Sometimes substitutions work and other times they just don’t measure up. There are some ingredients for which the generic just aren’t comparable to the brand name, others are equally good. In recipes, it’s sometimes trial and error. For example: I think yogurt is a great substitution for butter in muffins, while I think applesauce in cookies alters them too severely.
However, when I was in Middle School, I really wanted to get a pair of Docksiders.
Did you ever have Docksiders? They were all the rage back in the 80s when I was a teenager. I really wanted them. I remember shopping with my dad to see if we could find some. Then my Dad found some at J C Pennys that were a knock off. They were significantly less expensive and my dad argued that they were just the same. I tried to agree, but I knew deep down inside that they really weren’t Docksiders. But I wasn’t paying for them, after all. So, to home we went with the knock off docksiderish shoes.
Carmelita means “little caramel” and though you might cut them in small pieces, there’s nothing really “little” about these bars. I am thinking “Carmelgrande” might be a better name for them.
So when my mother was coming to town last week, I wanted to make them for her. I thought I would try substituting my 1% milk for the whipping cream used to liquefy the caramels. I thought, “milk’s milk…and the caramels are so rich it will be okay”. I thought with all of that butter, chocolate and caramel, the heavy cream was perhaps unnecessary.
But I was wrong. It wasn’t the same. It was far thinner and when cooled, it was less rich-tasting. Now, don’t get me wrong, my mom and sister, who tested them, thought they were fabulous, but when Amy and Dave, who had tasted the first batch as well, compared the two, they wholeheartedly agreed that the caramel flavor was diminished with the milk in the second batch.
|Lucy and I unwrapped and counted – educational yumminess|
1 tsp. baking soda
32 caramel squares, unwrapped
In a bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of a lightly sprayed 8 x 8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
Unwrap caramels and combine them with cream in a saucepan over low heat (or in a bowl in the microwave). Stir and cook until completely smooth. Set aside.
Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the warm bars.
Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. (It’s tempting to not wait, but they really need to be cooled! You can put it in the fridge for a few minutes to help speed this up, if you need).
[I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9 X 13 pan in these photos.]