Cheat Day [cheet dey] – noun: The one day of the week where diet minded fitness freaks throw caution to the wind and indulge only on the most tantalizing, ridiculously calorie dense foods known to man. Often associated with the term, “carb hangover,” which occurs the morning after a particularly fruitful cheat day. Synonyms: Free Day, Fun Day, Fat Day

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Carmelita

So somewhere between freshman year and senior year of college, I mysteriously put on a couple of pounds.   Really- I have no idea what happened.  It certainly couldn't have been my almost completely sedentary lifestyle (walking from the car to the bus stop wearing a heavy backpack counts as my daily cardio, right?)

And it was definitely not due to my diet.  I mean, it's completely healthy to sustain life off of dorm food (hot beef sandwich, anyone?) convenience food (mmmm microwave burrito) and comfort food (oh my god I have a test and it's really hard and I'm going to fail out of college and the real world is going to chew me up and spit me back out I NEED A BROWNIE!)

Ok, so maybe my diet needed a little work, eh.  Perhaps that's why I'm about 60 pounds lighter today than I was my junior year (that's like taking me and strapping a nine year old child around my waist and telling him to hold on for dear life.)

Except that nine year old is made out of pastries and grease and sadness.

Well, on that happy note- this entry is an ode to the deliciousness that got me into that situation in the first place.  I had my certain foods that did their fair share of damage, and the first few that come to mind are:
1.  Cinnamon Rolls (I'll get to you, my pretties, just you wait)
2.  McDonald's Double Cheeseburgers 
3.  Carmelita's

Carmelita's were served at pretty much every cafe and coffee shop on my campus.  These gooey, chocolatey, crumbly, delicious little guys were the perfect accompaniment to my mid morning coffee and scholastic freak out.  Or my mid afternoon coffee.  Or my latish afternoon coffee.  Or my evening coffee.  Or my late night coffee.  Or all of the above.

I completely forgot about them until a few days ago- so I decided to find a recipe and whip a batch up.  They are quick, easy, delicious and addictive.  Ready?  Set.  Carmelita time!

The Carmelita
I didn't find a lot of options when researching this recipe- so pretty much I narrowed it down using my number one recipe criteria: how much butter does it call for?  The recipe I found called for 1 1/4 cups of butter.  The others called for shortening.  Blech.

First I like to prep my ingredients, which in this case includes chopping up a half a cup of nuts, and weighing out my chocolate. 

The original recipe only calls for 6 ounces of chocolate chips.  I prefer to about double this.  The husband agrees.  I think I ended up using about 10 ounces total, but 12 would be just fine! 

I creamed my butter and sugar together.  The recipe doesn't say you have to do this. But it engrained into who I am so I did it anyway.

 I combined by dry ingredients together and incorporated this mix into my sugar and butter on low.  This is where it gets all crumbly.  I'm a sucker for all things crumbly.  Oh!  I totally need to make my crumb cake again.  Sorry- random tangent- but it's the freaking tops.

Anyway, press half this mixture (leaving about 3 cups) into a greased 9x13 pan.   Bake this for 10 min at 350.

While it's baking, mix up your caramel and 3 tablespoons of flour.

Take out the crust, and sprinkle your chocolates and nuts over it.  Then drizzle the caramel over this.  Oh dear- here's where I'm getting all excited.

Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture over top of it, and bake for another 18 min or so until it's golden brown.  Let it set up before you cut into it.  If you can.  If you can't- I don't blame you- but prepare for messiness to ensure.

Verdict: totally brings back some mega delicious memories.  Maybe next time I'll mix in some butterscotch chips too!  That would freaking rock.

Alright, and here is my recipe:

Recipe Adapted from:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup butter

1 (12.5 oz) jar caramel ice cream topping
3 tbsp flour
10 - 12 oz chocolate chips (or about 2 cups)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts are my favorite!)

Set oven to 350 degrees F. grease a 13 x 9 inch pan. in a large bowl, combine all base ingredients, first creaming the sugar and butter together, then adding the dry ingredients.  Mix at low speed until crumbly., reserve half of crumb mixture ( about 3 cups) for topping.

Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of greased pan and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees f.

While this is in the oven, in a small bowl, combine caramel topping and 3 tablespoons flour.

Remove partially baked base from oven; sprinkle with chocolate and nuts.  Next, drizzle caramel topping evenly over nuts.  Finally, sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over caramel

Bake at 350 degrees f. for additional 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown....

Cool 1 hour......then refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set cut into bars

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