We predicted this would happen. We just knew it.
Weeks ago, when we made that first fateful purchase from the Halloween candy aisle, the writing was on the wall.
And here we are, with a week to go til that most horrifying of holidays (no seriously one of us lives in New York City, Halloween is a scary, scary day), and we've officially overdosed on snack size candy bars.
Help! How are we going to make it through this week? The candy laden plastic pumpkins have started showing up everywhere, filled to the brim with dangerously delicious Halloween treats.
The kitchen at work is fully stocked with black and orange M&M's. The nail salon is practically forcing people to take those little boxes of Nerds.
And the post office is handing out Twizzlers. The post office! Is nowhere safe?! We are one fun size Twix from the edge.
But we've come up with a plan! Hurrah! Yippee! Woo hoo!
We'll fight off the temptation to enter a full on candy coma by baking up our own candy-ish bars. Not the homemade versions of our favorite store bought bars a la the almond joys and peppermint patty creations - but treats reminiscient of the candy bar category.
Just the general candy bar characteristics really, you know, chewy, chocolate-y, crunchy, crumbly...happy, sleepy, grumpy...oh wait.
Clearly the sugar has gone straight to our heads. All the more need for the PLAN.
And we actually think we did alright with our first survive-the-week-by-making-homemade-candy-bar-ish-treats attempt. Salty peanuts, caramel and chocolate? Armed with these we're confidents we can resist every single plastic pumpkin.
Nutty Caramel Crumb Bars
Makes 16 bars
For crust & topping:
1 cup honey roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (you can use any nut you like)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) melted, plus more for greasing the pan
For caramel filling:
24 soft caramel candies, unwrapped (we used Kraft)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda and nuts. Mix in the melted butter until the oat mixture is thoroughly combined. Press two-thirds of the mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Use the back of the spoon to firmly press & compact the mixture. Bake crust for 20 minutes.
While crust is baking prepare caramel filling. In a saucepan over low heat, melt together caramels and cream stirring frequently, until smooth, about 6-8 minutes. Let cool slightly. Remove crust from oven and let cool on rack for 5 minutes. Sprinkle crust with chocolate chips and cover with caramel sauce. Top with remaining crumb mixture.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely. Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.