Since going grain free, I can honestly say that I haven’t missed the bread, or the pasta, or the cookies. It helps that I have found some alternatives, (can you say coconut oil and chocolate mint candies?! yum!) to meet those occasional cravings.
However, there was one thing that I couldn’t figure out how to get around missing-our family caramelita recipe. It is a divine mixture of oats and freshly ground flour and caramel and chocolate and nuts…and it is so scrumptious that I drool just thinking about it. It is possible that there are some emotional ties to this recipe, as I can recall having them in my earliest childhood memories and making them without using the recipe before I was 11.
In the past week I have been playing with some yummy treats I have found on pinterest. (Did I mention my new obsession?) I made an absolutely delicious samoa cookie, (though I used cultured raw butter for the caramel. Not super impressed with that flavor). While talking to someone about them, I had a bit of an epiphany…I figured out how to do the caramelitas with some of the same ingredients, just tweaking a bit!
Today, I finally got to try it out.
Oh. My. Yes.
I think we have it. Not exactly the same, but a close enough match to make me happy. So, at the risk of having it stolen for use to sell, (um, I just want a kickback. I’m not greedy.), here we go:
(for dairy free use the coconut)
1/4 c. coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. cold cut up butter (or coconut oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. toasted coconut, (cooled)Mix in the ingredients in order, using a pastry blender or your hands when you get to the butter, mixing until is just past crumbly and starting to stick together. You should have a nice press-able dough once everything is in. Divide mixture in half.
Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper so that when it is all cooked you can just lift it out.
Put half the dough into the pan and evenly press it until it fills the bottom. Bake at 350* for about 10 minutes.
While that is cooking make the caramel:
1/2 c. good butter (kerrygold is great!) or coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/8 cup liquid sugar, (honey, or coconut nectar or rice syrup or tapioca syrup)
4 oz. heavy cream or coconut cream
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla (optional)
Cook the sugar and butter together until it starts to bubble just slightly, mixing well the whole time. Add the salt and vanilla and then the cream. Make sure this is in a tall pan as it will bubble up pretty high. Cook, stirring, until it hits 248*. (I actually went over because I was doing too much and let it hit the hard candy point, so that when it cooled it was crunchy. Still worked, just don’t burn it!)
By the time it is done, your pan should be out of the oven. Immediately pour the caramel over the crust, smoothing it to cover the entire thing. Set aside the pan to lick when it is cool.
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips-soy free. (you could use the dairy free, soy free, everything free chips here too.)
1/2 cup crushed/chopped raw pecans or walnuts (If you have prepared crispy nuts, use those!)
Sprinkle these over the caramel in order of listing.
Take the other half of shortbread dough and crumble over the top of everything, spreading pretty evenly.
Bake for another 18-20 mins or until the top is golden brown.
(I’ll make these again soon and have more pictures to post. I forgot to take pix of the process until they were already cooked! I wasn’t sure enough!)