1 1/4 c. quick oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
14 oz. package caramels, unwrapped
2 TBSP half-and-half
1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine quick oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add melted butter and mix well. Divide oatmeal mixture in half. Press one half into an ungreased 9x13 pan; bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool slightly.
Meanwhile, melt caramels and half-and-half in a 2-qt. microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high at one-minute intervals, stirring until smooth and creamy. (Optional: Reserve some caramel mixture to drizzle over top, prior to cutting into bars). Pour caramel over baked oatmeal mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel. Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the top. Return to oven and bake for 12 minutes longer, until light golden brown. Cool completely.
Makes 3 dozen bars. These freeze well!