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!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 8" or 9" square baking dish. An 8" dish will yield slightly thicker bars.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, oats, sugar, butter, baking soda, and salt. Mix to form crumbs. Put aside a rounded 1/2 cup of the mixture. Press remaining crumbs in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and nuts (if using) over baked mixture. Mix 3 tablespoons flour with caramel mixture and drizzle over chocolate chips and nuts.
Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top trying to cover most of the caramel. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting. You can speed these up by placing the bars in the fridge. Serve and store bars at room temperature.
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.