[pinit] Well well well. It seems that some of us, who shall remain nameless, do not have the patience to make holiday cookies. The horror! In the oven, out of the oven. It can be a bit of a chore (admittedly one I adore and await all. year. long., but I'm not normal). But the holiday season still requires cookies. It's a requirement! How about some gluten free oatmeal cookie chocolate caramel BAR cookies? Can you get on board with that?
One pan for the whole batch! You do have to bake the bottom layer of cookies for 10 minutes before adding the dreamy chocolate caramel filling and topping with the rest of the cookie dough. Am I losing ground?
You could always make the first layer ahead of time, and then take a break. Pick up again the next day?
If you're just not into making your own chocolate caramel (even though you know it's worth it because we did it for these no bake gluten free chocolate caramel cupcakes but I'm not here to judge), this recipe would work just as well if you unwrapped a whole 14 ounce bag of soft caramels, and melted them with 2 tablespoons cream and 4 ounces chopped chocolate. But that's a lot of little candies to unwrap.
However you do it, I just hope you do it. This recipe is adapted from my thick and chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and that's one of my (and your!) most favorite recipes on this whole website.
Did I forget to mention that these oatmeal cookie bars freeze beautifully and are absolutely perfect for packing up and mailing clear across the country? I can be so forgetful. ;)
Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (218 g) packed light brown sugar
3 cups (300 g) gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats
8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg (60 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
2 tablespoons milk (any kind), at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FILLING
1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar
6 tablespoons (3 fluid ounces) water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9-inch square baking pan and set it aside.
First, make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the light brown sugar, and whisk again to combine well, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the oats, and stir to combine well. Add the butter, and mix until combined (the butter will just moisten all of the other ingredients, but the dough won’t hold together just yet). Add the egg, milk and vanilla, and mix until the dough comes together. It will be very thick. Place half of the cookie dough in the prepared baking pan, and press into an even layer. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool briefly.
While the bottom layer of cookies is baking in the oven, make the filling. Place the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook, undisturbed, over medium-high heat until the sugar begins to turn amber-colored around the edges and reaches about 300°F. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir to prevent the sugar from burning, and add the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up quite a lot. Stir until the bubbling subsides. The sugar may seize up, but it will melt again. Add the chopped butter and chocolate, and stir to combine. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook undisturbed, over medium-high heat, until the mixture reaches 245°F. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.
Pour the chocolate caramel over the bottom layer of oatmeal cookies in the baking pan, and spread quickly into an even layer. If some of the chocolate caramel seizes up, it doesn’t matter. It will melt into an even layer again in the oven. Scatter the remaining oatmeal cookie dough evenly over the top of the chocolate caramel and press down gently and evenly. Return to the oven and bake until the top is an even, light golden brown (20 to 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Slice into either 16 or 20 squares before serving. These bars freeze very well, and are stable enough to be sent through the mail.