Caramelita Cake

CaramelitaSlicesbfLOIt was time for our monthly gathering to drink wine and eat good food; also known as The Book Club.

This month’s book “A Place at the Table” was my selection and, while I enjoyed it, I thought there could’ve been… more.

More about Bobby, more about Amelia’s daddy, more about the intermeshed lives after the story (kinda abruptly, a bunch of us thought) ends; and mebbe how’s about some recipes for a fellow?

06aCakeClosebfLOA tale of food and family, talking about, but never suggesting how to go about making, well, these tasty little goodies, for example, was just a bit disappointing. Still, with all thanks to da Google, the caramelita cookie bar recipe has been discovered and converted, here, into a not too, too sweet cake made with oats, dark chocolate, lightly toasted pecans, and home made salted caramel with brandy.

02aMilkbfLONice. And more than worth the research, so thanks, Ms. White, for a still enjoyable read, and leading me to a very nice dessert.

•1 cup all-purpose flour
•1/2 tspn baking soda
•1/4 tsp salt
•1 cup quick cooking oats
02aMilkZCookerbfLO•3/4 cup packed brown sugar
•3/4 cup melted butter
•8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
•1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans*

Brandied Salted Caramel:
•1 can sweetened condensed milk
•1 tbsp coarse sea salt
•1 tbsp brandy (or bourbon)
•3 tbsp flour

*To toast pecans, combine one cup of raw nuts with a tablespoon of melted butter in a bowl until coated. Spread out on a parchment lined baking pan and toast in a 350º oven for five to seven minutes.

03aBrandiedSaltedCaramelbfLOFirst things first, make your salted caramel by pouring a can of sweetened condensed milk into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.

Stir in the sea salt and brandy, then screw on the lid, place the jar in a slow cooker, and add water to cover. I made two batches.

Note 1: if you have hard water like us, add one cup of white vinegar to the water in the crock pot to keep the minerals in the water from leaving a milky film on the outside of the jar.

Cook on low for… well, that’s a question, 01bAddButterbfLOisn’t it? The original recipe for the ‘crock pot caramel’ says to let it go for seven to eight hours; but mine was well and truly done – just look at it – after about five; so keep an eye on it, and go by your experience with your own slow cooker. Remove the jars to a rack to cool, then store in the fridge.

02bBtmLayer10MinbfLONote 2: the caramel jar lids will feel as tho’ they’re sealed. They’re not, and you really need to store this in the fridge.

Caramel made and cooled, the rest is a snap to toss together.

Heat your oven to 350º and generously butter a nine inch spring form pan.

Combine the cup of flour with the brown sugar, salt, oats, and baking soda in a mixing bowl, then stir in the melted butter until you have a moist, crumbly mixture.

04bCaramelbfLOPress half of the oat mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan and pop into the oven for ten minutes.

Remove and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then add the pecans and the chocolate chips.

Remove the lid from the caramel jar and stir in the three tablespoons of flour. If the caramel is a bit too thick, pop into the ‘wave for 30 seconds or so and stir.

05aToppingbfLOSpread the caramel over the chocolate and pecans.

Cover with the remaining half of the oat mixture, patting lightly into place, and bake for another 15 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool completely before running a knife around the edge and removing the ring.

05cCaramelitaCakebfLOI sliced my cake into eighths, tho’ most of The Book Club members then cut those slices in half…

of course, they then went back for seconds, so I’m not entirely certain what the point was about the whole exercise.

Bottom line?

Great cake, and a fine addition to your holiday dessert menu; I’m thinkin’ that one of these will most certainly be on our sideboard come Thanksgiving.

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