I first came across carmelitas absolutely ages ago, and although I can’t for the life of me remember where I remember thinking that they looked amazing but I was put off from baking them by the fact the recipe called for wrapped caramels – I didn’t know whether this meant soft or hard, or what type to buy, and I didn’t like being confused so I didn’t save the recipe or attempt to make them.
Thanks to Pinterest, carmelitas were recently brought to my attention again, specifically through a recipe posted on Cooking Classy. This version had added salt, and the combination of salted caramel, chocolate, oats and brown sugar was just too much for me to resist.
For those of you who aren’t in the know, carmelitas are a sort of oaty cookie bar, with a layer of chocolate and caramel in the middle that is deliciously gooey when warm and stays just a little soft and squidgy when cool.
I still don’t know what type of caramels you’re supposed to use, but I decided to improvise and use half a can of leftover Carnation caramel that I had sitting in the fridge, which I figured would have a similar consistency to the melted caramels and cream used in the recipe.
The other change I made was to use milk chocolate with chopped hazelnuts instead of regular milk chocolate, which was mainly because the bar was on offer but also added an extra element of flavour and texture which I thought worked well.
Carmelitas are super sweet and a calorific nightmare, but they are also very addictive, so I highly recommend having a hungry pony on hand if you decide to make them…
Salted Carmelitas (recipe adapted from Cooking Classy)
- 120g plain flour
- 110g rolled oats
- 150g light brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 100g butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g ready made caramel
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 75g milk chocolate (with or without nuts), chopped
- 50g dark chocolate, chopped
Stir together the flour, oats, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave, and add to the dry mixture with the vanilla, stirring until all the dry ingredients are completely coated. Press between half and two thirds of the mixture into a greased and lined 8×8″ square baking tin, and bake at 180 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until just starting to firm up.
Heat the caramel in the microwave to make it easier to spread, and stir in the second tsp of vanilla and the sea salt – use more or less depending on how salty you like it. Spread the caramel over the oat base, then sprinkle both chopped chocolates in an even layer on top.
Crumble the remaining oat mixture between your fingers and lightly press down on top of the chocolate and caramel layer, then return to the oven to bake for a further 15 – 20 minutes, until the top is golden and the caramel is just starting to bubble around the edges. Leave to cool completely before slicing into bars.