Chocolate Turtle Bars-Heritage Recipe

I have not made these in a long, long time.  Part of the reason is I hate unwrapping 48 caramels.  The cellophane wrappers seem to always tear and stick to the caramel (and stick to me!) Just a pain all around.  I happened to buy a 5 pound brick of caramel to make some Valentine's day candy and had several pounds left over, so I chopped off a chunk of caramel and whipped up a batch of Chocolate Turtle Bars.

Chocolate Turtle Bars-Heritage Recipe

Dough:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/8 cups melted margarine or butter (1 cup + 2 Tbs.)

Fillings:
14 oz. caramels, unwrapped (about 48)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 bag milk chocolate chips (12 oz.)

Stir together dry ingredients. Stir in melted butter. Mix well. Press 3/8 of dough into 9 x 13 inch ungreased pan. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 10-15 minutes. While these are baking, in a pan, melt caramels with cream, stirring until smooth (or use a recipe for homemade caramel). Take crust out of oven. Sprinkle with all the chocolate chips. Pour caramel mixture over and spread over the chocolate chips.  Carefully sprinkle the remaining dough over the caramel. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes. Press finely chopped nuts into the top of the dough before baking if desired. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

Emily's Notes:
These freeze well, just make sure you cut them before freezing.
We are trying to be healthier around here, so I made some substitutions/changes to the recipe (highlighted in green below).  I could not tell the difference and will be using the "healthier" version from now on.

Dough:
3/4 cup finely ground whole wheat flour (can use whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup melted margarine or butter

Fillings:
14 oz. caramels, unwrapped (about 48)
1/2 cup half and half
3/4 bag semi sweet chocolate chips (10 oz.)
I had to include this photo, my 2 year old daughter kept jumping in the photos.  She could not wait for me to finish so she could have a bite of the yummy cookie!


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