Ooey, gooey, and dripping with caramel, Carmelitas are an excellent way to satisfy any sweet tooth. Who can resist a layer of melted caramel and chocolate sandwiched between a shortbread crust and oatmeal topping?
Here we are once again. It’s Sunday evening. This coming week is a little different from most. It’s the last week of work before I go on vacation. YAY!!! I’m not sure why, but it seems the week just before a holiday is always busy. I anticipate extra duties at work with a lot of unexpected hiccups. That’s ok, though, because as of Friday afternoon, I’ll have a whole week to cook, catch up on blog posts, and get some much-needed rest and relaxation.
I can’t wait to have extra time to cook some of my favorite dishes. Unfortunately, I worked quite a bit this weekend, so I didn’t have a lot of time in the kitchen. We always have something sweet after dinner even if it’s a few chocolate chips, a small bowl of ice cream, or a spoonful of honey. I had to find something to make, so I decided to make Carmelitas. They combine some of my favorite ingredients, caramel, chocolate, shortbread and oats.
These little gems are relatively easy to make. There are multiple steps, but it’s not too complicated. Be prepared for some stickiness, but it is so worth it. We usually go through a full pan of these in two days flat at my house. You’ll be glad you put in the time and effort to make them.
Prep the Pan:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cover a 9 x 9-inch pan completely with foil. The foil should wrap around the sides to ensure the contents don’t spill over into the pan while cooking. Using foil helps with clean up and keeps the gooey caramel from sticking to the sides. Pour 1 to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil onto the foil and use a paper towel to grease the foil thoroughly.
Make the Crust:
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the softened butter, brown sugar, salt and flour into a soft dough. I use a KitchenAid Stand Mixer on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should hold together and form a loose ball. Place the dough in the prepared pan and press evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. Use a fork to poke holes in the dough. Cook the mixture on 325 degrees for 20 minutes then turn down the heat to 300 degrees for another 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Make the Caramel Sauce:
The caramel sauce is easy to make and only takes a few minutes. I like to use Kraft Caramel Bits, but Kraft Caramel Squares can also be used. The squares will take a bit longer simply because they have to be unwrapped. Either way, place the contents of the entire bag of caramels into a saucepan with the heavy cream. Cook over medium heat while stirring every couple of minutes until the mixture will begin to melt. At that point, constantly stir to keep it from burning.
After the caramel has melted and is combined with the heavy cream, it’s ready to be added to the crust. Before adding the caramel, sprinkle 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips over the cooled crust.
Next, carefully pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips.
Make the Top Crust:
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, oats, baking soda and salt. The mixture will be thick and should hold together when pressed. Using your fingers or a spoon, place the mixture on top of the caramel in a layer. It’s okay if some of the caramel seeps through.
Cook the Carmelitas:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Caramel may begin to bubble slightly and oat topping will start to brown. Be careful not to overcook because the caramel will burn. Remove the Carmelitas from the oven and allow them to cool for at least an hour before putting them in the refrigerator.
Cool and Serving:
Place the pan of Carmelitas in the fridge and allow to chill for 3 to 4 hours. The good thing about the caramel sauce is it will still be ooey gooey even after refrigeration. Cut the dessert into squares and serve. 🙂 After the Carmelitas cool in the refrigerator, remove and place on the counter for storing.
Used for this recipe:
- 14 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 10 ounce package caramel bits or squares
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup All-Purpose flour
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Prepare 9 x 9-inch baking dish by lining it completely with foil and grease with oil.
Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all ingredients for the shortbread crust on low speed until a soft dough forms.
Place the dough into prepared pan and press to spread evenly.
Use a fork to poke holes in the dough.
Place pan in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Decrease heat to 300 degrees and cook an additional 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow crust to cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sprinkle the cup of chocolate chips over the cooled crust.
In a saucepan, combine caramel bits and heavy cream.
Cook over medium heat and stir every couple of minutes until the mixture begins to melt. Once the mixture starts to melt, stir constantly.
After caramel mixture melts, pour over the chocolate chips.
Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine all ingredients for the oatmeal crust.
A soft mixture will form and should hold its shape when pressed.
Using your fingers or a spoon, place the mixture on top of the caramel.
Place pan in the preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Caramel will begin to bubble and oatmeal topping will start to brown.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for at least an hour then transfer to the refrigerator.
Allow the dessert to chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
Cut into squares and serve.