Even though I can't eat items from the local bakeries, I enjoy looking at their creations. It often inspires me to try new combinations of flavors or create a gluten-free version of an old favorite. When I peeked in the cases of our local bakery, I saw carmelitas and new that I had to make a gluten-free version for my family. I wanted my oldest son to be able to eat them too, so I made my version dairy-free as well.
Carmelitas have chocolate, nuts, and caramel sandwiched between two layers of cookie that are similar to shortbread. Since there is so much sugary goodness in the filling, I decided to reduce the refined sugar in the cookie layers. While I was doing it I wondered what was the point in reducing the refined sugar since there is so much in the filling, but I think my less-sweet cookie layers actually complimented the filling better than if I had used more sugar.
You do not have to buy caramel sauce to make this recipe. You can easily make your own caramel sauce. If you are making a dairy-free version of this recipe, you can use my Dairy-Free Caramel Sauce recipe. Caramel sauce is so fast and easy to make that you can make it while the first layer is baking.
If you can eat butter, then use it in this recipe. If not, use either dairy-free margarine or substitute 1 cup of shortening and 2 tablespoons of water. I think you can use coconut oil, but I haven't tried it yet. Be sure to soften whatever fat you choose to use. It will make it much easier to cut it into the oat mixture.
- 2 cups gluten-free oats
- ½ cup oat flour (how to make your own oat flour)
- ¾ cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup tapioca flour
- ¼ cup potato starch
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
- 1 cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
- 1 cup butter or dairy-free margarine, softened
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup nuts, chopped
- 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used dairy-free chips)
- 1 cup caramel sauce (homemade caramel sauce recipe)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch pan.
- Combine oats, flours, potato starch, xanthan gum, sugar, butter, baking soda and salt in large bowl; cut the butter into the oat mixture until it is well blended. Reserve 3 cups. Press remaining mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
- Bake 10 minutes or until light brown.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked crust. Place pan back in the oven for 1 minute to melt the chocolate chips. Gently spread the chocolate with a spatula.
- Sprinkle nuts over chocolate chips.
- Drizzle caramel over chocolate chips and nuts, but try not to let the caramel touch pan edges. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture.
- Return to oven. Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown. Place pan on cooling rack to cool. Cool completely before cutting.
You should let the carmelitas sit for a time to cool before cutting into them or they will crumble…but I had to sneak a taste before they were cool.