Let your sweet tooth rejoice! These butterscotch coconut caramelitas are the ultimate in sugary sweet non-chocolate-y indulgences.
I didn’t grow up in a house with cookies or cake or sweets in general, homemade or store bought. The one exception was an occasional batch of oatmeal scotchies (baked in bar form NOT drop cookie form). They were my mom’s favorite back in her sugar- eating days. She wasn’t usually the one to bake them, however. Our babysitter, Jennifer, knowing my mom’s preference and having a sweet tooth of her own made them with us.
And since my mother’s birthday was last week I wanted to make a birthday cookie that’s an updated version of her favorite. Even though she probably won’t eat them. (Don’t worry. I made some refined sugar-free pumpkin fudge for her too. Recipe coming soon.)
These caramelitas are like oatmeal scotchies on steroids. Filled with sweet flaky coconut, crunchy pecans, and ooey gooey luscious caramel they are nothing short of perfection. And of course there’s plenty of butterscotch in there too.
Basically they’re a sugar coma waiting to happen.
The crust and top layer of the caramelitas are an easy, one-bowl, no mixer required, just stir it and you’re done oatmeal cookie. I’m a total sucker for an oatmeal cookie (because of the dough—I heart oatmeal cookie dough) and I cannot tell you how rough it was not to eat half of the cookie base.
But I stayed strong and put all that delicious dough into the pan where it belonged, resulting in a gorgeous bar cookie with a nice sturdy top and bottom to hold in all coconut-y, butterscotch-y frills in between.
If you’re not a butterscotch person use chocolate chips. They’ll be just as good. Maybe better, depending on who you’re talking to. . . You can use any nut too. Walnuts would be my second choice after pecans; just use what you have or what you prefer.
Because there are never enough sweets this time of year right? (I’m joking. . . Sort of.) Happy Halloween! I hope it’s a great one!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 1/2 cups light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 52 caramels, unwrapped
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
- 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray paper with cooking spray and set aside.
- Stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add butter and vanilla and stir until well combined. Press 1/2 of the mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 12 minutes.
- While crust is baking combine caramels and milk in a small bowl. Microwave in 1-minute intervals, stirring after each interval, until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth. (This will take quite a bit of stirring; the caramels and milk will look like they don’t want to combine. Just keep stirring.)
- Sprinkle butterscotch chips, coconut, and pecans evenly over the crust. Pour caramel over the top and spread gently with a rubber spatula, trying not to push caramel all the way to the edge of the pan. Crumble remaining oat-flour mixture over the caramel and press down lightly. Bake for an additional 18 to 22 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the caramel is bubbling a little around the edges.
- Cool for 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours before slicing into bars and serving.