If you like sweet, chewy, chocolatey, toffee-like treats, you’ll love these Carmelita Bars. Add nuts or don’t. Keep the coconut, or take it out. These bars are easy to adapt, easy to make, and easy to enjoy!
What are carmelitas, you ask? Carmelitas are a layered bar cookie, but once baked, they sort of lose their definition and the flavors meld together, becoming reminiscent of the gooiest parts of a chocolate chip cookie with a chewy, toffee-like edge.
And they are so, so good!
These bars are very rich and sweet but are offset with just enough salt that the sweetness is balanced, and they become instantly addicting. I love a chewy edge, and the edges pieces on the bars are perfection.
For those of us that aren’t fans of a chewy edge, don’t worry! The interior pieces are tender and gooey, like the center of a fresh oatmeal chocolate chip cookie—but with the addition of caramel and coconut.
NUTS OR NO NUTS?
Some carmelita bar recipes call for nuts, but I left them out. If you want to add them, sprinkle about a half-cup of chopped nuts over the chocolate chip layer.
Pecans or walnuts would be amazing!
CAN I MAKE CARMELITA BARS WITHOUT COCONUT?
I like coconut in this recipe, because I like the nutty flavor and chewy texture. If you want to eliminate the coconut altogether, just replace it with an additional 1/3 cup of oats to the base.
HOW TO CUT CARMELITA BARS
These bars have a caramel layer that becomes very sticky once it’s baked and cooled.
To make cutting them easier and to have cleaner lines, I like to score them after they have cooled for about 10-15 minutes, but are still warm. Once they’ve cooled completely to room temperature, I cut them the rest of the way.
HOW TO STORE AND FREEZE CARMELITA BARS
Carmelitas can be made in advance and stored on the countertop or in the freezer.
If keeping them on the countertop, they will last for four days sealed in a zip-top bag or a lidded container. If you have to stack them, only do so in two layers and separate with sheets of parchment paper.
To freeze the bars, first wrap them in plastic, followed by foil. They will keep for up to three months.
To thaw, leave the frozen bars on the counter until room temperature, or if you’re the kind of person who freezes Girl Scout cookies, these taste great semi-frozen too.
LOVE BAR COOKIES? TRY THESE!
- Lemon Bars
- Peanut Butter Pretzel Magic Bars!
- Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Bars
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