Today, it’s a double whammy at the BHK friends! I’m sharing one of my all-time favorite cookie bar recipes for carmelitas. But I’m not talking just regular carmelitas today. Oh no! I’m talking Espresso Carmelitas.
I’ve been thinking of sharing carmelitas for quite a while, but I’ve also been wanting to share my homemade, smooth and buttery espresso caramel that will no doubt knock your socks off! Guaranteed! So the question was, which one should I share first?? Carmelitas? Espresso caramel? I couldn’t decide, so instead, today it’s Espresso Carmelitas for the win! A win-win to be exact!
If you’ve never tried carmelitas, oh boy are you going to love these! They’ve got an oatmeal brown sugar crust that’s topped with chocolate chips, pecans and some decadently delicious, gooey caramel with a hint of espresso. To finish them off, a little sprinkle of more oatmeal brown sugar crumbs on top and BAM! Does it get any better? That would be a “no” in my book!
The only problem you’re going to have making these bars is keeping yourself from eating the caramel by the spoonful before getting to the step where you have to put it on the bars. Take it from me, it’s gonna be tough. This caramel is so easy to make and honestly, it’s the smoothest, tastiest caramel ever! I always make sure I have a little stash in the refrigerator for ice cream. Just heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds and you’ll be in heaven. Perfect for gift giving too!
- Espresso Caramel makes 1 1/3 cups:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp. water
- 2 tsp. espresso powder
- 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter softened
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup pecans roughly chopped
- 1 1/3 cups espresso caramel
Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Place the sugar and water in a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, without stirring, for 8 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium low and slowly add the hot cream, stirring constantly to get rid of any lumps. (The mixture will bubble, so be careful while stirring.)
Add the espresso powder and continue to stir until well blended.
Remove from the heat and add the butter until completely melted, then add the vanilla.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool until ready to use for the carmelitas.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper with an overhang on two sides. Spray the parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir together with a fork. Pat half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips and pecans and then with the espresso caramel.
Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the caramel.
Return to the oven and continue to bake for 18-20 minutes, just until edges are lightly browned.
Remove from oven. Cool in pan on wire rack completely (at least 4 hours) before removing and cutting into bars.