While hunting for something in the freezer recently, I caused a bit of an avalanche of frozen food and discovered a bag of caramel bits tucked away on the bottom that I was gifted a few weeks ago by someone cleaning out their pantry.
I’ve never used caramel bits in baking before, and although I was tempted to just open the bag and eat them like candy, I decided it might be better to transform them into something so I could share the caloric wealth with family and friends.
From what I can tell, Kraft might be the only vendor that sells something called “caramel bits,” but the recipe I found for some caramel apple oatmeal cookies could also be achieved by buying normal-sized caramels and chopping them up.
I will also admit that this is clearly more of a fall recipe, but I’ll eat caramel any time of the year.
This recipe comes from the blog “Brownie Bites” by Erin Browne. You can find the original post at http://www.browniebites.net/caramel-apple-oatmeal-cookies/. I doubled the vanilla in my version.
Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups old-fashioned or quick oats
- 11 ounces caramel bits
- 2 small Gala apples peeled, cored and diced
- (You’re going to refrigerate your dough, so no need to preheat your oven yet.)
- Beat the butter and sugars until fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.
- Mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and oats until everything is well combined.
- Stir in the caramel bits and diced apples.
- Refrigerate your dough for about three hours or overnight. (I sped this up by putting mine in the freezer for an hour instead.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment paper.
- Scoop the dough in about two-tablespoon-size scoops and place them about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
- Refrigerate the rest of the dough while the first batch bakes.
- Let the cookies cool before placing them in a container. If they’re too warm, the caramel bits will want to melt out of the bottom of the cookies.
- Using two baking sheets will let you keep going with the rest of the dough while each batch cools.
I normally advocate for putting warm cookies into an airtight container pretty quickly after coming out of the oven, but in this case, these are such soft cookies that they hold up better if you let them cool down before storing them.
I really liked the flavor of these, and while I thought at first I should add in a little cinnamon, too, these didn’t need it. They were great the way they were.
This is probably a good sign that I should clean out my freezer more often. Who knows what kinds of treasures are hidden away in there? More likely, who knows what kinds of strange, freezer-burned mysteries may be concealed beneath bags of frozen vegetables?
This piece first appeared in print on July 25, 2019.
Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas and sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton, Kan. Visit their website at shopmainstco.com.