Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healthier Carmelitas

Yesterday on Facebook I asked what recipe you'd like to see today, and the Healthier Carmelitas won by just one vote.

I love a good carmelita, but they are so sweet and not overly healthy for you.  The typical recipe doesn't fit with a "New Years Resolution" of "healthy eating".  So, I tweaked it a bit.

This one uses whole wheat flour, applesauce in place of much of the butter, reduced sugar and homemade caramel sauce.  I also reduced the recipe size to a 9x9 pan -- making fewer of them makes it a nice treat while the bars are fresh and an even nicer treat when they don't hang around for days.

Since our aim is to make recipes healthier all year round, a pan of these fits right in!  

Healthier Carmelitas

1 C white whole wheat flour
1 C oats (OF or Quick)
~3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4-6 T applesauce
4 T butter, softened
1 C dark chocolate chips
2-3 T butter
A squirt of corn syrup
1/2 C brown sugar

Begin by combining the brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  I did not pack the brown sugar, nor did I fill the measuring cup all the way to the top.  No one noticed the difference.

Then, in a small bowl, melt 4 T butter.

Divide the flour mixture into two bowls that contains 1/3 and 2/3 of the recipe.  In the bowl containing 2/3, add the applesauce.  Start with 4 T of applesauce and mix well.  Adding more T if needed.  How much applesauce depends on the consistency of the wheat flour and the consistency of your applesauce.  Mix until clumps form.

Add the butter to the smaller flour mixture and mix until clumps form.

You can hardly tell the difference.

Use the apple-oat mixture to make the crust of the carmelitas. Press the apple-oat mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9x9 glass baking dish.

This makes a nice solid crust, and allows you to leave the butter-oat mixture for the topping where you can really savor and enjoy the butter flavor.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until warm and a bit puffy.

It's important here that you not over bake the crust layer because otherwise it will get very hard.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the cooling crust once you remove it from the oven.

Meanwhile, mix the 2-3 T of butter, squirt of corn syrup and brown sugar in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for about 1 minute, stirring once.

If mixture is not completely melted, continue heating and stirring until melted.  You can also melt and make this mixture on the stove top.

If your caramel is rather thin, add in 1 T flour to the caramel mixture to thicken it.  If your caramel is rather thick when warm, no need to add in the extra caramel.

Pour the caramel over the chocolate chips spread on the crust.

Then, sprinkle the butter-oat topping over the filling.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until filling is bubbly and the oat topping is beginning to turn a light brown.

Remove from the oven and let stand for about 1 hour before cutting and serving.  This will help the caramel to solidify.

If you can't wait, aim for about 10 minutes before trying one.


I love these because they have great flavor with the butter-oat mixture on the top, the homemade caramel in the middle and the dark chocolate chips.  Yum!  The apple-oat mixture on the bottom makes a nice crust, and with all the flavor, you don't miss the extra butter.  And, no one will know there's whole wheat flour in the mix!!


This post is linked to: Fun with Food Friday, Recipe Swap, Friday Favorites, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Hearth and Soul, Full Plate Thursday.


  1. I've never had a carmelita!! Must remedy that!

  2. yummy i will have to try these one day!

  3. I've never had a carmelita, but you just gave me a good reason to try one! These look absolutely delicious!

  4. I call these caramel crack, lol!
    I love your tweeks and must try it soon, soon, SOON!

  5. Good on you, I think I need to lean how to makes recipes healthier too!

  6. Oh my...oats, caramel, AND chocolate?!? These are my three favorites!

  7. looks delicious I definitely need to try these out!

  8. I have made Carmelitas for years, they are always a hit. I think your changes would be great, a more healthy Carmelita is a great idea!

  9. I love that you lightened up this recipe and was still able to have amazingly delicious results.

  10. I too have never had a Carmelita and these look/sound delicious. Even better I think my hubby might like these too.

  11. They look wonderful Sno! I love the changes you made to make them healthier too...I could make these and not feel that bad about eating the whole pan!! :)

  12. By chance would you be willing to list nutritional info (like fat, protein, carbs, and fiber) for your recipes? Would definitely make many more of your recipes if I could quickly figure out my WW points plus values!

  13. I have never had caramelitas either - I've bookmarked your recipe cause it sounds SO yummy! Thanks for making it a bit healthier too!

  14. I've also never had caramelaitas, but they look REALLY good! :)

  15. I have never made Carmelitas either, because of all excess fat. These I would like to try, thanks.

  16. These look sooooo delicious. I guess eating them all in one sitting would kind of negate the whole healthy thing.

    The Nourishing Homemaker

  17. Hi Sno White,
    Your Carmelita's are so tempting, they look amazing. I would really love to have one well maybe two right now. Thank you so much for sharing them with us here at Full Plate Thursday. You have a great week end and please come back!

  18. I always get a little nervous when a recipe is called "healthier" but you really did an awesome job of keeping the ingredients themselves healthy and just adjusted the amounts -- awesome!! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!!


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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