut butter mixture over the chocolate chips and crumble the remaining oatmeal crust mixture over the top. Return to the oven and continue baking for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting.