Cookies and Bars,  Dessert

Carmelitas

 

These gooey and chewy Carmelitas taste like a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie that has hints of delicious caramel.  If you are a caramel fan like me, you will love these bars!  The bars consist of two buttery oatmeal crumb layers filled with semisweet chocolate chips and creamy caramel.  Many carmelita recipes use caramel squares for the filling however this version has a caramel filling that is made from scratch.  These bars are a great sweet snack and are always popular!    

 

 

 

 

Tips for Making Perfect Carmelitas

 

  1. Heat the cream:  It is important to heat the heavy cream before making the caramel.  If cold cream is added to the hot sugar mixture, the sugar may harden and form lumps.   
  2. Avoid burning the caramel:  Once the sugar mixture is a deep amber colour immediately add the butter.  Adding the butter stops the sugar from cooking further and potentially burning.  
  3. Chill the caramel:  Chilling the caramel filling overnight will make it thicker, which will make it easier to spread.  
  4. Cream the butter and sugar sufficiently:  Creaming the butter and sugar until lighter in colour and fluffy maximizes the amount of trapped air within the butterfat.  This increases the leavening of the oat layers during baking, resulting in a lighter texture.
  5. Do not over-bake: Baking these bars for too long will cause them to over-brown and become hard.  Remove them from the oven as soon as the oat topping is baked and golden in colour.
  6. Chill the bars before cutting: If the bars are cut immediately after they are baked the filling may flow out and the bars will look messy.  Refrigerating the bars overnight before cutting will allow the filling to firm up and guarantee neater-looking bars.

 

 

Recipe Q & A

 

Q:  Can I use quick oats instead of large flake oats in the oat layers?

A:  You cannot substitute large flake oats for quick oats in this recipe.  Quick oats will make the oat layer tough and dry, instead of soft and chewy.  

Q:  Why are my oat layers hard?

A:  The oat layers can become hard if the bars are over-baked or if the dough is over-mixed after the flour has been added because of gluten development.  To avoid this, bake the bars only until golden in colour, and mix the dough on low speed and only for a short time after the flour has been added.  

Q:  The bottom of my bars are getting too dark during baking.  How do I prevent this?

A:  You can prevent bars from becoming too dark on the bottom during baking by doubling up the  baking pans.  This means placing the baking pan with your unbaked bars on top of a baking sheet and then baking the bars.  Doing this allows the heat to dissipate and be less intense at the bottom of the pan resulting in less browning.

Q:  How do I store the bars?

 A:  It is best to store these bars in the fridge or freezer because the caramel filling can get soft at room temperature and contains dairy which should be kept cool.  Store them in an air-tight container.

Q:  What is the shelf-life of the bars?

A:  These bars last 3 days refrigerated or ~1 month frozen.  

 

 

 

Carmelitas

 

Recipe By:         Blue Ribbon Eats, with the oat layer recipe from Averie Cooks and the caramel filling                                                           recipe adapted from Sugary Winzy

Servings:            ~20
Prep Time:        60 minutes
Baking Time:    ~28 minutes

 

 

 

INGREDIENTS

 

Caramel Filling:

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons purified water

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 

Oat Layers:

3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter

3/4 cup golden yellow sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup large-flake rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

 

 

INSTRUCTIONS

 

Caramel Filling:
  1. In a large pot add the heavy cream and bring to a boil.  Remove the pot from the heat.
  2. In another large pot add the sugar and purified water.  Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it turns a deep amber colour.  Remove the pot from the heat.
  3. Immediately add the butter and stir the mixture with a whisk until blended.
  4. Slowly add the heavy cream in increments, whisking the mixture until smooth after each addition.
  5. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat and cool until it reduces to a thick sauce consistency, ~10 minutes.
  6. Pour the caramel filling into a heat-proof bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate the filling overnight to set.

 

Oat Layers:
  1. Lightly grease the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with butter.  Cut a square of parchment paper the size of the bottom of the baking pan and a 2 inch strip of parchment paper that lines the inner sides of the baking pan.  Place inside the baking pan. 
  2. In a large bowl add the flour and baking soda.  Mix until blended.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer add the butter, sugar and sea salt.  Mix on medium-high speed using a paddle attachment until fluffy and paler in colour.  Add the vanilla extract and mix just until blended.
  4. Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture.  Mix on low speed just until blended.  Add the oats and mix just until blended.
  5. Place 1/2 of the dough in the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer that covers the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate for ~20 minutes.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until the oat layer is golden.  Cool on a wire rack for ~ 10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the oat layer so that it is evenly covered.  
  8. Carefully spread 3/4 cup of the cooled caramel filling on top of the chocolate chips layer so that it is completely covered.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 of the dough on top of the caramel filling so that it is evenly covered.
  10. Bake at 350°F for ~18  minutes or until the top oat layer is golden.  Cool on a cooling rack until room temperature and then refrigerate overnight, or until the caramel filling is firm.  Cut into bars and serve.

 

 

 

Yields 20 servings

Carmelitas

1 hrPrep Time

28 minCook Time

1 hr, 28 Total Time

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Recipe Image

Ingredients

Caramel Filling:

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons purified water

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Oat Layers:

3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter

3/4 cup golden yellow sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup large-flake rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

    Caramel Filling:
  1. In a large pot add the heavy cream and bring to a boil.  Remove the pot from the heat.
  2. In another large pot add the sugar and purified water.  Heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it turns a deep amber colour.  Remove the pot from the heat.
  3. Immediately add the butter and stir the mixture with a whisk until blended.
  4. Slowly add the heavy cream in increments, whisking the mixture until smooth after each addition.
  5. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat and cool until it reduces to a thick sauce consistency, ~10 minutes.
  6. Pour the caramel filling into a heat-proof bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate the filling overnight to set.
  7. Oat Layers:
  8. Lightly grease the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with butter.  Cut a square of parchment paper the size of the bottom of the baking pan and a 2 inch strip of parchment paper that lines the inner sides of the baking pan.  Place inside the baking pan. 
  9. In a large bowl add the flour and baking soda.  Mix until blended.
  10. In the bowl of a mixer add the butter, sugar and sea salt.  Mix on medium-high speed using a paddle attachment until fluffy and paler in colour.  Add the vanilla extract and mix just until blended.
  11. Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture.  Mix on low speed just until blended.  Add the oats and mix just until blended.
  12. Place 1/2 of the dough in the prepared baking pan and press into an even layer that covers the bottom of the pan.  Refrigerate for ~20 minutes.
  13. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until the oat layer is golden.  Cool on a wire rack for ~ 10 minutes.
  14. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the oat layer so that it is evenly covered.  
  15. Carefully spread 3/4 cup of the cooled caramel filling on top of the chocolate chips layer so that it is completely covered.
  16. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 of the dough on top of the caramel filling so that it is evenly covered.
  17. Bake at 350°F for ~18  minutes or until the top oat layer is golden.  Cool on a cooling rack until room temperature and then refrigerate overnight, or until the caramel filling is firm.  Cut into bars and serve.
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