Apparently I have been deprived. I had never heard about Carmelitas until about a month ago when I made a trip to Whole Foods with a good friend. We had both run a decent half marathon that day and so she was looking for a treat (I am pretty sure I had something at home that I was indulging in) and bought a Carmelita. I had never heard of such a creation. Even though she is a bit of a food addict, she actually shared a little with me. It was delicious. And I had to figure out how to make them.
However, I hadn’t made any effort to find a recipe when suddenly I saw them posted all over Pinterest. Since I had an upcoming night of food, laughter, gossip & good times with my gym friends planned, I figured it was time to try out a recipe.
Because one of the girls is limiting dairy & gluten, I actually made these gluten free and almost dairy free (they could be dairy free if you use caramel ice cream topping maybe but I don’t know how you could possibly make good caramel without cream or butter!) Basically I just used quinoa flour instead of regular flour and vegan ‘butter’ (Earth Balance) instead of butter. I have put both the regular & the allergen-free options & I am sure the regular would work beautifully.
I chose to use my homemade caramel but you could just buy caramel ice cream topping or melt together 1 pkg of caramel squares (like Kraft) with 1/2 cup cream in a saucepan. I recommend the homemade stuff though. It is the best. It is so delicious. And if you have some leftover, use it as an ice cream topper or just eat it by the spoonful! Or spread it on toast. Or pancakes. Or on a cake. Yum! So good!
I don’t normally like nuts in my desserts & considered leaving them out… but decided against and I was so glad that I did! The nuts add to the perfection of the texture and give such a delicious nuttiness that you definitely should add them!
These were FANTASTIC! I LOVED them and look forward to making them again!
Carmelitas – makes a 9×13″ pan – you decide how big you want them! The recipe can easily be halved and made in a 9×9″ pan
- 2 cups quinoa flour – or regular all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
- 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter or regular unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup additional quick-cooking oats (if needed)
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 3/4 cups chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups caramel sauce (either homemade from here or caramel ice cream topping if you need dairy free or 32 caramel squares melted with 1/2 cup heavy cream)
- 2 Tb butter (or vegan)
- 2 1/2 Tb flour (quinoa or regular)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper (make sure there are pieces that come over the edges on two sides so it is easy to remove.
- Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and softened butter (or vegan substitute) in the bowl of a mixer. Take half of it and press it into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove & cool slightly.
- If your mixture is not crumbly, add the extra oats to the 2nd half. I am not sure if mine wasn’t crumbly because I used vegan butter or if that is just how it ends up. I wanted my topping somewhat crumbly though so I added the extra oats. Add as much as you feel like you need.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips & chopped pecans over the crust.
- Melt the caramel enough that you can stir it and then add the additional butter & flour – this step doesn’t seem to be in the recipes that use the ice cream topping or the caramel squares.
- Pour the caramel over the chips & nuts and then top with the remaining crumb mixture.
- Return to the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes until the crust starts to brown.
- Allow to cool completely in the pan. With the homemade caramel, do not put it in the fridge as it will get too hard to cut.
- Use the parchment paper to pull the entire pan of carmelitas out of the pan and then cut & serve (I used a pizza cutter and it worked fantastically!)