This is a wonderful recipe that always gets requested whenever I bring it to an event.
Note: Use stick margarine or real butter when preparing the crust. Do not substitute reduced-fat spreads, since their high water content often yields less-satisfactory results. The prep time does not include the cool or chill time after bars are baked.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking oatmeal, uncooked
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened
1 12.5-ounce jar caramel ice cream topping (1 cup)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 6-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup, level off. In large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and margarine or butter. Mix at low speed until crumbly. Reserve half of crumb mixture, about 3 cups, for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
To make the filling: In small bowl, combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour. Remove partially baked crust from oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture, sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Return to oven, bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool at least 1 hour at room temperature, then refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into bars.