The Girl Who Ate Everything

Carmelitas

These Carmelitas are a buttery, brown sugar and oats bar with a chocolate chip layer, nuts, and caramel inside. These can easily be doubled and are one of our favortie desserts that are always a crowd pleaser.carmelitas

CARMELITAS RECIPE

About a month ago I was at my mother-in-law’s house visiting and she was going through all of her old recipes to keep or throw away. That’s kind of my ultimate dream; treasure hunting at its finest. The worse the actual recipe card looks the more intrigued I am.Carmelitas stacked

Heavily used handwritten recipes with lots of  spills and stains on them are absolute gold. You know what I’m talking about?

I stumbled on this Carmelitas recipe from my mother-in-law’s friend. You can tell it was old because it uses margarine. When was that big? The 80’s?

I substituted butter for the margarine because, hello butter. You can have these in the oven in less than five minutes. You guys they are buttery, sweet, gooey, chocolatey, and a little bit salty with the oats, nuts, and creamy caramel. Our favorite dessert bar!

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8″ or 9″ square baking dish or line with parchment pan. An 8″ dish will yield slightly thicker bars.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, oats, sugar, melted butter, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form crumbs. Divide mixture in half. Press half of the mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts (if using) in an even layer over baked mixture. For the Caramel Sauce: There are two ways to make the caramel sauce. 1) If using store bought caramel sauce, in a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons flour with store bought caramel sauce to thicken it. 2) If using square caramels, heat caramels and cream in a pot on the stove whisking and stirring until smooth. Drizzle caramel filling over chocolate chips and nuts.
  4. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top trying to cover most of the caramel. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with some kosher salt if desired. Cool completely before cutting. This takes a really long time. You can speed these up by placing the bars in the fridge. Serve and store bars at room temperature in an airtight container.

carmelitas

IS THERE REALLY NOT AN EGG IN THESE CARMELITAS?

I know us bakers are trained that baked goods without eggs usually turn into hockey pucks. Guess what? You do not need an egg in these Carmelita Bars. They’re still very tender and you won’t miss it at all in this easy recipe.

Carmelitas stacked

TIPS TO MAKING THESE CARAMELITAS PERFECT

  • Since there’s a lot of sweetness going on with the brown sugar and caramel, I think that semi-sweet chocolate chips are perfect but milk chocolate chips are too sweet. Which is also why we add a pinch of salt to the dough to balance out all the sweetness.
  • Rolled oats vs quick oats: Quick Oats are finer so they will make your crumble thicker because they are able to stick together like a dough unlike rolled oats. Rolled oats are good too because they have more of a defined texture. It really just comes down to personal preference and you can’t lose either way in these oatmeal carmelitas.
  • You can add a little vanilla extract to the cookie base.
  • Most recipes for carmelitas use melted caramel squares mixed with heavy cream as the center. They taste fine when warm but if they’re at room temperature or cold you can break your tooth trying to bite through the caramel layer which is why we are using caramel topping instead for a soft caramel layer.
  • Can I double this? Yes! You can easily make a double batch and bake in a 9×13 baking dish.
  • To cut these Carmelitas into perfect squares, cool completely. You can speed the process up by placing in the fridge.carmelitas

OTHER DESSERT RECIPES

carmelitas

Carmelitas

4.58 from 19 votes
These Carmelitas are a buttery, brown sugar and oats bar with chocolate chips, nuts, and caramel inside. These are a great dessert for a crowd!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 9 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats, (also works with old-fashioned oats)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, (6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, (optional)

Caramel Sauce using store bought caramel sauce:

  • 1/2 cup high quality caramel ice cream topping, (see note)
  • 3 tablespoons flour

Caramel Sauce using caramels:

