Sunday, December 21, 2008

Caramel Morsel Bars (Mike's Favorite)

My grandma used to make these for a Christmas treat along with her many Christmas cookies. She made them especially for my brother, Mike, since they were his favorite. Grandma loved providing family favorites.* I was told she found this recipe in a magazine. After Mike died in 1987, we all realized that these bars were favorites of more of us than Mike alone. When my grandma passed away in 1989, I started making these as my own Christmas treat tradition!

Ingredients:

14-oz. bag KRAFT Caramels
3 TBSP water
5 cups crisp rice cereal or toasted oat cereal (I use crisp rice)
1 cup peanuts, optional
One 6-oz. pkg. (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
One 6-oz. pkg. (1 cup) butterscotch chips

Directions:

Melt caramels with water in saucepan (or double boiler) over low heat. Stir frequently until sauce is smooth. Pour over cereal and nuts; toss until well coated. With greased fingers, press mixture into greased 9” x 13” pan. Sprinkle morsels on top; place in 200 degree oven for 7 minutes, or until morsels softened. Spread softened morsels until blended to form a frosting. Cool, cut into bars.

* Grandma liked to make people feel special by going out of her way to provide their "favorites". Besides making these bars for Mike, she baked mint surprise cookies (I still need to locate that recipe)--my Uncle Steve's favorites. One year grandma couldn't find her usual chocolate mint wafers for these cookies. I ended up locating something similar at a bake shop in the Twin Cities on Thanksgiving break and bringing them back to DBQ so she could make them for him before Christmas. I also recall Grandma asking me to pick up a loaf of sour dough bread at a bakery on Bluff Street for Grandpa...just because she knew he really liked it. She didn't want me to mention to Grandpa how expensive it was because he, in all his frugality, would not have wanted her to buy it for him. These were Grandma's little touches to make people feel special...and I would have never known about them had I not been running errands for her while she was recovering from a heart attack.