January 1, 2019

The perfect balance of salty and sweet- with plenty of caramel to go around! These carmelitas are your new favorite!


This recipe is a three-parter and dedicated to all my fellow caramel lovers out there. Whether you pronounce it caramel or carmel, this sinfully sweet dessert duo will knock your fuzzy socks off this holiday season. As I write this, all I can think about is sinking my teeth into these soft and chewy bars. I tend to covet the end pieces for their crisp edges! I love using a sweet-savory combo as a one-two punch. The caramel sauce used in both parts of this recipe includes a tasty gray sea salt that does the trick. If you’re not able to find gray sea salt, substitute any plain kosher salt or flaky sea salt.


As if one dessert wasn’t enough, I decided to wash down that caramel with more caramel! We go all out in this household. I enjoy my milkshakes nice and thick, but feel free to adjust your milk to ice cream ratio to your liking. The measurements I provided in the recipe should make roughly 2 large or 4 small shakes. For an enticing caramel decoration, drizzle the caramel sauce inside the glass before pouring the milkshake in. Alternatively, design pros can pour the milkshake in thirds, lining the circumference of the glass with sauce between layers. Once the glass is full, drag a chopstick up the inside of the glass in half-inch increments to create a marbling effect.


Learning how to stylishly layer an outfit is essential for getting through cold and rainy Pacific Northwest winters, but layering ingredients is the method to these Carmelitas. There are a few different textures packed into these little bars, and we’ll be taking them in and out of the oven between layering. Be sure to set timers so they don’t overcook!

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  • Author: kelsey nixon
  • Yield: 36 bars 1x


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups Salted Caramel Sauce, recipe follows
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons flour

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon gray sea salt, crushed or kosher salt

Salted Caramel Milkshake:

  • 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch pan.

Combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and softened butter in the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low until crumbly. Divide the mixture into 2 equal portions.

Press half the crumb mixture in the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool slightly.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips, and chopped pecans over the cooled crust. Mix the salted caramel sauce, and flour together, and drizzle over the chocolate chips, and nuts. Top with the remaining crumb mixture.

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until the crust starts to brown. Allow the pan to cool, and refrigerate it until the caramel filling is set.

Cut into bars and serve.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

Salted Caramel Sauce: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a dish and cool. *Cook’s Note: This recipe will last in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Reheat before serving.

Salted Caramel Milkshake:

Salted Caramel Milkshake: Combine the ice cream, milk, and caramel sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.

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