Gooey and Delicious Carmelitas

With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, some of you may be on the hunt for a great dessert to fix for your sweetheart.  Or maybe you want to make something for yourself and boycott the holiday.  Either way, this is the dessert for you!

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Valentine’s Day has a special importance for my husband and I.  In the past, I was never really a huge v-day celebrator.  I’d rather show my love all year round, not just on a Hallmark holiday right?  Well, on Valentine’s Day 2009, that all changed.  At that point, I’d been dating Josh for about 3.5 years and we’d discussed marriage already, it was just waiting for what I hoped was the inevitable proposal.  Little did I know it was about to happen 🙂

I had been sick with pneumonia for 3 weeks prior to the holiday, so when he asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate, I just said I wanted to pick up takeout Chinese and stay in and watch a movie.  Low key, just my style 🙂  So he came back with the bag of takout, placed it on the table, and I started to unpack the bag, turned around and there he was, down on one knee in our kitchen with a beautiful engagement ring on a pair of chopsticks asking me to marry him!

Of course I said yes through my happy tears and the rest was history 🙂  So now, Valentine’s Day will always be a special day that I will never forget!

Whether you are going all out in your celebration, or keeping it low key at home, this simple and easy dessert is sure to amaze you!  No mixer required, and it comes together quickly… sounds good huh?

Instead of going pink and red dessert crazy like is so common this time of year, I kept it classic with one of my husband’s favorite flavor combinations, chocolate and salted caramel.  Just reading those two ingredients together makes my mouth water!

So let’s get down to it and see how these yummy bars come together!

Start by melting your butter, then whisking in your brown sugar and vanilla.

Carmelitas

Using a rubber spatula, stir in flour, oats, a pinch of salt and baking soda.  It’ll be gooey, but still easy to mix by hand.

Carmelitas

Line an 8×8″ baking pan with aluminum foil (non-stick if you have it) and spray lightly with cooking spray.  Divide dough mixture in half and press half into the bottom of the baking pan.  Use your fingers or the back of your rubber spatula to press it.

Carmelitas

Now bake for about 10 minutes or so.  I used that time to make the caramel sauce 🙂  You can use any caramels that you like, I used Kraft brand that are wrapped in cellophane.  You’ll need about 40 caramels, which for me, was the whole bag lol.  Put them in a microwave safe bowl and pour the heavy cream over the top.  Microwave for about 4 minutes, stirring every 60 seconds, until it gets to a smooth, glossy consistency.

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Once the bottom crust is done baking, take it out of the oven and sprinkle your chocolate chips evenly over the top.  I followed the recipe and went with semi-sweet chocolate for this since the bars are already super sweet, but if you’d prefer milk chocolate, go for it 🙂

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

I just wanted to take a second to look at these glorious chocolate chips… mmmmmm

Pour the caramel sauce over the top of the chocolate chips.  I chose to add some salt to the caramel sauce to make it a salted caramel because I think that flavor combo is just heavenly.

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Now remember that second half of the oat mixture we made?  Here’s where you’re going to use it.  I wanted to crumble it over the top, for a soft, crumbly crust… but you can press it into a flat layer if you’d like.

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Just slide the pan back into the oven for anywhere from 15-18 minutes.  Mine took 18, to get a slightly firm center and lightly golden brown edges.

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

At this point, you could be finished and just let the bars cool.  But because I wanted to be a bit more indulgent, I melted some milk chocolate and drizzled it over the top of the bars 🙂  I used these awesome decorating bottles I found for a great price….

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

While it may be SUPER tempting to dive right into these bars, and trust me, it will be… they will taste amazing, but will be a huge mess lol.  Think about what’s under that oat crust… hot melted caramel and chocolate.  It’ll fall apart and liquid candy will be all over your plate lol.  So my advice would be to wait for them to cool for a couple of hours before slicing into them.

Now just be prepared for your mouth to be amazed!

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

This recipe makes an 8×8″ pan, but I think you could easily double the recipe and make a 13×9″ pan (the bars just may be a little thicker).  These would also freeze well.  Although I’ve never frozen them (they don’t last long enough lol), Averie at Averie Cooks says they would freeze for several months in an airtight container 🙂

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Just look at that ooey, gooey caramel sauce!

The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

This recipe is adapted slightly from Averie Cooks 🙂

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Carmelitas - The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!

