Caramel Layer Bars

It's been quiet around here, I know.  Bear with me, gentle readers.  The beginning of the school year is always a little rough around these parts.  Both of my little darlings are transitioning with some glitches that include stripping, tantrums, destructive moments and self-trauma.  And that's just Momma!

Plus, it's a busy time of year in general.  We took the girls to the Michigan Feis (if you're not familiar with the world of Irish Dancing, that's a dance competition).  They both enjoyed watching the action, and I had volunteered to do a shift as a stage monitor.  For me, it's sort of bittersweet.  I love all the girls that I work with at a feis.  They're so sweet, and most of the time very polite, if a little revved.  But hanging out there is like being able to watch how the Other Half lives - though only through a glass, darkly.  At least I did have the older girls' stage this time out.  It's harder for me to work with the girls who are The Princess's age - doing all the things she can't.  It underscores just how great a gap exists between Princess and her peers.  Still, we'll keep her in classes for now (in spite of her objections - she'd much rather stay home and play with the computer.  She doesn't get to be in charge ALL the time, however, and she can use the physical activity).  For now, it's one foot in front of the other!

Things have gotten baked, but no blogging has gotten done.  So, as an apology, I now give you a true vintage treasure:  Caramel Layer Bars

 These little beauties came out of yet another Pillsbury Bake-off Cookbook, this one has no dates (the cover is missing) but I'm going to guess late 50's or so.  These are some great bar cookies that hold well and are well suited to making in advance.  They were also a bit nostalgic to make.  I used to have the job of unwrapping the caramels for Mom when she made her famous chocolate-caramel-in-between cake.  (Maybe I'll try that for you someday, if you're very good!)

Caramel Layer Bars

1-3/4 c. + 3 Tbsp Fancy Flour Blend, or other GF AP Flour Blend OR
1/2 c. millet flour
1/4 c. sweet rice flour
1/2 c. white rice flour
1/4 c. + 1 Tbsp tapioca starch
2 Tbsp potato starch
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. + 2 Tbsp gluten-free quick cooking oats
3/4 c. butter, slightly softened
36 Kraft caramels
3 Tbsp cream
3/4 semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 9"x13" pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1-3/4 c. flour, soda, salt, xanthan gum, oats and brown sugar.

Whisk together.  Cut in butter until mixture is in fine pieces.  Reserve one c. of mixture, and pour the rest into the 9"x13" pan.

Press into pan, evenly.  Bake for 10 minutes, until set.
Meanwhile, place caramels and cream in a bowl set over boiling water.

Stir until smooth.  Stir in 3 Tbsp. of flour.  Spread gently over base.  Sprinkle chips on top.  Cover with reserved base mixture.  Return to oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until very slightly golden.

Warm bars were distributed, and The Gentleman Ranker commented, "Wow, these even taste vintage!"  He did later clarify that they taste like something you'd have been given at Grandma's house... with a glass of milk.



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