My family carries within it a long line of cookie-bakers. We LOVE baking cookies. Christmas has always been a time when we pull out all the stops and make a bajillion platters of cookies. I remember helping my mom molding dough into mini cupcake pans and grinding an entire bag of walnuts to make nutcups. I can still feel the sugar on my fingertips as I rolled cookie after cookie in red and green sugar to make strawberry sugar cookies. And I can still make mini cream cheese and chocolate cupcakes like nobody’s business.
But the dessert I make most often, whether it be a special occasion or a Sunday afternoon, the dessert I am asked to bring to various functions time and time again, is my oatmeal carmelitas. I call the recipe mine, but really, it’s a recipe I adapted from my mom’s recipe which was adapted from a Pillsbury cookbook we kept in the cupboard. These are the best cookie in the world.
Oatmeal Carmelitas (adapted from the 1967 Pillsbury Bake-off Contest)
(preheat oven to 350*F and grease bottom and sides of a 9”x 9”x 2” pan)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quick rolled oats
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
Combine the dry ingredients well, and then slowly pour and mix the melted butter into the dry ingredients to form a crumblike consistency. Press half of these crumbs into the bottom of a greased 9x9x2 pan and bake for 10 minutes.
6 oz. semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (whichever you prefer)
½ cup chopped walnuts
Sprinkle these over baked crust.
¾ cup caramel ice cream topping
3 tbsp. flour
Mix these two ingredients well. Drizzle this mixture over chocolate chips and nuts.
Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over the top. Bake for 15-20 more. Chill in the fridge for easy cutting. Use a serrated knife to cut into 16-25 bars depending on your mood and your appetite. Enjoy!
Note: this recipe is pretty forgiving. I’ve made it with all purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, regular whole wheat flour, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, quick oats or old fashioned oats, and it’s delicious every single time. Have fun with it. Double it! They also freeze very well, so go ahead and make a few batches to pull out whenever you need them.