It is a good thing I can type with my mouth full, because I can’t stop eating these oatmeal turtle jumbles. They have a buttery, brown sugar-oatmeal-whole wheat bottom, a gooey chocolate layer mixed with pecans in the middle and then more buttery, brown sugar goodness mixed with caramels on top. Need I say more? You must try these. They are calling your name. And they’re a delicious addition to your holiday cookie tray, or an easy gift for a friend or neighbor. Plus, I’m sure Santa wouldn’t mind seeing these on the plate you leave out for him on Christmas Eve.
Start with the basics: butter, sugar, brown sugar, egg, baking soda, salt and flour. I use Hodgson Mill 50/50 Whole Wheat & White Flour to give the bars a nutty taste and to include some whole grains. We want to feel good about eating these. Hodgson Mill 50/50 Whole Wheat & White Flour is already blended, so there is no need for extra measuring. It’s the simple things in life that make me happy and this is one of them – especially during the busy holiday season. Use a mixer to combine these ingredients and then stir in the oatmeal old-school style with a spoon.
Line a 13 x 9 inch pan with foil and spray it with non-stick spray. Crumble about two cups of dough over the bottom of the pan and then use your fingers, patting it out to make the bottom layer. If your fingers get sticky, moisten them with a little water and continue patting the dough until the bottom is covered. Don’t go up the sides of the pan. Set this aside for a few minutes while you make the marvelous chocolate middle.
Put the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder in a small saucepan. Cook on medium heat until it’s melted and smooth. It will only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chopped pecans and vanilla.
Spread this amazing chocolate mixture over the top of the patted-out dough. You should probably lick your spatula at this point to make sure everything is on the up-and-up and ’just right’ for your family. It’s just that extra mile we bakers are willing to go, no matter the effort. (Do I sound believable?)
Next, unwrap about 25 caramel candies and cut them in half. You can see my cup is pretty full. I’m a big caramel fan. More is more in my book.
Stir the caramels into the reserved dough. The caramels don’t mix in very well, so just do your best to smush things together.
Take little pinches of the caramel dough and crumble it over the top of the chocolate. Keep crumbling until you have used up all of the dough. Don’t pat this layer together. As it’s baking, the crumbles will come together and make a bumpy, jumble top with bits of chocolate peeking out here and there. Bake at 350oF for 25 minutes, or until the topping is firm and golden brown.
Behold the oatmeal turtle jumble! Let it cool completely and then lift it out of the pan to a cutting board to cut into bars. The foil makes this really easy. I wish you could smell how amazing my kitchen smells right now. Who needs perfume? I want to smell like these. So good!
Need a holiday treat that will knock your socks off? Try these oatmeal turtle jumbles. Nutty-tasting whole wheat, gooey chocolate middle, pecans, caramel – oh my! What is that I hear? Yes, I do believe the cookie jar is calling to me – again. Enjoy!
Oatmeal Turtle Jumbles
Adapted from Cuisine at Home Holiday Cookies
Bottom and Top Layer
1 ½ (3/4 cup) sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 ¾ cup Hodgson Mill 50/50 Whole Wheat & White Flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup purchased caramels (about 25), halved