Last Saturday I attended a farewell party for my dear friend Betty, otherwise known as the Betty-La. The day Betty-La came into my life was and continues to be one of the greatest things that could ever have happened to me. Her spirituality shines through in every conversation we have ever had together. After just one minute with her I become a better person, more calm, self-assured, and open to possibilities. I can’t imagine what life is going to be like without having her living near us; no more impromptu visits, late night chats in the garage, or amazing dinners at her house surrounded by her loving family. Betty constantly reminds me to always try and “Be Present,” as well as “Lift Things Up” to God; and she does it while making me laugh like crazy. Her smile is quick to infect all of those around her, and her voice when she’s “Puerto Rican” is always amusing.
For the party we were all asked to bring one of Betty’s favorite dishes. I, of course, chose to bring a dessert. Instead of trying to figure out what her favorite dessert was, I decided to make something that made me think of her. Carmelitas. An oatmeal cookie crust, topped with dark chocolate, gooey caramel, and then another layer of crumbled oatmeal. Simply put, the name Carmelitas easily brings Betty-La to mind, and they are completely irresistible, just like her! I think all of the women who came out to wish Betty well on her new adventure would admit that there was no lack of amazing food that night. I haven’t been so full in a long time; it was completely impossible to stop eating such wonderful food. I know we will all miss Betty, but I am confident that there will be a lot of trips to Florida in our futures.
- 1 (11-oz.) Bag of Kraft Caramels, Unwrapped
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
- 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 Cup Rolled Oats
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
- 1 (10-oz.) Bag Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line an 8×8 glass baking pan with tin foil; grease lightly with butter.
- Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir until completely smooth; set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, and sea salt with a fork.
- Add melted butter and vanilla and stir till combined.
- Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the baking pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the crust.
- Pour caramel mixture over the chocolate chips.
- Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture evenly over the caramel.
- Lightly pat the oatmeal mixture into the caramel.
- Return pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.
- To cut, lift the foil gently out of the pan, and peel it away from the Carmelitas; cut into squares.
- After the Carmelitas have cooled for an hour on the counter, place them in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will make them much easier to cut into squares. Just make sure you let them come back to room temperature before serving.
- Remember these are very sweet, so you may want to cut them into smaller portion sizes.
- Sprinkle caramel layer with sea salt, before topping with oatmeal mixture.
- Add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans on top of the chocolate chips, before covering with melted caramel.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: Carmelitas by Lulu the Baker
Betty, know that you will always be in our prayers, thoughts, and hearts. Virginia will be a dimmer place without you in it!
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