I'm not quite ready for fall to be over.
It seems like the fall season had just flown by, complete with a tropical hurricane and then a dreadful winter storm where snow ACTUALLY stuck to the ground for more than a few minutes and leaves were ripped from trees. Store windows are already filling with Christmas decorations, and yes, we did play Christmas songs on Friday night.
What I want are the days like Sunday. Days where it's in the 60s and sunny. Days where you leave in the morning thinking you'll need your jacket but take it off while you're at the playground with adorable kids or going on a long stroll with a good friend. Days where the farmers' market is still overflowing with fresh produce.
These carmelitas combine everything I love into one perfect fall dessert bar. There's a buttery, oat-filled crust that's not too hard. There's an gooey layer of caramel that's still soft in the middle of the bar. Each bite is filled with bittersweet chocolate.
I cut these small because it's hard to have just one. And I'll savor these for awhile because they help me extend that fall feeling a little longer.
recipe adapted from Lulu the Baker
30 caramel squares
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a small saucepan, combine caramel squares and heavy cream. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until the caramels melt and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Butter the bottom and sides of an 8x10 inch baking pan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter, dark brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and baking soda. Mix well, and then pat half the mixture into the bottom of the pan.
Bake the crust for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and scatter chocolate chips over the crust mixture. Stir the caramel sauce well to break up any clumps that may have formed, and then pour the caramel evenly over the crust and chocolate chips. Sprinkle the remaining chunks of crust evenly across the top of the bars.
Return the pan to the oven. Bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and bubbly.
Remove the pan from the oven. Allow the bars to cool completely, preferably overnight, before slicing.
Slice the bars into tiny, tiny squares, and enjoy!