These carmelitas bars toe that perfect line between a crunchy exterior and soft, gooey center. One bite into them, and its bubblegum-like middle comes to the fore, with its center oozing out as you chomp in. Its middle is a beautiful, creamy caramel center that squirts into your mouth.
The oats in the mix create a lovely texture and chew to the bars. It’s like a soft chocolate-chip cookie, packed full of melted caramel. What’s not to love?
Best of all, these beauties don’t require a mixer to put them together. They’re simple and straightforward to make.
It’s important to get the flour-to-oat ratio right with these. Anything too heavily in favor of oats will make them stodgy but unable to hold together properly. Be sure to follow the ratio closely, with more flour, to help them hold together perfectly.
The very same mixture is used to make the crust and topping, but cooked differently. This means that while flavor stays consistent throughout each bar, the different textures compliment each other beautifully.
Half of the mix is baked for 10 minutes to help form the crust, while the other half is crumbled on top after you apply the filling.
The filling is what really sets this all apart. It’s made by melting caramel and heavy cream together in either the microwave or on the stovetop.
Once the filling is ready, you simply drizzle it on the baked crust, before then sprinkle with chocolate and crumble on the other half of the oatmeal mixture. The layered approach to putting this together not only makes it really easy, but also gives them a beautiful, marble-like appearance.
You then put the pan in the oven and bake until the edges have set and the center is bubbly and molten.
Once baked, be sure to let the contents of the pan set and cool down completely before slicing. This can take a few hours or overnight, or you can even put them in the fridge to help them cool down even quicker. Whichever way you choose, just before the outside has set completely before slicing. If you cut too prematurely then you’ll create a mess with melted chocolate and caramel all over the place, and the bars just won’t stay intact.
Once cooled, the bars will still have that beautiful gooey interior, and the sugar and butter in the mix will have had time to caramelize and work their way into every part of the bake. Words can’t do it justice.
Do I have any tips for this recipe? Allowing them to cool properly aside, what I would also say is that if you’re a bit wary of them being too salty then try adding a pinch of salt. This helps balance the sweetness. You can do this to the crust mixture, or the caramel sauce. Personally, I prefer the latter, but there’s no reason why you can’t do both!
I also strongly recommend lining your cooking pan with aluminum foil. Not everyone does this, especially when already using cooking spray or oil, but I think it just makes cleaning up afterwards so much easier. Especially with something like chocolate, which can get cooked and burned on very easily.