my dear friend hilary was one of my favorite idaho finds. we were neighbors and became very close during the years i lived there. lucky for me, her fam moved here when we moved home. such a happy crazy coincidence! we still get to see each other. in fact we are running a 5K together this weekend. if you feel so inclined, please donate a little for a good cause. we are running on a team in honor of her sweet angel baby michael. hilary is one of those friends that you know God put in your path for a reason. i have learned so much from her, i get teary every time i think about it. she is one of the most genuine, charitable people you'll ever meet. and she brings you cookie dough, just for no reason. and she shows up early when you're hosting parties, to help out. and she usually stays late to help clean up. she is that type of person. i'd never met any one else like her.
to make a long story short, i am a better person because of hilary. she is too humble to ever realize all she has done for me and my family. in this household we talk about her and her husband like they are legends. we really love them. enough gushing, onto the carmelitas! p.s. happy birthday, hil! admittedly, i have been on a carmelita kick for months now. they hit the spot, are quick to whip up and keep for days in the fridge. these bars are perfect for a picnic, a church activity or with a scoop of ice cream to accompany The Office finale. (didn't you love it?!)
i text hilary every time i make one of her recipes. she is an amazing cook. due to her gorgeous slim physique you'd never know she has a sweet tooth. but i love how she can put it away with the rest of us. just another reason we get along so well. i've been meaning to blog this recipe forever, so in honor of hilary's birthday, i give you her carmelitas!! careful, they are addictive.
HILARY'S BEST EVER CARAMELITAS
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1/2 jar Mrs. Richardsons Butterscotch Caramel sauce (brand name is essential)
1 package (2 cups) milk chocolate chips (Hilary insists on using Guittard)
In large bowl combine first 6 ingredients to form a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle half of crumbly mixture into a foil-lined, greased 9x13-inch pan. (I smash mine down to ensure no holes for slippery carmel to get through.) Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips over the baked crust and top with melted caramel mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
note 01. / if you want extra dense carmelitas for a party, simply double the crumbly dough topping by melting 3 sticks butter and add 3 cups flour, 3 cups oats, 3 cups brown sugar and doubling the soda and salt. use 3/4 jar of caramel sauce and 2 cups or more chocolate chips. (you can't really mess these up.) bake the doubled recipe in the same 9x13 pan.
note 02. / here's my tutorial on prepping and cutting carmelita bars. (did i mention how they are the perfect sweet for sharing?) i make them so often, i pretty much have the process down to a science. line your 9x13 pan with foil and spray with pam. then continue with the recipe as directed. that way, you can easily lift them out of the pan and peel off the foil for cutting. make carmelitas a day prior to when you plan to serve them. or at the very least, early in the morning of your dinner party. let them refrigerate overnight so the caramel can set up properly. the next day, when you're ready to slice them, take them out and let them sit on the counter for 15 minutes or so (while you eat breakfast). carmelita edges make the perfect breakfast dessert. slice off edges and save for husband and kiddos. then continue to slice into bars. place bars in sealed container and refrigerate until you're ready to roll.