These Caramelitas are chewy bars with caramel and chocolate sandwiched between a crunchy, delicious oatmeal cookie crust! It’s an easy, delicious recipe.
I think it’s the associations we make. It’s not just the fact that those bars are absolutely delicious, it’s that they’re served at Christmas, where everyone is happy and loving and having fun.
We associate our family recipes with good times, and that just makes them taste so much better.
We have a few family recipes that, through all my trying, I just can’t seem to beat. And if I change an ingredient…well, those family gatherings aren’t so loving anymore.
My mother, for instance, has a wild love affair with dulce de leche. Her whole family can sit around with a spoon and demolish a jar of the stuff (as she probably could, alone). Whenever I use dulce de leche in a dessert, she scowls, tells me I’m wasting the dulce de leche, and that it’s NEVER as good in a dessert because it dilutes the flavor.
Oops, sorry mom.
These bars are another example of a dessert I better not mess with.
I know they’re not just my family recipe, and the recipe is scattered all over the internet, but to me, they represent family, and the holidays.
They’re chewy, sweet, and homey, with a little bit of crunch and chocolate. They’re not fancy or decorated or impressive to look at, but they’ll make your taste buds swoon. It’s an oatmeal cookie, sandwiches with chocolate and ooey-gooey caramel. They’re perfect for a cookie platter full of homemade, delicious treats.
Maybe, just maybe, if your family is open to them, they’ll become a family favorite of yours as well.
For the crust
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups quick oats
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter softened
For the filling
- 1 cup (12.5 oz) caramel sauce
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13x9-inch pan with parchment paper or foil and grease lightly. In large bowl, combine all crust ingredients; mix at low speed until crumbly but combined.
Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups) for the topping. Press remaining crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of greased pan. Bake at 350°F. for 10 minutes.
While the crust is baking, stir together the 3 tablespoons flour and caramel sauce.
Remove partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips and nuts if using. Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the top.
Return to oven. Bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 hour or until completely cooled. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into 36 bars.