Featured in our Fall 2021 Food + Entertaining article, Tailgate in Style (With a Little Help), these Carmelitas are for the serious caramel lover. They are soft and chewy layered bars dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate. Easy one-bowl, no mixer recipe that everyone loves!
¾ cup butter, melted (1½ sticks)
¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-rolled old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
35 caramel squares, unwrapped (I used Werther’s Originals Baking Caramels which are slightly bigger than cellophane-wrapped caramels; if using the cellophane-wrapped ones, I recommend using a couple more.)
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set pan aside. Note, lining your pan is highly recommended for ease of cleanup due to the stickiness of the caramel.
- In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 90 seconds. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour, oats, baking soda, optional pinch of salt, and stir until combined. Mixture will be quite thick.
- Add about half (just eyeball it) of the mixture to the prepared pan, and smooth it with spatula or the back of a spoon, to create an even, smooth, flat layer; set remainder aside.
- Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce.
- In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the caramels, cream, and salt, and heat on high power in 60-second bursts to melt caramels, stirring after each burst. It will likely take about 4 to 5 minutes total to melt; heat until mixture can be stirred until smooth. Alternatively, combine caramels and cream in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously, until mixture can be stirred smooth.
- After 10 minutes, remove pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate.
- Slowly and evenly pour caramel sauce over the chocolate. Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top.
- Return pan to oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and center is bubbling slightly.
- Allow bars to cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving, giving the molten caramel time to firm up. This can take up to 4 hours, or overnight, at room temperature. You can speed it up by placing pan in fridge with a sheet of foil over the top. If you don’t wait for bars to cool completely, they’ll be a literal hot mess. They’ll taste fine, but they won’t slice neatly with clean cuts.
- Recipe from Averie Sunshine, Averie Cooks
- MAKE AHEAD: Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.