Heavenly low carb crumb bars filled with sugar-free caramel and chocolate. You’d hardly believe that this grain-free treat isn’t made with oats!
The first time I had a carmelita, I think 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.
If you’ve never had a carmelita, let me tell you a little bit about them. Conventionally, they are made with a crumbly oat and brown sugar crust, and are then 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?
Oh ye of little faith. I am nothing if not resourceful when it comes to low carb baking. 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 it look like oats to you?
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.
Heavenly low carb crumb bars filled with sugar-free caramel and chocolate. You'd hardly believe that this grain-free treat isn't made with oats!
- 1 cup flaked unsweetened coconut
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup Swerve Sweetener
- 3 tbsp coconut flour, divided
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 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 tbsp 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.
Serves 16. Each serving has 4.32g NET CARBS.
Food energy: 228kcal Total fat: 20.88g Calories from fat: 187 Cholesterol: 33mg Carbohydrate: 7.58g Total dietary fiber: 3.26g Protein: 3.59g Erythritol: 16.9g