Featuring a layer of gooey caramel filling between a graham cracker crust and a generous crumble topping, these Caramel Crumble Bars make for one tasty dessert!
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Prior to starting this blog, I worked in higher education administration. More specifically, I worked in academic integrity and then moved over to work in college athletics. As it turns out, I didn’t enjoy working in college athletics as much as I thought I would. I’ll jump into a conversation about higher ed policy (especially pertaining to college athletics) with you any day, but I just didn’t enjoy the reality of what I saw while working in a big-time college athletics program. But that’s ok…because that eventually led me to the world of food blogging. And food blogging is awesome!
Speaking of colleges and higher education, have you guys ever heard of the Beloit Mindset List? Beloit College in Wisconsin releases an updated list every year, and it provides an interesting perspective on the incoming class of freshmen.
For instance, most freshmen heading into college this year were born in 1997. (Seriously…1997!?) Princess Diana, Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau and Mother Teresa have never been alive in their lifetimes. Most college freshmen have never licked a postage stamp. Phish Food has always been a Ben & Jerry’s flavor.
Oh, and then there’s my personal favorite. The NCAA has always had a precise means for selecting a college football national champion. (Really? Because last I checked, that “precise means” is still up for serious debate every.single.season.) But I still enjoy checking out the Beloit List every year. It’s some great food for thought on the mindset of college-aged students here in the States.
Speaking of food for thought, how about some food for eating? Like maybe these amazingly tasty Caramel Crumble Bars? I was in the mood for some sort of bar-style dessert the other day, so I decided to create something with a nice layer of crumbly deliciousness on top. And to provide some structure to the bars, I started with a nice thick graham cracker crust. But the real star of these bars? The gooey caramel layer in the center!
Instead of making caramel, I went with a bit of an easier approach. I used Caramel Macchiato creamer from International Delight®. I added a bit of brown sugar and butter and then just let that mixture boil gently until it thickened up a bit. Pour that gooey caramel goodness on top of the graham cracker crust and top it with a generous layer of crumbles…and you end up with one heck of an awesome bar-style dessert!
What are you most excited about for the Fall?
And more importantly, have you ever licked a postage stamp?
Caramel Crumble Bars
For the Graham Cracker Crust
For the Caramel Filling
- Place all ingredients (butter, sugar and creamer) in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. (Tip: The mixture will expand as it boils, so go with a large saucepan in this step!)
- Reduce heat until mixture is boiling gently. Boil for 15 minutes, or until mixture begins to thicken and turn darker in color.
- Remove from heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes.
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line an 8”x8” pan with parchment paper so that the paper extends over the sides on all sides of the pan. (Tip: This will make it much easier to remove the bars from the pan once baked.)
- In a food processor or mini-chopper, pulse the graham crackers until finely ground. In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter. Stir until fully combined.
- Press graham cracker mixture into bottom of prepared pan. (Tip: A flat-bottomed glass helps pack the crust mixture down evenly.) Set pan aside.
For the Bars
- Using a countertop mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (~3 minutes on medium-high speed).
- Add creamer and flour and mix on low speed until smooth dough forms.
- Press about 1/3 of the dough into the pan (on top of the graham cracker crust). Place remaining dough in the refrigerator.
- Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven. Pour Caramel Filling into pan. Crumble remaining dough evenly across top of filling.
- Return pan to the oven and bake for 35-38 more minutes, or until top begins to turn light golden brown in color.
- Remove pan from oven and let cool before slicing and serving. (Tip: Go ahead and slice the bars while they are still warm. It will make removing the bars from the pan much easier!)
This conversation is sponsored by International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.