Chocolate Oatmeal Carmelitas

Here's an outstanding, make-ahead dessert that we chose to top off our Mexican-themed dinner: Food and Wine's Chocolate- Oatmeal Carmelitas.

These were published in their March '07 issue as a featured recipe from chef Louis Lambert. Louis first made these decadent treats for Lady Bird Johnson, and they have become one of his most popular recipes. The only thing "Mexican" about these bars is that they incorporate the Latin caramel sauce- dulce de leche... the closest thing to heaven I've ever tasted. You can certainly make homemade dulce de leche, but have you ever seen this stuff in a can?

Caramel is just about my most favorite dessert condiment in the whole world, and I had never discovered this can of caramelly goodness. Found in my market's Latin aisle, this is a pretty darn good substitute for homemade dulce de leche. I was tempted to eat it by the spoonful, but I managed to hold back and put it on the dessert instead! Well... ok, I took a teeny tiny taste...

Made the night before, this is a great choice as a make-ahead dessert. We ate a couple of these as after our Mexican dinner, but I split the rest up and brought them to two different events. They were a major hit at both events. I had people calling and emailing to ask me where the heck they could get their hands on the recipe for these amazing, decadent bars! I really can't recommend them highly enough. They have to be among the most delicious bars I've made in YEARS. Thank you to chef Louis for this fab recipe!

As Christian Siriano, the latest Project Runway winner, would proclaim, "These bars are FIERCE!"

This recipe can be found HERE.