These keto carmelitas are going to blow your mind. Heavenly low carb “oatmeal” bars filled with sugar-free caramel and chocolate. Hard to believe this grain-free treat isn’t made with oats!
The first time I ever tried carmelitas, I may have swooned and fallen to the floor. I am not exactly sure where I was, but if recollection serves me properly, I was visiting my sister in law in Bar Harbor, Maine. It’s possible that she made them herself (she’s quite a good cook and her last name is Baker, after all) or she may have picked them up at one of the local bakeries.
Usually I remember details like this very well but I do believe I was so overcome by the delicious, oat-y, caramel-y, chocolate-y crumbliness in my mouth, all other senses faded away. I was transported. I was in my own little world, savouring every morsel, every crumb, unable to think beyond the sweetness in my mouth. I was in deep. Way over my head.
What are Carmelitas?
If you’ve never had a carmelita, let me tell you a little bit about them.
Conventional carmelitas are made with a crumbly oat and brown sugar crust, and are filled with caramel sauce and chocolate chips, with a top layer of the same crust. Can you see why I fell so hard and fast in love with them? I do love oats in baked goods, the way they make things so crumbly and delicious.
I miss oats, I miss them a lot. But I don’t miss them enough to actually eat them and mess with my blood sugar. Oats are lovely but they are not lovely for me. And presumably not for you either, since you are reading a low carb, grain-free food blog.
So is it sacrilege to make carmelitas without oats? And how to get that crumbly quality, the sort that has little bits falling off as you cut them? The little crumbly bits are sometimes the best part. How they fall back into the pan or onto your plate, and you lick the tips of your fingers to press into them and lift them into your mouth.
Exactly how does one achieve that perfect crumble without grains?
How to Make Low Carb Carmelitas
Oh ye of little faith. I am nothing if not resourceful when it comes to low carb baking. And I have come up with the best keto replacement for oats.
There was a time when I needed shredded coconut but I only had flaked. So I popped that stuff in my food processor to chop it up more finely. I noticed an oatmeal-like texture to the item I was baking, so I filed that little tidbit away in my brain for future use.
When I decided to tackle low carb carmelitas, I used both flaked coconut and some sliced almonds. I processed them just enough so that they resembled oats in size, and added them to my crust mixture. Um, not to brag or anything but…NAILED IT! Look at that topping…doesn’t that look like oats to you?
Now all you have to do is add some butter, some almond flour, some low carb sweetener, and a little bit of coconut flour to make it even more dry and crumbly and you’ve got yourself the perfect keto “oatmeal” crust.
But you don’t stop there. Oh no. You go and make my amazing keto caramel sauce. Go on, just make it! You won’t regret it for a second. You will want to just spoon that sauce straight into your mouth. But be sure to save enough for your low carb carmelitas!
Now that you have all the pieces of the puzzle, you can put together your carmelitas. Put down a first layer of the crust and press it firmly into the pan. Then sprinkle with some sugar free chocolate chips. You could also chop up a low carb chocolate bar or even use my homemade sugar free chocolate chips. They would work perfectly here.
Pour your keto caramel sauce over that and sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal crust. And bake it until golden brown. Voila!
These are just as heavenly as the high carb carmelitas of my memory. I am so happy. SO HAPPY! Now go make them and you can do the happy dance with me.
Other Delicious Keto Bar Recipes
Low Carb Coconut Macadamia Bars
- 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
- ¾ cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup Swerve Sweetener
- 3 tablespoon coconut flour divided
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter melted
- 1 Sugar-Free Caramel Sauce (leave out the additional water)
- ½ cup Lily's Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips or other low carb chocolate
- Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 9x9 inch square pan (can also use 8x8 but baking time will be longer).
