Turtle Bars With Homemade Caramel Sauce

Food is a prominent memory of growing up for me. Especially sweet treats. Not just cookies from neighbors down the street, or cake from many a cousin’s birthday, but sweet treats. Sweet treats were special, and kind of a requirement in our house. I’m pretty sure this was mostly because of my mom, who happens to be a very talented baker (as well as a one-of-a kind 1st grade teacher, quilter, and grandma). My mom bakes what may seem like the traditional range of goods–cookies, bars, pies, birthday cakes of course, and we always had amazing apple crisps in the fall and winter. She bakes these items with such precise measure and in a way that what may have seemed like simple baked goods, but they are just so delectable! My mom baked Nestle Toll House cookies and they were SO PERFECT in a way you didn’t know Nestle Toll House cookies, or any cookie for that matter, could be with such perfectly balanced flavors and textures. I’m not just saying this because its my mom, believe me I’ve tasted some chocolate chip cookies… it’s called “research.”

My mom was always up for giving us a taste, and for being generous with helping her in the kitchen (you can have one beater!) but she always paid such close attention to detail. From what I can remember too, she left no mess. I don’t know exactly why my mom baked, if it was to please her kids, or because she loved doing it, or maybe she just wanted to eat a sweet treat. But she did it, and still does it in her simple, effortless and loving way.

I’ve always loved to bake and I’m finally getting a chance to do it professionally. One of my favorite ways to get inspired is by taking a recipe I know and love, and making it my own. Because of my mom, I started with an arsenal of delicious recipes but there is one sweet treat that my mom has (at least in my mind) always baked. It’s THE TURTLE BAR. Those who’ve eaten Kathy Sather’s Turtle Bar, have not forgotten. Turtle bars make people happy. Turtle bars are indestructible, you can mail them to your best friend across the country and days later they’ll still put a smile on your their face. They are also pretty easy to bake…most of the ingredients, I bet you have them in your kitchen already.

My mom uses wrapped caramels, and melts them down, she also uses quick cooking oats. To make this recipe my own, I make my caramel sauce and I use rolled oats for a little bit chewier bar. I also add a bit more salt to balance out the sweet. It all seems perfect with the chocolate and caramel.


-preheat oven to 350 degrees

CARAMEL SAUCE (this is also perfect over ice cream!)

prep & cook time: 30 mins


Sugar               1 cup/252 grams
Heavy Cream    1 1/4 c/282 g
Kosher Salt       1/4 tsp
Vanilla Extract   1 tsp
Unsalted Butter  1 Tbsp/14 g

Caramel Sauce

-place sugar in medium sized sauce pan
-over medium heat, let sugar melt and caramelize until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently
-when sugar is almost melted start to whisk, and slowly add heavy cream (mixture will bubble up, continue to whisk)
-keep whisking until mixture is smooth and it starts to boil
-continue to boil, about 3-5 minutes, and sauce will start to reduce and get thicker
-continue to whisk
-remove from heat, add salt, vanilla, and butter, whisk to combine


prep & cook time: 60 mins


All Purpose Flour            2 1/4 c/393 g
Baking Soda                  1 1/2 tsp
Rolled Oats                     2 1/4 c/225 g
Kosher Salt                     2 tsp
Unsalted Butter, melted   1 1/2 c/340 g
Brown Sugar                   1 1/3 c/317 g

Semi or Bitter Sweet Chocolate Chips 12 oz bag


-place flour, soda, oats, salt, melted butter and brown sugar in large bowl and stir to combine
-place 2/3 of mixture in 9 x 13 pan (I like a glass Pyrex)

-press mixture down flat to create the bottom crust, and reserve the remaining 1/3 mixture for crumb top
-bake bottom layer for 10 minutes


-remove pan from oven, sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over surface of crust
-pour caramel sauce over chocolate chips
-sprinkle remaining crumble over caramel
-bake for 15-20 minutes, until top is golden and caramel is bubbling

photo 2_2

Let the bars cool, and they will be much easier to cut. (but I dare you to not dig in with a fork!)

I hope your turtle bars make you happy.

photo 1


This post was written and photographed by guest blogger (and one of my favorite human beings) Amber Sather:

baby ams
Amber Age 7 – cake by Mom
Amber is the pastry chef at Boxkite NYC in the East Village. She lives with her fiancé in Brooklyn where she spends much of her time eating, running and enjoying it all.

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