Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turtle Bars

I wanted to make something a little more for the adults at my son's recent 3rd birthday party.  I had been eyeing the heartland turtle bars recipe in my Baked Explorations book, and thought they sounded like the perfect thing to make.  I have made turtle squares in the past with a recipe using boxed cake mix and caramel candies, and it always has gotten rave reviews so I thought I would try this from scratch recipe which also has the added heartiness of an oatmeal crust.

These were pretty delicious, although my one complaint is definitely not enough caramel.  I found the caramel to be quite runny and just sort of mixed in with the crust.  Great flavor but not that shot of pure caramel delight I was hoping for.  Next time I will use my favorite caramel recipe instead, it's a bit thicker and quite salty.  Otherwise I loved the buttery oatmeal crust and the rich chocolate center.  I must sound like a broken record, but use good quality chocolate chips, it makes a huge difference in the taste!

Photo by Jamie Lacey Photography

Heartland Turtle Squares
from Baked Explorations

For the Oatmeal Base and Topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 3/4 cup rolled oats
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Caramel Filling:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Make the Bar Topping and Base:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch glass or lightly colored metal baking dish. Line pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs the pan on two sides.  Butter the parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.   Use your hands to rub in the brown sugar.  Stir in the oats until evenly combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the melted butter, stirring until combined. Lightly press about 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven to cool on a wire rack for a bit, leaving the oven on. Sprinkle the chopped pecans and chocolate chips over the cooled crust.

Make the Caramel Filling:
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt together the butter and light brown sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to boil for one minute, stirring constantly. After 1 minute, remove the pan from the heat and quickly whisk in the cream, then pour the caramel evenly over the pecans and chocolate chips.  Use an offset spatula to evenly distribute the caramel.  Sprinkle the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top and bake for 10-12 minutes further or until the top is golden brown.

Let bars cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then place the pan in the fridge and chill for 1 hour to firm up.  Cut and serve.

These bars will keep, covered tightly, at room temperature, for about 3 days.

Linked to:
Sweet Tooth Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday


  1. these look truly indulgent indeed! thanks for sharing, loves it :)
    @ http://clutzycooking.blogspot.com

  2. I love the idea of a turtle bar. I'll have to try these and include more caramel like you suggested.

  3. You had me at caramel. That's one of my favorite flavors. Thanks for sharing these on A Well-Seasoned Life's Sweet Indulgences Sunday!

  4. I host a link party every week and would love for you to link up some of your recipes as this looks amazing. Hope to see you there!


  5. Those would be one gooey delight. Sounds delicious to the very last bite. Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday.

  6. Hey Corrine,
    I love the ingredients in these squares! This would be a hit in my house, for sure! Thanks for sharing this on Melt in Your Mouth Monday!

  7. Those look sooo good! I'm going to have to make these :)


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