Continuing on with the Cheerios Motif...

Salted caramel.  Have you tried it?  

Now, I'm a chocolate girl, through and through, but salted caramel has me a bit smitten. I had a salted caramel cupcake in Seattle that was absolute perfection.  Don't even get me started on Teresa's Salted Caramel Frosting.

After making the Peanut Butter Cup Cheerios Bars, these Dulce de Leche Cheerios started calling my name.

Caramel Cheerios are perfectly delicious in a bowl with milk, and would be perfectly delicious in a bar on their own.  But, BUT (!), with layers of salted caramel sauce and just a *sprinkling* of flaky sea salt to make SALTED CARAMEL CHEERIOS BARS?  Oh baby.

{Did you know that food bloggers are not supposed to use the word "delicious?"  I just used it twice in the same sentence.  I hope I don't get kicked out of the union.}

Salted Caramel Cheerios Bars

for the sauce:
1 (14 oz.) package Kraft caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

for the bars:
3 TBSP salted butter
1 (10 oz.) package marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups Dulce de Leche Cheerios
flaky sea salt

Grease a 8" or 9" square pan and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat the caramels and evaporated milk over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.  Stir in the salt.  Keep warm over very low heat and stir occasionally while making the bars.

In a large pot or a dutch-oven, heat the butter, marshmallows, and vanilla over low heat until melted.  Remove from heat and stir in the Cheerios.
Place your hand in a baggie, spray with cooking spray and use your covered hand to press 1/2 of the mixture into the pan.  Drizzle on a heaping 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce.
Add the remaining Cheerios mixture on top.  Drizzle on 1/3 cup of the caramel sauce.  Sprinkle on flaky sea salt.  Set aside to cool and set before serving. (A bench scraper is the best tool for cutting.)

One word of will have extra caramel sauce.  Use it as an ice cream topping, to drizzle on your morning latte, or. or. like I did and grab a spoon.

Dear Cheerios, may I suggest your next flavor be birthday cake? ;)
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