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Carmelitas

Soft oatmeal crumb bars stuffed with gooey caramel, chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. These Carmelitas use the same mixture for the crust and topping and are so easy to make!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword carmelitas
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 16 bars
Author Danielle

Ingredients

For the crust and topping:

  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour spooned & leveled
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter , softened and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) old-fashioned rolled oats

For the filling:

  • 25 soft caramel candies , unwrapped (I use Kraft soft caramel candies)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup (140 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure to leave some overhang for easy removal, and set aside.

To make the crust and topping:

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Add the butter and cut it into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or a fork (you may also use an electric mixer for this step) until the mixture starts to come together and is crumbly. Stir in the oats.
  • Scoop half of the mixture into the prepared baking pan (place the other half in the refrigerator for later use) and firmly press it down into one even layer.
  • Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes or until the top of the crust looks set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

To make the filling:

  • Add the caramel candies and heavy whipping cream to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 20-30 second increments, stirring well after each increment, until fully melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
  • Grease the sides of the pan with butter or spray with nonstick cooking spray. This step is optional, but it helps to prevent any caramel from sticking too much to the foil.
  • Once the crust and caramel have cooled, pour the caramel on top of the crust, then sprinkle the chopped pecans and chocolate chips on top of the caramel. Remove the other half of the topping from the refrigerator and sprinkle it on top.
  • Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until the topping is lightly golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into bars and enjoy!

Notes

Caramel candies: I suggest using the caramel candies if you’re able to find them. However, if you can't find any or simply don't want to use them, you can substitute my homemade caramel sauce instead. It won’t be quite as thick as the caramel candies, but it should do the trick. 
Heavy whipping cream: If you don’t have heavy whipping cream on hand, you may be able to use whole or 2% milk in its place. I imagine you’d need to use just 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk since it’s much thinner than cream.