Peanut Butter CarmelitasI love Oatmeal Carmelitas. The combination of caramel, chocolate, and oatmeal in a bar is irresistible to me!

It had been quite a while since I made a batch, and while looking for a peanut butter and chocolate dessert to make for my friend Amie’s birthday, I ran across the recipe. The thought of these made my mouth water, and I started trying to figure out how to work peanut butter into the recipe. After a little thought, I had it – peanut butter caramel! After all, the peanut butter caramel in the Knock You REALLY Naked Brownies was fantastic, so it should be delish in Carmelitas too, right?

I adapted a recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Pillsbury: Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook, published in 1996. Just about everything I’ve tried from this cookbook is a winner. The hard work was already done by the Bake-Off contestant, but I think I took a really good recipe and made it even better!

Peanut Butter Carmelitas

Stuff you need:

Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups margarine or butter, softened [2 1/2 sticks]

Filling

1 (12.5 oz.) jar (1 cup) caramel ice cream topping

1/2 cup peanut butter

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Now what?

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 13 x 9inch pan and set aside.

In large bowl, mix all ingredients at low speed until crumbly.

Press half of crumb mixture, about 3 cups, in bottom of greased pan. Reserve remaining crumb mixture for topping.

Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, microwave peanut butter for about 20 seconds. Remove from microwave and slowly stir in caramel and 3 T flour.

Add 1/2 cup peanuts to remaining crumb mixture and mix well.

Remove partially baked crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate chips.

Drizzle evenly with caramel mixture. [There’s enough caramel mixture to pour over the crust and cover most of it.]

Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture.

Bake at 350F for an additional 22 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool completely then refrigerate 1 – 2 hours until filling is set.

Cut into bars.

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