Oatmeal Carmelitas (kind of)

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Many of the recipes in Audrey’s Recipe Box are ones that I’ve never actually seen or tasted before, such as these oatmeal carmelitas. I made a complete mess of them! I had a very difficult time keeping the squares intact during cutting. The bottom was dry and crumbly (in a bad way), while the top was rock hard!

So what went wrong? I looked up a few competing caramelita recipes online and found that carmelitas are actually supposed to have the caramel in the middle, not as a topping! Re-reading Grandma Clarke’s instructions, I see that she does mention pressing only half the oatmeal mixture into the pan at first, followed by crumbling the remaining mixture on top before the second bake. Crap! I completely skipped that part! On the bright side, those fall-coloured M&Ms I added look great, don’t they?

Lesson learned: read the full instructions before you start.

Despite my failure to follow the directions, these dessert squares were quite tasty—especially when microwaved and served with a scoop of ice cream. I am definitely going to try these again some day. I’d like to get them right!

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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
  • ¾ cup finely packed brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon [baking] soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cups butter or margarine (melted)
  • 1 cup (6 oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¾ cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, [baking] soda, salt and melted butter, blend at low speed to form crumbs.

Press half of crumbs into 11″ x 7″ or 9″ sq. pan, bake 10 mins in 350°F oven.

Remove from oven, sprinkle choco. chips and pecans over crumbs, blend caramel topping and flour, and pour over the choco. bits and nuts to cover, sprinkle with the remaining crumbs and bake 15-20 mins or longer until golden brown.

Chill 1-2 hours, cut into bars, makes 24 bars.

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Turtle Brownies

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It’s that time of year again: the Etsy Bake-Off is next week! Last year I took home Best Cookie with Audrey’s Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. In the year following the big win, I’ve developed a bit of a reputation for baking at work. I made butter tarts for Canada Day, butterbeer golden snitch cupcakes for a Harry Potter party, and a variety of cookies and muffins just for fun. I also won a prize for Best Savory Dessert at the Harry Potter party (for my Deviled Dragon’s Eggs) and started my own baking blog (you’re reading it)!

The competition is strong and the pressure is on. My big show-stopper will be Grandma Clarke’s butter tarts. Butter tarts are a Canadian dessert that many of my American colleagues won’t be familiar with. I’m hoping that they will garner some points for novelty and Canadian charm… in addition to just being damn delicious.

Not to put all my [deviled] eggs in one basket, I will also be entering a batch of brownies. Entering a second item in a different category (butter tarts fall under Pies, while brownies are Other) increases my chance of winning overall and diversifies the awards for which I am eligible.

I have a solid brownie recipe in my own repertoire, but I wanted to see if Grandma Clarke had any up her sleeve before committing to my standard brownie.

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Enter the Turtle Brownies. Inspired by Turtles chocolates, these brownies are topped with pecans and caramel. I also included walnuts and chocolate chips. The result is sweet, gooey, and delicious…

But maybe too sweet to be the big bake-off winner! Furthermore, I wanted my second dessert to be simple and these brownies were quite a bit of work: melting and drizzling caramel is annoyingly time-consuming. For the sake of my own sanity, I’ll be reverting to a simpler brownie for the bake-off, so that I can focus my efforts on the butter tarts… and rehearsing for the Etsy Talent Show!

Erin and I will be performing as Bassooninator again this year. Wish us luck!

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Turtle Brownies

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3×3 is an appropriate size for a single brownie, right?
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup walnuts (if making plain brownies)
    OR
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 12 caramels
  • 1 tbsp milk (if making Turtle brownies)

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My attempt at a “drizzle” of caramel
Heat oven (350°F).
Grease pan 9×9.
Mix sugar, shortening, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl.
Stir in remaining ingredients.
Spread batter in pan.
Sprinkle½ cup chopped pecans over batter before baking.
Bake 20-25 minutes until toothpick in centre comes out clean.

Icing
Heat 12 vanilla caramels and 1 tablespoon milk over low heat, stirring frequently, until caramels are melted.
Drizzle over warm brownies, then cool.

Cool completely.

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Vintage Candlewick miniature cake stand from OpenTwentyFourSeven on Etsy