Oatmeal gives a chewy-nutty-wholesome flavor to anything you put it in. I have always loved it with light cream and brown sugar but I stay away from it because of the dreaded carbs. Before you give me the everything in moderation speech let me just say that my doctor warned me to stay away from carbs as much as possible because of my lack of thyroid and my paranoia of being overweight. I just can’t eat them – in fact I can’t really eat too much of anything.
However, one of my favorite cookies is the Oatmeal Carmelita. It is an old fashioned bar cookie made with shortbread, pecans, chocolate chips, caramel and oatmeal streusel. Pair it with a cold glass of milk and it is an amazing snack – especially at midnight when you can’t sleep. Sure, there are ways you can change it up – different types of nuts, varying the chocolate chips – almost anything. The one thing that doesn’t change is the texture.
I looked for oatmeal carmelita cupcakes on the Internet and I didn’t find anything. There was not one. So, although you may find an oatmeal carmelita cupcake recipe in a cookbook somewhere, this is the only one that you’ll find on Google. At least for now.
Because there is so much sweet in this cupcake I didn’t sweeten the cake as much as I might have with another flavor. Chopped pecans go into an oatmeal cake batter to give it some texture and flavor. The oatmeal keeps the cupcakes moist so they are a little heavier in texture than a vanilla or chocolate cupcake but they need to be. You see, nestled snugly inside that cake are two layers – one of caramel and one of chocolate ganache. The cupcakes are topped with a cream cheese frosting but you can use caramel if you want. The frosting is sprinkled with crunchy, shortbread streusel and then drizzled with caramel and chocolate. The heavier cake keeps the filling firmly inside.
The caramel and ganache are firm enough to get that great, creamy mouth-feel but soft enough that they cooperate with the cake. I hate biting into a filled cupcake to find a solid center. I love texture changes but not drastic ones, you know? The shortbread streusel gives it a bit of crunch without screwing up the overall texture profile.
That’s the professional, scientific explanation. The regular explanation?
Dang. They’re good.
Rather than spend a couple hours to do these you can do the caramel, ganache, and streusel a few days before and then bake the cupcakes and finish them another day. It does take some time to put all of the components together, especially the first time you make them.
But do make them. There will come a time when you are awake and just need something yummy – Carmelita Cupcakes will be waiting.
P.S. I am going to try to lighten the texture of these up a bit and if they work I will post an updated recipe on the Facebook fan page.
- 1 cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
- 1½ cup boiling water
- 1½ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅔ cup finely chopped pecans
- ½ cup softened unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed light brown pure cane sugar
- ⅔ cup pure cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 bag of caramels, unwrapped (14 oz)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup pure cane sugar
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- 2 - 8 oz packages of Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups of pure cane confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tbs vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Fit 24 cupcake pans with liners.
- Add oats to a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them.
- Set the mixture aside to cool.
- Mix the dry ingredients and pecans - set aside.
- In a mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs, one at a time.
- With the mixer on low speed add the oats and dry ingredients.
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix by hand to make sure that the batter is thoroughly mixed.
- Fill each cup about ⅔ of the way.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then cool completely on racks.
- Melt the cream and the caramel together, stirring until smooth.
- Heat the cream just to boiling and then stir in the chocolate until smooth.
- Beat butter until creamy.
- Add the sugar and beat well.
- Add the flour and pecans and knead them in with the mixer or your fingers until the mixture is crumbly, and about the size of small pebbles.
- Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until firm and slightly golden.
- Let cool completely.
- Beat the cream cheese and butter together until totally blended.
- Beat in the vanilla.
- Beat in the confectioners sugar until frosting reaches a creamy spreadable consistency. You may need to use a little cream to achieve the correct texture.
- Remove some of the cake from the middle of the cupcakes, leaving at least ¼ inch of cake at the bottom.
- Warm the caramel and ganache until they are slightly runny if they have cooled too much.
- Spoon some of the ganache in the cake.
- Top the ganache with caramel.
- Frost the cupcakes.
- Top with streusel and then drizzle with both the chocolate and caramel drizzle (you may need to add a little more cream to get the right texture.