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I remember the first time I heard of caramelitas. I saw the pictures, read the recipe and lost sleep that night. I think I made two stops at the grocery store the next day, cancelled plans with a friend and skipped lunch to make them. And I didn’t regret a single one of those decisions.

This is the perfect time of year to fall prey to the wonders of caramelitas. Holiday season is upon us. These work perfectly as a contribution to a cookie/bar exchange (or like me, you can pretend to make them for distribution and then blame the dog for stealing the batch). They may have people running towards you on the street in hordes that rival the Black Friday rush, but hey, you can thank me for that part later.

The combination is simple, but lethal. Oats, butter, sugar, chocolate, salted caramel. If each of these on their own are delicious, imagine what happens when you layer them together into one glorious sandwich. Yes. That.

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Caramelitas

Recipe adapted from Lulu the Baker, to make the caramel salted and a little less oozy

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
30 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a square 8×8 square pan by lining it with two long rectangles of parchment paper that hang over the edges to create a sling for your caramelitas. Combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, table salt and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.

While, crust is baking, make the caramel sauce. Combine caramels, cream and sea saltin a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth.

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely, most preferably overnight, but at least 4 hours. Use your parchment sling to remove the caramelitas from the pan and cut into squares. Makes 16 large squares.

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