Carmelita Bars

Carmelita Bars Carmelita bars might be my absolute favorite dessert item. I say “might” because as my future husband knows, I tend to have a lot of “favorites”… about 5 “favorite” Led Zeppelin songs, 7 “favorite” colors, 3 “favorite” types of tacos, 30 “favorite” nail polish colors, etc. etc. But seriously, there is something so magical about carmelita bars… ever since I tried my first one from the Whole Foods bakery on 24th Street in Manhattan, I was sold. The magic lies in the incredible oat-y shortbread crust. Or maybe it’s the layers of chocolate chips and pecans? Or no, it must be with the delectable homemade salted caramel sauce. Carmelita Bars Yeah. All of those things. Making your own caramel sauce from scratch might seem like a daunting task, but I promise you it’s easy peasy. You just need a nice, deep, heavy-bottomed pot and a little bit of time to make your own amazing sauce that you can use on anything from ice cream to cake and of course, these bars. Plus, you get to avoid all the nasty chemicals from store-bought sauce in a jar, at a fraction of the cost! Honestly, the hardest part about making these bars was waiting the hours necessary to let it cool in the fridge!

Carmelita Bars
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Ingredients
For the Salted Caramel:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 3½ tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
For the Bars:
  • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1¾ cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped coarsely
  • salted caramel sauce (from above, you should have about 1⅓ cups)

Instructions
  1. Let’s start by making the salted caramel: In a large pot (something you’d boil pasta in, with tall sides), add the sugar and water and set to medium heat. Swirl the pan to combine the sugar and water, then bring the mixture to a boil. At this point, do not stir. Put a lid on the pan and continue boiling for 2-3 minutes (this allows the steam to clean any crystals off the sides of the pan). Take off the lid and continue cooking the mixture (still without stirring) until it’s a beautiful deep amber color. Take the pan off the heat and add the heavy cream (be careful, it’ll bubble up, which is why you want a nice big pot). Add the butter and salt and whisk until combined into caramel. Set aside while you make the bars.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, or line with parchment paper.
  3. Add 2 cups of the flour, the oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low just to combine. Add the butter and beat on low speed until the butter is broken into small bits and the mixture is crumbly. Transfer about two-thirds of the mixture to the prepared pan and press into an even layer over the bottom to form the crust. Bake for 10 minutes then remove the pan and transfer to a wire rack.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the surface of the crust, then add the pecans. Stir the remaining 2 tbsp of flour into the salted caramel sauce until incorporated, then pour the caramel over the chocolate chips in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the chocolate and caramel. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned. Remove the pan to a wire rack and allow the bars to cool completely then refrigerate for at least 2 hours (this will be the absolute hardest part!). Cut into squares and serve.

Adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures‘ awesome recipe, via Cooking Channel. Carmelita Bars Go ahead and enjoy these bars over the holiday weekend… you won’t be disappointed! Happy eating :-) mally

Comments

    • Mallory says

      Thanks for stopping by, Marta! I checked out your blog and love it! And honestly there are just too many good LZ songs to pick just one, or 10, as favorites :)

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