For several years, my daughter and I have been baking the same recipe for chocolate chip oatmeal bars that we simply refer to as “the bars.” They are our default dessert recipe, the one we whip up when we are greeting last minute guests or the great need for chocolate descends upon the house.
Last week she called and asked me if I had ever tried the recipe in our twin cookbooks that is on the same page as “the bars” to which I replied, “Oh, the Oatmeal Carmelitas? No, but I have thought about it,” the simple combination of caramel, chocolate chips, and pecans sounding deliciously like a Turtle candy. “Me, too,” she said, though this day she had actually baked them and they were wonderful.
Today is the day we tried the Carmelitas and now I wonder why so many years have passed by in my life without them. Move over bars.
2 cups flour
2 cups rolled oats
1 ½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ butter softened to room temperature
1 cup caramel ice cream topping
3 TBS. flour
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup nuts (I prefer pecans)
In bowl, mix together crust ingredients. Press half of it (about 3 cups) into a greased 9 X 13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Mix together caramel topping and flour until well blended. When crust is baked, sprinkle with chips and nuts. Drizzle caramel on top. Top with rest of crust mixture and bake for 18-22 minutes. Cool completely and place in fridge for a couple hours to set the filling.
This recipe comes from my favorite baking cookbook, pictured above, that is now out of print. You can find copies of it from time to time at used bookstores online. It is called Pillsbury: The Complete Book of Baking and is definitely one to add to your collection. (As of this post, there is a copy of this 1993 book available on ebay and several can also be purchased as Albris.)