Holly B’s Oatmeal Carmelitas

January 12, 2010


One thing I really hate about winter is the light.  Last year at this time, I was still cooking for my families so if I raced, I could catch a bit of afternoon light and take a decent photo.  These days, I’m never done with cooking dinner until dinnertime at which point it has been dark for hours.  I’ve had to rely on my special light to make photography possible and I sure am tired of the photos all having the same look.  Hence this somewhat different composition today.

Now wait.  Don’t call me a hypocrite.  I know I wrote a post talking about low fat cooking yesterday.  Did you also read that I only do high fat baking?    And boy, this is high fat.  So much so that in the introduction for the recipe, Holly wrote, “This would be a good treat for someone wanting to gain weight.”  Ahem, not really my problem but it’s a nice thought.


As if it wasn’t enough to have a shortbread base with nuts and chocolate chips strewn over the top, a combination of honey and cream is poured over the whole pan which is then baked until golden brown.  The result is similar to an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie but denser and, thanks to the honey, sweeter.  I love honey, so for me the flavor was welcome here.


One Year Ago: Milk Chocolate Layer Cake

Oatmeal Carmelitas
With Love & Butter
18 big bars

1½ cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 cups flour
2 cups oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1½ cups chocolate chips
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (DT: I used pecans)
1 cup honey
½ cup half-and-half (DT: I used cream)

Preheat oven to 375° with the rack in the center position.  Butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Cream the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer.  Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and combine.  Reserve 1/3 of the dough.  Press the remaining dough evenly into the buttered baking pan.  Bake for 5 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake 5 to 10 minutes longer.  The crust should be barely brown.  Leave the oven on.

Scatter the chocolate chips and walnuts over the hot crust.  Now blob the reserved dough as evenly as you can on top of the chocolate and nuts.

Combine the honey and half-and-half.  Heat in the microwave or on the stove until hot but not boiling.  Pour the honey cream sauce over the dough and bake 15 to 20 minutes.  The bars will be done when they turn a uniformly rich golden color.  Cool and cut.


  1. I need one of those after the day I had. They look so rich and comforting!!!

    Comment by Katie @ goodLife {eats} — January 13, 2010 @ 12:00 am

  2. As much as I would like to, I can’t make anything w/ 3 sticks.

    I would like you to send me just one of these bars……but I won’t ask, because I know you will do it! (please don’t!).

    Comment by stacey snacks — January 13, 2010 @ 1:16 am

  3. I adore bar cookies but haven’t had a real slam dunk bar in a good while. Thanks to you and Holly B. it looks like that’s about to change.

    And you seemed to have found the sweet spot with the lighting in this photo, Dana. (I finally bought a Speedlite, but before I could figure out how to use it, I promptly misplaced it. Pathetic.)

    Comment by Cheryl — January 13, 2010 @ 1:18 am

  4. ummm HELLO! get in my belly! I wish I HAD to gain weight!

    i know what you mean about the light! I find myself racing…RACING to get stuff shot before the sun comes down. The other day I had to cook dinner at 4pm so I could get the shot :) Oh summer! Come quick!

    Comment by Tracy — January 13, 2010 @ 1:36 am

  5. Ooh tempting! Looks wonderful.

    Comment by Sook — January 13, 2010 @ 3:07 am

  6. Ok, I’m pretty sure that if I were stranded on a desert island, and could only have one thing, I’d want these. YUM!

    Comment by Rebecca — January 13, 2010 @ 3:22 am

  7. Immediately added to my baking list for Zack’s team. this looks wicked good.

    Comment by Julie — January 13, 2010 @ 3:55 am

  8. oh boy, these look so delicious! my husband’s grandmother makes carmelitas every christmas and they are so dang good!

    Comment by kelly — January 13, 2010 @ 4:04 am

  9. I would so far as to say that I have a carmelita problem, so of course I must make these–and really shouldn’t. ;) But I will. And everyone at my husband’s work will complain about me trying to fatten them because NO WAY can they stay at my house that long!

    Comment by Laura — January 13, 2010 @ 4:37 am

  10. GO so far…

    Comment by Laura — January 13, 2010 @ 4:37 am

  11. love this recipe – and your changes! I can a pecan kind of girl too!

    Comment by Gaby — January 13, 2010 @ 3:48 pm

  12. I shouldn’t of clicked on your photo on Tastespotting, now I am craving these:) They look so tasty. I love bar treats!

    Comment by Maria — January 13, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  13. I am so glad I didn’t know how much fat was in these when I ate it for dessert. I would have passed it up and never known how good they were. This recipe definitely will make it in my sweet treats file.

    Thanks for dinner (and your friendship) Dana.

    Comment by kelly — January 14, 2010 @ 7:49 am

  14. Ohmygosh these look good! What a brilliant idea, brilliant flavours – yum!

    Comment by Lucy — January 14, 2010 @ 10:17 am

  15. I’m looking forward to the end of winter for that very reason…daylight. My photos do suffer. It’s very frustrating. However, were I to indulge in such a treat as this, I would think my frustrations would take holiday.

    Comment by Tracy (Amuse-bouche for Two) — January 14, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  16. What lovely bars. I haven’t had my afternoon snack yet and they’re making me so hungry!


    Comment by Dinners & Dreams — January 14, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  17. You read my mind, Dana! I was just thinking about carmelitas and googling a recipe for them. I’d much rather find a recipe from this trusted source :)

    Comment by The Leftoverist — January 15, 2010 @ 7:28 am

  18. Oh yeah. These look amazing!! Great pics!

    Comment by Amanda — January 15, 2010 @ 8:28 pm

  19. No disrespect to Holly B. but there’s got to be some way to infuse peanut butter in these. Oh man. That would be so good!

    Comment by Steph — January 15, 2010 @ 10:14 pm

  20. Totally feel your pain about the lighting. Sometimes I even take the final photo the next morning (assuming there’s leftovers!) I’m all about high-fat baking! that’s why it’s a treat. I would much rather bake and use real butter, real sugar, and cream and eat 1/2 a portion than suffer through a “diet” dessert. Moderation makes it possible!

    Comment by aubrey — January 18, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

  21. Oh do these ever sound excellent!! Must save the recipe. I love that your meal type recipes are mostly healthy and your baking ones rarely are. That’s the way I do it too. ;)

    Comment by Ashley — January 27, 2010 @ 12:07 am

  22. Ahhh YuMMMM! Apron going on tomorrow

    Comment by hannah millerick — January 19, 2012 @ 11:57 am

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