The recipe calls for a 9 x 13 pan. Not wanting to have quite that much dessert in the house, I cut the recipe in half and used a 9 x 9 pan. These remind me of Magic Cookie bars, with a homemade caramel topping in place of the Sweetened Condensed Milk. Although there are several steps and some cooling time in between steps, this is a relatively simple dessert to make. These bars are delicious, rich in butter and chocolate. Need I say more?
Heartland Turtle Bars
Servings: 24 bars
For the bar topping and base:
1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 and 3/4 cups rolled oats
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped into large pieces
1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips
For the caramel filling:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
10 tablespoons ( 1 and 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1. For the bar topping and base: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light colored metal baking pan.
3. Line the pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs the pan on two sides.
4. Butter the parchment.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
6. Use your hands to rub in the brown sugar.
7. Add the oats and stir until the ingredients are evenly combined.
8. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then pour in the melted butter and stir until
the entire mixture is wet and combined.
9. Spread two-thirds of the mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for about 10
10. Remove the pan from the oven to cool (but leave the oven on).
11. Sprinkle the pecans and chocolate chips across the cooled crust.
12. For the caramel filling: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the sugar and
13. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly (the caramel will begin
to darken at this point).
14. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the cream, and pour the caramel directly over the
chocolate pecan layer.
15. Use an offset spatula to evenly distribute the caramel.
16. Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture onto the caramel and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or
until the top is golden brown.
17. Let the bars cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then place the pan in the refrigerator and
chill for 1 hour to firm up.