- In a food processor, combine coconut and sliced almond. Pulse until the pieces are broken up and about the size of oats in size. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the almond flour, sweetener, 2 tablespoon coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in melted butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Press a little more than half of the mixture firmly into the bottom of prepared baking pan (it doesn't look like it will be enough, but it is...just keep pressing it in, as thinly as you need to). Bake 10 minutes, until puffed and edges are just golden brown. Remove and let cool completely.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of coconut flour to the remaining crust ingredients and mix well to help make it drier and crumblier. Break it up into small crumbs.
- While bottom crust is cooling, make the caramel sauce and let it cool 10 minutes or so. Then pour the caramel sauce over the crust and sprinkle with chocolate chips.
- Sprinkle filling with remaining crust and press lightly to adhere. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until top crust is golden brown.
- Remove and let cool completely before cutting into squares.
Kathya Singh says
I have so many favorites from your website and your baking book. But these have risen to the top of my favorites short list! Can’t believe how easy it was to make the caramel and put together the bars. So good! Thank you for sharing your talent with those of us who are trying to live a sugar-free life. ????
These are EXCELLENT! Doesn’t even taste keto. Fabulous!
Carolyn, can I use organic erythritol instead of swerve in your recipes-like this one interchangeably? They both contain erythritol as a main ingredient swerve just has a few other additives and mine is only erythritol. I also have some lakanto left..does that perform about the same as swerve in your recipes? Thanks in advance.
Keep in mind that plain erythritol is only 70% as sweet as sugar.
Randi V says
I do not have a food processor. Any other ideas how to get the right consistency?
Thanks, Randi V.
Do you have a good blender? They tend to chop them too finely, though…
Kathy H says
Oh my gosh, this has to be the best thing I have had in months! Not sure now why I waited so long to make these. I think I looked at the recipe, saw I had to go an extra step & make caramel sauce & thought they’d be too much work. After all, caramels take forever…..not your sauce tho, went together fast & so good! I made them to take on a camping trip, not sure they will last long enough! Do these need to be refrigerated? Not a lot of room in my fridge in the camper but I’ll toss the lettuce if I have to to make room 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe!
So glad you liked them!
These were soooo gooood! I could hardly stop dipping my finger in the pan of the no-sugar caramel sauce. Definately making these again. Thanks for a great recipe. Karen
Carol J Rhodes-Rice says
Hi Carolyn, when does the almond and Coconut mixture go in? I must have missed it?
In step 2, it says to transfer them to a large bowl… then in step 3, it tells you to add the remaining ingredients into that bowl.
Carol Rhodes-Rice says
Thank you! I did reread it and saw that I was supposed to add the dry ingredients to the coconut almond mixture. D’oh! It’s still amazing!
Glad it worked out!
Made these today. Flavor is great, didn’t substitute anything – only used shredded coconut instead of flaked, but they came out completely dry and crumbly. Maybe I overbaked them? Anything I can do to add some moisture after the fact?
So two things: the shredded coconut is finer and thus may account for some of the dryness. They may also have gotten a bit over-baked. Maybe crumble them over keto ice cream?
Made these two days ago and they are gone. Thank you for all the effort you put into brainstorming these delicious recipes! I know the Carmelitas have many rave reviews but I wanted to also add how much my family and I enjoy them.
By far the best cookie bar I’ve made in ages! I’m currently in the process of making a double batch now because I gave away so many of my first try because I just had to share how amazing they are. I did use allulose syrup instead of your magic ingredient in the caramel sauce because I was too impatient to order it. But it didn’t seem to affect the result as far as the yummy factor in this bar. Thank you, thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe. You are helping to make this Keto journey a joy for me and many others.
So glad to hear it!
Deb Block says
Waiting for these to come out of the oven but I hope I didn’t mess them up…the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of coconut flour divided but it calls for 2 in the base then another in the crumble half…so is it really 3 T divided??
These look AMAZING! Can’t believe they are low carb and paleo! Definitely trying soon!
Becky Hardin says
These are favorites here at our house!!!
Due to food allergies its hard to find a good low sugar gluten free treat. But these are amazing! I highly reccomend them!
Delicious crumbly little treats, how I love thee!