|source - Although I think this particular pic is for a recipe that includes nuts, my recipe doesn't.|
Anyway, for years following college . . . yes, I said "years" - pathetic right?! . . . I tried like crazy to find a comparable recipe, but it's hard to find a recipe when you don't know the name. So I would just describe these little bars of absolute deliciousness to everyone I knew who baked. Those conversations went something like this:
Me: You know those little bars of deliciousness with something kind of crunchy but sweet on top and some melted chocolate and maybe a few other things.
Someone who baked: blank look
Me: Come on. You know . . . crunchy stuff and chocolate and other stuff all in a bar-type thing.
Someone who baked: walks away
Finally after years of searching, I gave up . . . assuming that these little bars of absolute deliciousness were some sort of magical concoction mysteriously whipped up in the secret depths of my college cafeteria.
Then about three years ago, I was at a meeting and I picked up one of the desserts on the break table. I bit into it and . . . (take a moment and listen to the choir of angels signing) . . . yes, although not EXACTLY the same, that dessert bar was very close to those little bars of absolute deliciousness from my college days. I hunted down the person who brought them, (I may or may not have shouted at the top of my lungs for all to hear, "WHO MADE THESE BARS? TELL ME RIGHT NOW!"), and found out these bars were called . . .
Oatmeal CarmelitasAfter tweaking her recipe, I think I've pretty much mastered them . . . but I still like to refer to them primarily as little bars of absolute deliciousness.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray one 8x8 inch square pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine the 1 cup flour, baking soda, oats, brown sugar, salt and melted butter. Mix to combine, mixture will be very crumbly. Press firmly half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
4. Let cool slightly then sprinkle over the crust the chocolate chips.
5. Mix the caramel ice cream topping with the 3 tablespoons of flour and drizzle over the chocolate chips.
6. Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Let bars cool a bit before cutting so that the melted chocolate will harden a bit.
Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to make these yet, but they are HIGH on my to-do list for the weekend. My mouth is sooooo watering right now.