Gooey and Delicious Carmelitas

The perfect sweet treat for any occasion... these carmelitas are full of sweet oats, luscious chocolate and decadent melted caramel!
5 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 28 mins
Total Time: 38 mins
Servings: 8 x8 pan
Recipe Author The Chunky Chef

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats don't use quick cooking
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt optional
  • 40 caramel squares unwrapped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt (for salted caramel sauce feel free to omit if you'd like)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8" pan with aluminum foil (the nonstick kind if you have it) and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • Melt butter in small dish, in microwave for about 60 - 90 seconds.
  • Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined.
  • Add the flour, oats, baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt, and stir with rubber spatula until combined.
  • Add half of the oat mixture to the prepared pan, press it with spatula or fingers, into an even layer.
  • Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce.
  • In a bowl, combine the unwrapped caramels, cream, and microwave for 4 minutes, stirring every 60 seconds, until the sauce is smooth and easy to stir. Add 1/2 tsp salt and stir.
  • After 10 minutes, remove pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the oats.
  • Carefully pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate.
  • Crumble remaining oat mixture over the top (or press it into a smooth layer).
  • Place in oven and bake for about 18 minutes (yours might be done sooner, start checking after about 15 minutes), or until edges are lightly browned and center is just set.
  • Melt milk chocolate and drizzle over the top of the bars.
  • Let bars to cool completely in the pan before slicing or else the hot caramel and chocolate will run everywhere. Mine took about 2-3 hours. You could also put the pan in the refrigerator, covered, to speed up the cooling process.
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47 comments on “Gooey and Delicious Carmelitas”

  1. I changed these up a bit because I’m not a chocolate fan. I chopped up dried apples to use instead of the chocolate chips and added cinnamon, ginger and cloves to the “dough”. My lab rats (the ladies on whom I test recipes), loved them. I saved two for my husband and I.  Quite delicious. 

  2. Can you use a good quality caramel sauce in a jar in place of the candies?  Can the recipe be doubled and made in a 13 x 9 in. Pan?
    Thanks

  3. I only have quick oats can I still use them and what’s the reason you cant…..thank you

    • I’ve never tested the recipe using quick oats, so I can’t say for certain how the final result will be… but in theory, quick oats absorb moisture quicker, and therefore the bars won’t have quite the same chewy texture.

  4. How many “caramel bits” (little unwrapped balls) is 40 squares equal to?
    Thank you

  5. What if I forget to bake the first layer, can I bake it all at onceand how long should I bake it then?
    Adele

  6. A Tablespoon of vanilla sounds like a lot. Is that correct? I’ve looked at other recipes and some don’t even add vanilla and others add only a teaspoon. Just wanted to clarify. Thanks!!

    • Hi Laura 🙂 Yes, 1 Tbsp is correct. Of course you could use less if you’re worried, but this recipe has been made quite a bit over the years and I promise it’s not overly vanilla-y 🙂

      • Ok. Great! Thanks!! They look wonderful. I’m
        making them for my sisters for Mother’s Day. They deserve a special treat. 

  7. Is the butter 1 1/2 cup or 1 1/2 sticks ? The recipe published is a little confusing 

  8. I love the creamy goodness of these! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday! Hope you come back and share some more!! Pinned!

  9. These look amazingly delicious! <3 Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  10. What a decadent dessert! I love everything in it! I am just drooling.

  11. I am not a huge fan of caramel, but these bars might make me to be one. These look incredibly divine. 🙂

  12. That’s such a sweet love story <3 <3 May your life always be filled with love and happiness. The carmelitas look so deliciously gooey and yum. I liked it when you said no reds or pinks but brown because your husband loves it. I think that's really sweet.

  13. That last closeup had me salivating. I love gooey! Pinning! Stopping by from Best of the Weekend!

  14. These look soooooo gooey good!

  15. Perfect descriptors, gooey and delicious and I love the name, Carmelites. They look positively heavenly, Thanks for bringing to the party.

  16. These are just to die for! I am bookmarking for a special occasion! 😀

  17. Oh my goodness, this look amazing! Thanks so much for sharing your talent with Full Plate Thursday. Wishing you a Valentine Day filled with Love!
    Miz Helen

  18. My diet officially just went down the tubes LOL

  19. Holy cow! First the cashew chicken and now these Carmelita bars? My mom used to make these bars from a neighbor’s recipe and our family just loved them when I was growing up. But yours look mouthwateringly so much better . . . that caramel sauce up close is killing me! Outstanding job here!

    • Thank you!! Oh wow, I’m humbled that mine looks better than your mom’s, that’s top praise right there 🙂 I have to say that after I took these pics.. those bars were too tempting and I ate them… that caramel sauce was tempting me too much lol

  20. Oh my, I did not need to see this at almost midnight…now I want something sweet! #ThursdayFavoriteThings

  21. Whoa those look so amazing oozing with caramel and chocolate. And I have to agree, they look dangerous, dangerously good! Thanks for sharing. 😉

  22. Oh wow!! What a delicious treat! I love all that gooey caramel! If you had a spare moment, I would be delighted if you’d drop this (and anything else you’d like to share) by at the #PureBlogLove anything goes link party! You can find me here: http://picnicnz.blogspot.co.nz/

  23. This looks dangerous…but oh so good! Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop! Hope you can visit me http://www.over50feeling40.com. Have a great weekend!