Carmelitas are dessert bars that are layered with all kinds of delicious goodies like chocolate, caramel and oatmeal cookies.
I made these Carmelitas for the first time about 13 years ago, and I continue to be obsessed with them to this day. They are bars that have everything going on in them! I think it’s the swirls of dulce de leche throughout that have me enamored. Every time I make these and share them with others, I get the same reaction… “wow!”
How to make Carmelitas:
An oatmeal cookie layer is first up in these bars. Oatmeal cookie dough is pressed into the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan and baked for 15 minutes.
Then the baked cookie layer is topped with chocolate chips, pecans and spoonfuls of dulce de leche. More oatmeal cookie dough is crumbled on top. And finally- more chocolate chips, pecans and dulce de leche.
See all of those fabulous layers of deliciousness? All of those layers bake together to create these amazing bars. This isn’t diet food. This is a “special treat,” decadent dessert that you will absolutely love.
- Dulce de leche can be found in a can in your market’s baking aisle (or in the latin products aisle). Or you can make your own homemade dulce de leche.
- If you’re not a nut family (or if you’re allergic), leave out the pecans. Or substitute coconut for pecans!
- The recipe calls for using semi sweet chocolate chips, but use milk chocolate, dark chocolate or whatever you’d like.
How to store Carmelitas:
Store carmelitas in a covered container for up to 4 days. If you put that container in the freezer, they will keep up to three months. Let thaw at room temperature to serve. Or eat them frozen– they’re amazing!
Chocolate Oatmeal Carmelitas
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 2¼ cups packed light brown sugar
- 1½ cups (16 ounces) dulce de leche (canned is fine)
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1½ cups semi sweet chocolate chips
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13-inch pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk the 3 cups of flour with the baking soda and salt. Add the butter, oats and brown sugar and use an electric mixer to combine. In a small bowl, mix the dulce de leche with another 3 tablespoons of flour.
- Pat half of the oat mixture into the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Scatter half of the chocolate chips and pecans over the crust. Dollop half of the dulce de leche mixture on top. Crumble the remaining oat mixture evenly into the pan. Cover with the remaining chocolate chips, pecans and dollops of dulce de leche.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges are set. Let stand, uncovered at room temperature overnight. Cut the carmelitas into bars and serve.
- Purchase pre-made dulce de leche in a can or bottle. Nestle makes it (among other manufacturers.) We find ours in the Latin section of our market.
- Once cooled, the carmelitas can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.