Carmelitas

Chewy carmelita cookie bar, with a coconut oatmeal crust topped with chocolate chips and caramel sauce.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

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!).

It turns out that Reilly (13) had been hoping to make this carmelita 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.

Carmelitas Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 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.

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Showing 4 of 22 Comments

  • Mom

    When Elise said she could not resist and ate these she is not lying – I watched her eat 4 in a row. Alden came home and asked who ate so many. A middle child who wants to assure she gets the equal amount to siblings.

    Busted! ~Elise

  • catie

    gosh these look so delicious! I’m definitely going to make them! Just to clarify, though, is it 3/4 cup of butter, then melted; or do I melt butter first and then measure 3/4 of a cup of liquid? (or is there a difference? I seem to recall “butter, melted” is different from “melted butter”). Thanks!

    It’s 3/4 cup of melted butter, but you could easily go either way. If you want, measure the 3/4 cup first and then melt. ~Elise

  • Odelle

    Looking forward to trying these! I’m the adult! The addition of nuts is a must for me. One problem that I find is the amounts, I find trying to equate ‘Cups’ in to imperial measurements vary so much depending which comparison site is used amounts differ so much. Cups seems a far easier, speedier method, why can’t we use these in the U.K.? If it makes it easier is my motto! Any ideas where I can purchase a set of measuring cups please.
    Love your recipes & the stories behind them, you make reading ‘simply recipes’ a pleasure, thank you.
    Nutty Carmelita Bars here I come…..
    Odelle. (U.K.)

  • Tracyellen1619

    I pull out my Carmelita recipe every time I need to bring a sure thing to a gathering. I’ve NEVER met anyone that didn’t adore them. I have always used jarred caramel sauce blended with a bit of flour, but I’ll have to try making my own when I’m feeling ambitious. Love the addition of coconut and while I love nuts, I think crushed pretzels like someone mentioned, well, that might put it even more over the top!!

  • Sharon

    @Odelle in the UK…this is the set of measuring cups and spoons that I have. It has practically every possible measurement that you could ever need for “American” recipes. I bought it from Amazon, and checked today; it is available from Amazon.com.uk. I hope it could work for you, and solve your “conversion dilemmas!
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Progressive-GT-3520-International-19-Piece-Measuring/dp/B0014Y4X3G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306339883&sr=1-1

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