CARAMEL OAT CHOCOLATE CHUNK SHORTBREAD BARS


These easy and delectable caramel oat chocolate chunk (or chocolate chip!) shortbread bars are amazing! Try one warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – so yummy!

YIELD: 9X13-INCH PAN OF BARS

INGREDIENTS
SHORTBREAD CRUST:
  •  1 2/3 cups (8.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/3 cup (2.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  •  14 tablespoons butter (7 ounces), cold, cut into tablespoon-size pieces

FILLING:
  •  1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 4 ounces) butter
  •  1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) granulated sugar
  •  3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) light or dark brown sugar (I prefer dark brown in this recipe)
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  3 large eggs
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  1 cup (3.75 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
  •  1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (optional)
  •  1/2 cup (3 ounces) toffee bits
  •  1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) white, milk, semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (can use a combination!)

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan (I prefer metal/aluminum baking pans for recipes like this) with foil and grease with nonstick cooking spray. The foil is optional but helps with pulling out the bars and with clean up.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor (read on for alternate method!), add the flour, salt and sugar. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the butter across the mixture and process for another 30-45 seconds until the dough clumps together in several large pieces (it should stick together if you press a handful together). Alternately, you can combine the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and cut in the butter using a pastry blender, two forks, a couple knives, etc. Continue cutting in the butter and mixing the ingredients until you can press large clumps together in your hands (the butter will be in very small pieces).
  3. Press the shortbread crust into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the sides are just barely golden. Watch closely so the crust doesn't burn. It's better to take it out early rather than let it bake too long.
  4. While the crust bakes, prepare the filling by melting the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook the butter, stirring often, until it melts completely and little brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan (you are browning butter! Here's a quick tutorial if you want a visual). This will take a couple minutes, but watch closely, or else it can go from brown butter to burned butter very quickly!
  5. Off the heat, stir in the granulated sugar, brown sugar and salt. The mixture will be thick. Let it cool for a few minutes.
  6. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until the mixture is well-combined.
  7. Stir in the oats, coconut (if using), toffee bits and chocolate chips. Spread the mixture evenly over the shortbread crust.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until the bars are set around the edges and the middle isn't super jiggly (a little jiggle is ok, but bake them a few minutes longer if the middle of the bars still looks really liquidy). If you aren't sure if the bars are done, err on the side of taking them out without overbaking, even if they still seem a little gooey in the center. They'll set up as they cool.
  9. These bars are delicious served warm (scoop them right out of the pan and don't stress about getting clean cuts) with ice cream OR you can let the bars cool completely and cut into squares and serve.

For full information kindly visit melskitchencafe.com.

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