Caramel Oat Bars

With emphasis on the caramel.

Imagine you are a slice living in my house. Your main goal in life as a slice is to be eaten but more importantly is to win the affection of me, Sophie so I will make you over and over again. How does a slice win my affections? Well the same way anyone does; with chocolate, caramel and enough sugar to turn a health freak into a diabetic in one bite.

This slice is a winner, no doubt about that. Sure the others I have posted about have the chocolate and the sugar aspects and are delicious but few slices can compare to one that is layered and within those layers lies a gooey caramel centre.

In the flurry of all these new slices that Mum and I have been finding recipes for I forgot about my old favourite, my turn to, my staple to impress. I am blaming my Christmas bakewell and birdseed slice for this.

Rewind back to last January and I was making this caramel oaty slice as well as my lemon krummeltorte slice at least once a week to take to friends places or as thank yous to people for letting me stay at their houses over the holidays.

I made this slice for my brother to take as a thank you for his friend Drew's parents for letting him stay a couple of nights in Tairua with them. It was this or the brownie and I was not in the mood to battle with sticky chocolatey brownie mixture.

Its pretty easy, in fact it is very difficult to get wrong unless you burn it (ok which I sort of did) or burn the caramel.

Don't let me fool you, this isn't fiddly, candy thermometer requiring caramel. This is can of condensed milk + butter + golden syrup + saucepan caramel. Easy as. Unless your tin of condensed milk decides it wants to be far runnier than usual leaving you confused and wondering whether or not it will thicken to produce a delicious caramel.

Perseverance and sheer laziness to go down to the shops and buy a new tin paid off. The caramel thickened and the day was saved.

This slice requires three components; the oath base, the caramel filling and the coconut topping.

Usually when I see things that have components I flick the page and look for something less ingredient hungry.

But this slice is different. And well worth it.

I chose to cook my base slightly longer than it says too, this made it really nice and crunchy. If you are into more cakey slices with a softer base then only cook it for ten minutes. The end result is still delicious.

Caramel Oat Bars
Source of this glorious creation completely unknown
Makes a thin 20x30cm slice

100g butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats

395g tin of full fat, full sugar condensed milk
50g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup

1 cup threaded coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
50g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake and line a 20x30cm (or smaller) baking tin with baking paper.

Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Sieve in the flour the mix then add in the oats and the coconut.

Press firmly into the base of the lined tin and then bake for 10 (soft) to 15 (crunchier) minutes. Once baked, remove to cool while you make the caramel.

Place all the caramel ingredients into a saucepan and stir over a low to medium heat until the contents has turned a dark golden colour and has thickened. This should take 3 - 5 minutes.

Spread the caramel over the base.

To make the topping, place the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and melt together. Add in the coconut and oats and stir until well coated.

Sprinkle the topping over the caramel and base.

Bake in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes or until the topping has turned crisp and golden in colour.

Once cold, cut into bars or squares.


Ripe's Rocky Richmond Road Slice

Summer is the season for slices.

Slices are the perfect picnic treat. They can be packed up in plastic containers and safely make their journey to a favourite picnic spot. In my family that picnic spot is anywhere that has sand (much to the annoyance of Dad) and an ocean.

Slices are durable and sharable. They don't need fancy plates, forks or accompaniments, just fingers and a mouth.

We often make up slices and pop most of them in the freezer so that the next time we head off for a day at the beach we can put out a slab, chop a bit off and go.

In the case of this slice, half went into the freezer and the other half I took on up to Nana's for morning tea :).

The one problem with Summer is the heat. Most slices have butter in them which means as the temperature rises they start to become soft and sometimes even melted. Unfortunately with this slice, it needs to be transported in the presence of a couple of ice packs. Then again, how many of us go to the beach without ice packs in our chilly bags/bins anyway.

This recipe comes from the Ripe Recipes book by Angela Redfern. It contains all the recipes for the delicious treats that can be found at the Ripe Deli on Richmond Road (hence why this is called Richmond rocky road slice) in Auckland. Out of all Mum's recipe books, this is the one that she has used the most and made the most things out of. Every week or so there is a new surprise coming out of the kitchen which had its origins in this book.

This isn't your typical rocky road, it is more of a fridge set biscuit slice. Actually, it is a biscuit fridge set slice. The only point of difference is the presence of malt biscuits and marshmallows. It doesn't involve actual chocolate either, just cocoa, butter and sugar which makes it a cheaper option that the traditional chocolate laden rocky roads out there.

This is great if you have some built up tension that needs to be worked out as you get to bash the crap out of a poor little bag of biscuits with a rolling pin. Make sure the bag is double lined or else it might split, resulting in more stress and a whole lotta mess!

Rocky Richmond Road Slice
Adapted form the Ripe Recipe's cookbook by Angela Redfern

250g malt biscuits, crushed
250g super wine or arrowroot biscuits, crushed
250g marshmallows, roughly chopped
200g butter
1 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
50g butter, meted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup threaded coconut

In a saucepan, melt together the butter, caster sugar and cocoa until smooth. Add the lightly beaten eggs whilst stirring briskly and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, crush the biscuits in a large snap lock bag or a double lined plastic shopping bag using a rolling pin. Crush until the average fragment size is around 2cm or less.

Mix the crushed biscuits in with the chopped marshmallows.

Line a 20x30cm baking tin with baking paper.

Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl of biscuits and marshmallows and stir until evenly combined.

Using damp hands, press the mixture into the prepared tin.

Refrigerate the slice for two hours before icing.

To make the icing, mix the ingredients (minus the coconut) together using a bit of hot water to loosen the mixture until it is pourable but still thick.

Spread the icing over the slice then sprinkle over the coconut.

Return to the fridge for another hour or so before slicing.

Enjoy at your next beach picnic!