Carmelita Bars

I swear to you I tried to not make these. The last thing I wanted to make with my young friends (Reilly, Alden, and Piper) was something loaded with chocolate chips and caramel. But try as I might, when we got together to cook the other day, I got not a glimmer of interest for a potential kale recipe (“But girls, it tastes like bacon!) and it turns out that Reilly (13) had been hoping to make this recipe for the site for months. She had researched it, tasted versions made by her friends, and made sure we had all of the ingredients. She even suggested adding shredded coconut to the batter to make the carmelita bars less dry and more chewy. The girls also vetoed the nuts, being of the age (I’m keeping fingers crossed that they will grow out of this) that they will meticulously pick out anything that resembles a nut from a baked good.

The verdict? Wow.

I swear to you I tried not to eat these.

But, I just couldn’t help myself.

Yum.

Be warned, these are pretty chewy, probably much chewier than what you may have found with other carmelita recipes. If you ever bake with a bakers edge pan this would be a good time to use it.

oatmeal-carmelita-bars-b.jpg
Reilly scooping out the caramel sauce for the carmelita bars.

  • Prep: 10 minutes
  • Cook: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 24 bars.

Most carmelita recipes I've found include some kind of nut, either walnuts or pecans. The kids opted not to put nuts in their version, but if you wanted to include them, add sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped nuts over the crust after you remove the crust from the first bake in step 4. Then top with chocolate chips and caramel. We made our own caramel sauce from scratch but feel free to use a jarred sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp (separated) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 1/3 cup (separated) quick oats
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup caramel sauce

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350°F.

2 Stir together the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, then the melted butter, then the coconut.

3 Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray, or spread with butter. Pat the dough into an even layer at the bottom of the pan.

4 Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cover with the caramel sauce. Spread out into an even layer. In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp of flour and 1/3 cup of oats. Sprinkle the flour oat mixture over the top of the caramel.

5 Put back in the oven and bake for another 25 minutes.

6 Remove from oven and let cool first for 5 minutes. Cut into bar shapes. Then let cool an additional 20 to 30 minutes before serving. The bars will firm up a bit as they cool, though they should still be rather chewy.

Main Ingredients

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Cuisine