  • 34 caramel squares, unwrapped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8" or 9" square baking dish or line with parchment pan. An 8" dish will yield slightly thicker bars.
  • In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, oats, sugar, melted butter, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form crumbs. Divide mixture in half. Press half of the mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes. 
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts (if using) in an even layer over baked mixture. For the Caramel Sauce: There are two ways to make the caramel sauce. 1) If using store bought caramel sauce, in a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons flour with store bought caramel sauce to thicken it. 2) If using square caramels, heat caramels and cream in a pot on the stove whisking and stirring until smooth.
    Drizzle caramel filling over chocolate chips and nuts. 
  • Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top trying to cover most of the caramel. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with some kosher salt if desired. Cool completely before cutting. This takes a really long time. You can speed these up by placing the bars in the fridge. Serve and store bars at room temperature in an airtight container.

Notes

This can be doubled and baked in a 9x13 baking dish.
I've also made these without adding flour to the caramel mixture. Depending how thick your caramel sauce is you may not have to add the flour.
Source: My mother-in-law's friend Peggy Rothmeier.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert

carmelitascarmelitas

carmelitas

100 of my favorite recipes! This is the family-friendly cookbook for anyone looking to plan quick-and-easy meals and wants a way to bring people together, feasting on food which can only be described as scrumptious.

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27 comments on “Carmelitas”

  1. Can I use margarine instead of butter? 

    • I’m personally not a fan of margarine and have not tested it but it should be fine

  2. Used an 8×8 pan and followed the recipe but they cooked too much on outside and are raw in the center. Any idea what i did wrong?

  3. What’s the cooking time if I put it in a 9×13 pan?

    • 9×13 will yield really thin bars. Probably around 12-14 minutes

  4. I’ve been wanting to make these for a long time but haven’t. My sister in-law always makes plenty for the holidays and graciously shares the bounty. My question is…instead of chopped nuts could I substitute pretzel bits instead? 

  5. These bars are fabulous. I could not believe that such an easy recipe would be so good. Thank you Christy. I am sharing the delicious carmelitas and the recipe!

  6. Made these the other day in a mini muffin tin and they were so good! Would I be able to make the oat/butter/sugar mixture ahead of time and refrigerate it so I could assemble the dessert before baking at a later time? Or would the oats’ texture be affected?

    • Not at all. You could totally make ahead of time!

  7. This is the best recipe. My family and friends love these. They are ooey, gooey, and downright delicious!

    I use oat flour instead of wheat flour but that was my only change. 

  8. We are on our 4th batch during quarantine – barely lasts a day in our household!

    Did you have a caramel recipe that you recommended a while ago? When I first made this a few months ago I thought I used a caramel recipe from your “notes” but now I can’t find it. 

    • Happy to hear that! I’m not sure where that would have been in my notes: This is an easy caramel recipe:
      1/2 cup unsalted butter
      1 cup light brown sugar
      1/3 cup heavy cream
      Instructions
      In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add brown sugar and heavy cream; whisk continuously over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
      Bring to a boil and allow to boil for only 3 minutes, while stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

  9. I completely forgot about carmelitas. Heading to the kitchen STAT!

    • They’re awesome!

  10. These were SO good!  I usually use the caramel squares and cream but had neither and I’ve had a jar of caramel sauce in my pantry begging to be used.  Why had I never thought to use caramel sauce?  This recipe is super easy, really quick, and so So SO good!  I made them before a trip to the library today and they were promptly devoured when we got home.  My 5yo wants to have this for her birthday cake.  🙂  Love tried-and-true recipes, so thanks to you, your MIL, and her friend!

    • Haha. Thanks K! I’m glad you approved.

  11. OMG! I NEED to make these. Soon! They look & sound absolutely delicious!

    • Hope you do!

  12. Hi!

    These look that amazing that i want to go into my kitchen right now and try them…. Can you remind me if your cups are UK or US Cups please? I would need to convert to grammes

    thank you!

    • She’s in Florida so it should be US cups. 🙂

    • Yes, sorry. US cups.

  13. These look so good! I wish I was eating my way through a pan of these right now!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

    • They’re good.

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