I actually had never used tahini until a couple of years ago, but it has quickly become one of my favorite baking ingredients. I like it best in very sweet desserts like brownies, or paired with caramel, where the sweetness contrasts sharply with the bitterness of the tahini.
Notes on Ingredients
Caramels – I used the semi-hard square caramels that usually come in a package of 11.5 oz. Kraft is the most commonly available brand where I live.
Tahini – Different types of tahini can vary in thickness. I used Krinos, which had more water than other brands I have tried. After mixing in the flour, if the dough seems a little wetter than cookie dough should be, just add a little more flour to compensate.
Rolled Oats – I used Quaker rolled oats, which are a little thinner than other brands. If you don’t like as much of a crunch, you could use quick-cooking oats instead.
Chocolate – You can use either a chopped chocolate bar or chocolate chips in this recipe. I used milk chocolate because it was what I had on hand, but dark chocolate would work well to balance the sweetness of the caramel.
Notes on Technique
- Make the caramel filling first, before mixing up the cookie dough. This will give the caramel time to cool, and the cookie dough won’t have to sit before baking.
- I like to use a double boiler to melt caramels. The microwave will also work, but be careful not to microwave the caramels on high for more than 15 seconds at a time, or they might burn.
- When baking cookies, I like to use an electric mixer to combine the butter and sugar. Mix it until it is well combined, but not until it is fluffy. Creaming the butter and sugar might make your cookies a little more cakelike.
- After mixing in the egg and other liquids, I prefer to mix the flour in by hand. Since cookie dough has a lot of flour, it will put more strain on the mixer’s motor, and overmixing will make the cookies tough.
- For this recipe, I recommend coating your pan with a baking spray that has flour in it, like Baker’s Joy.
- To assemble, spread about ⅔ – ¾ of the cookie dough in the bottom of the pan, then top with the chocolate and the caramel. Break the rest of the cookie dough into pieces and sprinkle them on top – they will still spread out enough to cover most of the caramel.
For the Caramel Filling:
- 6 oz caramels (170 g)
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (80 ml)
For the Carmelitas:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (125 g)
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter (113 g)
- 1/4 cup sugar (50 g)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (100 g)
- 1/4 cup tahini (60 ml)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup rolled oats (90 g)
- 3/4 cup chopped chocolate (4.5 oz, 125 g)
- caramel filling
- Unwrap the caramels. Using a double boiler or a heatproof bowl in the microwave, heat the caramels and the heavy cream. If using the microwave on high wattage, heat for about 15 seconds at a time. Heat until the caramels melt and you are able to fully incorporate the cream, then set aside.
- Preaheat the oven to 350° F (180° C.) Spray an 8x8 (20x20 cm) pan with baking spray or line with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Once these are fully combined, mix in the tahini. Next, mix in the egg and the vanilla.
- Using a spoon, stir in the flour mixture and the rolled oats until they are only just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
- Press about 2/3 of the cookie mixture into the prepared pan. Cover it with the chopped chocolate, then the caramel filling. Finally, cover the caramel with pieces of the remaining dough - they should spread out to mostly cover the top during baking.
- Bake at 350° F (180° C) for about 24-26 minutes. The tops of the carmelitas will turn a golden brown.
- Store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or 4-5 days in the refrigerator.