Carmelitas

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.

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

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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Comments

  • Olga

    Hi, it’s me again. This time I tried it with honey caramelised shredded carrots, hazels and fresh ginger and it worked out great. I’ve been cooking both versions nonstop, and my friends keep bringing me nuts as ‘presents’ so that I never run out of ingredients ;)

  • Olga

    I tried this one yesterday substituting coconut and chocolate for walnuts and lemon rind (added both to the dough)and it worked out just fine. Right now I’m wondering what would go well with hazelnuts :) Thanks for the recipe!

  • Eleni

    Made these this week. I would cut the butter down to 1/2 C. They were a bit on the greasy side for me. Also, don’t put them in the fridge or they get rock hard…I mean you could break a tooth. But the flavor was yummy. I still prefer the ones from whole foods though. Thanks for the recipe :)

  • Walter

    Made a new batch yesterday. Same Dark Chocolate chips, a cup of the fruit & nut trailmix and this time, Strawberry Topping instead of Caramel Sauce. My son said it was better than the first one. The strawberry taste is a little bitter, fresh made. But it mellows overnight in the fridge. What can I come up with next?
    Oh. Forget the Cashews. Baking them, reduces their flavor. Couldn’t tell what I was eating.

  • Walter

    P.S. I just remembered. How do you store these? Mine ended up in an airtight container in the fridge.

    Our carmelitas went so quickly, storage was not an issue. Airtight and in the fridge sounds like a good way to do it. ~Elise

  • Walter

    I finally made this yesterday. Very modified. I suggest using non-stick aluminum foil in the pan. Forget the grease. It worked great! As for the recipe… I doubled the batter. I had something that looked like German Chocolate Cake Frosting. I let that sit for 15 minutes for the oatmeal to absorb the butter. I used 2-1/2 cups of this for the bottom layer. Baked for 12 minutes, then layered 1 cup of Hersheys Special Dark chips, 1/2 cup of broken Cashews, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of Fruit & Nut Trail Mix. I had a 11.5oz. jar of Caramel Sauce. Whole thing went over the layers. The balance of the batter, got spooned over the top in drops. Baked for 25 min. Cooled in the pan for an hour. Then removed the foil with the cookie. Pulled back the foil and cut into bars. My pan must be different from yours. I only managed 16 bars. :) My son tryed one bar, then kept walking thru the kitchen swipping more.
    I have a jar of hot fudge sauce sitting on the counter. Can’t wait to try this again.

  • 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

  • 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!!

  • 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.)

  • 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

  • Amy Rollo

    Here’s a thought… I will have to try this… Instead of adding the 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, add 1/2 cup of very coarsely chopped pretzels. They add the nut crunch, but without the nuts. This bit of salt also blends nicely with the sweet ingredients.

  • Kristyn Lambrecht

    I like Reilly’s idea of shredded coconut sans the nuts – I took a pan of these to house church, and I had people begging me for the recipe :) Thanks for sharing this. They were so easy to make!

  • Walter

    Please confirm. You are using a 9×13 pan for the quantities listed? I would think that would fit into a 9×9 pan. I have Googled and found recipes calling for 2 cups flour, 2 cups oatmeal and 1-1/2 cups brown sugar going into a 9×13 pan. I would think your thin layer in a 9×13 would burn.
    Also, any problems with using cashews and raisins along with the chocolate and coconut to make a thick middle layer?

    Yes, we definitely used a large 9×13 pan (I measured with a tape measure). Several of the recipes I found put a layer of the flour oatmeal batter on the bottom and then again on top, which may account for the increased measurements if that is the type of recipe you are comparing ours to. We put all of the dough/batter on the bottom and then just sprinkled the top with a few oats and flour mixed together. As for cashews and raisins, I don’t think there would be a problem. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Monica

    Love, love, love these bars! I made them yesterday and everyone loves them (even my child that doesn’t like coconut!) They came together so quickly, even with making the caramel sauce. Yummy! Definitely going into my cookie/bar rotation. Thank you!!!

  • Monica

    I recently made Carmelitas (a family favorite), but substituted whole wheat pastry flour for white flour and old fashioned rolled oats for quick oats. Tasted great–my family didn’t notice.

  • Jenn

    wonder how these would be with the fleur de sel caramel sauce you can get at Trader Joe’s (since I’m sometimes lazy & don’t want to make my own caramel)?

  • Greg

    We don’t like coconut in our house. Is there something we could replace that with or just leave it out?

    You can try making them without the coconut but I think it’s important for the chewy texture of these carmelitas. ~Elise

  • Jen

    So, if you remove the coconut, would you recommend adding in something else? Does it add significant sweetness?

    I think there is sufficient sweetness with the chocolate chips and caramel. The coconut adds texture and helps make the result more chewy and moist. Most carmelita bars don’t use coconut though, so feel free to omit. ~Elise

  • Lauren

    These look fantastic Elise. My father loves coconut so I plan on making him a batch, sprinkled with some chopped almonds or pecans, for father’s day. My fiance and I have been visiting your blog for awhile now and we always find your recipes well-written and tasty. Thank you!

  • Nicole

    These sound good…except…do you think they’ll be just as tasty without the coconut? Or, is there a substitute I could use? I don’t eat coconut if I can avoid it. I think it has to do with the texture rather than the taste. I feel like I’m chewing packing straw.

    Just skip the coconut if you want. ~Elise

  • Vivian

    They look delish. Does it have to be quick oats? Can regular oats be used? Any chance you’ve tried it?

    I think regular oats probably need to cook a lot longer, which is why every recipe I’ve found uses quick oats. Not instant oats mind you, but quick oats. ~Elise

  • 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