Healthier Carmelitas

Yikes. Perhaps I have been too forgiving lately with cooking, but I tried a carmelita recipe that was so heavy in butter and caramel, that I seriously considered throwing the whole thing away before even finishing the recipe and trying it. Perhaps I was a little cruel to the blogger who posted it.

– OR –

Perhaps my healthy eating habits have seriously changed the way I look at food.

Either way, I realized I needed to improve my baking skills. I can easily look at a recipe for dinner and modify to my liking, but when it comes to baking, I find it a bit more difficult. My new goal is to improve the “sweet” recipes that I rarely have the courage/desire to make [anymore]. Really, my biggest beef with desserts is that I could either have a meal or I could have a small snack. It’s a no brainer that I would choose the meal.

To accomplish this task of making a healthier version of carmelitas (which I had no luck finding in a Google search), I combined 2 recipes that I thought would compliment each other. Version 1: Rachel Ray’s Chocolate Carmelita Bars and Version 2: Kath Eats Real Food’s Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars.

Healthy Carmelitas (www.espinosakitchen.wordpress.com)

Healthier Carmelitas: These are so, so good. And with  only half the butter than the original recipe! Must try! (www.espinosakitchen.wordpress.com)

Healthier Carmelitas (Chocolate-Oatmeal-Caramel Bars)

Ingredients

  • 25 caramels, unwrapped
  • 3.5 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cup oats (quick or old fashioned), uncooked
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 additional Tablespoons evaporated milk (or skim milk)
  • ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Use empty butter wrapper to grease 9×13” pan
  3. Melt caramels and evaporated milk in small saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until melted.
  4. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and mix.
  5. Combine egg, milk, and melted butter in a separate bowl. When mixed, combine with dry ingredients.
  6. Press ½ mixture into baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and add chocolate chips. Top with melted caramel. Finally, add remaining oat mixture. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until lightly brown.
  8. Cool for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Refrigerate for additional coolness. (Yes, I said that.)

Husband reviews:  Carlos says about the original “Butter. That’s all I taste.” Mines, he says, “So much better! You put in caramel and chocolate, you may as well taste it!” The original recipe called for 12 tablespoons butter. I reduced it to 6 Tablespoons.

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