Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bars

chocolate bars

Based on the classic caramelitas, these buttery, nutty oat bars have a rich chocolate filling punctuated by dulce de leche. With a firm streusel-like base and topping protecting the gooey middle, these bars travel exceptionally well and will be equally well-received.

Chocolate-Dulce de Leche Bars
 
Makes 24 bars
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cups (156 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (8 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup (90 grams) quick-cooking oats
  • ¾ cup (165 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 5 minutes
  • 1½ teaspoons (6 grams) tightly packed orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅔ cup (75 grams) chopped toasted pecans
  • ¾ cup (128 grams) roughly chopped 66% cacao dark chocolate *, divided
  • ¾ cup (128 grams) roughly chopped milk chocolate *, divided
  • ¾ cup (224 grams) dulce de leche
  • Garnish: flaked sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together 1¼ cups (156 grams) flour, oats, brown sugar, melted butter, orange zest, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, and cloves until well combined. Press half of dough (about 293 grams) into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Bake until lightly golden around edges, about 10 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Leave oven on.
  4. Sprinkle pecans, ½ cup (85 grams) dark chocolate, and ½ cup (85 grams) milk chocolate onto prepared crust.
  5. In a small microwave-safe bowl, stir together dulce de leche and remaining 1 tablespoon (8 grams) flour. Heat on high in 10-second intervals, stirring between each, until mixture can be drizzled from a spoon. Drizzle mixture onto pecans and chocolate in pan, leaving a ½-inch border around edges of pan. Crumble remaining dough evenly over dulce de leche layer. (It’s OK if some peeks through.) Top evenly with remaining ¼ cup (43 grams) dark chocolate and remaining ¼ cup (43 grams) milk chocolate.
  6. Bake until chocolate is melted and crumble layer starts to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using excess parchment as handles, remove from pan. Using a serrated knife, cut into bars. Garnish with sea salt, if desired. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

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