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Salted Carmelitas

An oatmeal bar cookie with a luscious layer of salted caramel, chocolate, and pecans.
Course Dessert
Cuisine dessert
Keyword bar cookie, camping dessert, salted caramel
Author audrey

Ingredients

Salted Caramel

  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 5 TBSP butter cut into 1 TBSP pieces
  • 2 pinches flaked or fine sea salt I used Kosher salt
  • 1/2 C cream

Bar Ingredients

  • 3/4 C butter melted
  • 3/4 C brown sugar packed
  • 1 C flour
  • 1 C rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate chips about 3/4 C
  • 2 oz pecans about 1/2 C
  • Kosher salt or flaky salt for sprinkling optional

Instructions

Caramel

  • Melt the granulated sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need. Leave the sugar alone until you see the edges are starting to liquefy. Once that starts to happen, you can gently shake and rotate the pan until the majority of the sugar is liquid. It takes me a lot restraint to not dive in with a spoon immediately when I see the sugar has started to liquefy, but holding off will save you from dealing with sugar lumps. Once most of the sugar is liquid and amber in color, you can begin to stir the mixture gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the sea salt and five tablespoons butter and stir until the butter melts. Lower the heat and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream, whisking the whole time. The sauce will foam, hiss, and possibly ball up; just ignore it and whisk until the sauce is smooth. Set aside until needed.

Bars

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Combine the 3/4 C of melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans over the crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel.
  • Return to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with a few generous pinches of salt for that great salty/sweet combo. Cool completely before cutting into squares or just dive in with a fork. (Note: Don’t freak out about the caramel that will inevitably stick to the sides of your pan. Since it’s all just sugar it will wash off easily in hot water or the dishwasher.)

Notes

You can forgo making the salted caramel and use store bought caramel. You will need about 1 C.
I'm updating this recipe in 2021 and am having one of those mom moments where I look at my itty-bitty helper who is now 9 years-old and wondering, where has the time gone?