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Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

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4.21 from 34 votes

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars are an indulgent dessert made with a buttery oatmeal cookie crust and layered with melted chocolate, and gooey caramel.

PIN these Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars to try later!

Stack of Chocolate caramel oat bars with caramel oozing out. Pin

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

If you’re looking for the most perfect and decadent (but super easy) dessert, these Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars aka Carmelitas are it! The first time I made these I was hooked. A buttery soft oatmeal cookie mixture is layered with sweet caramel and melted chocolate chips.

The next time you need a quick dessert to bring to your next party, get together, or whenever you have a sweet tooth, you will be glad you have this delicious recipe. This takes minutes to whip up and everyone will be so impressed.

Serve these cookie bars with a cold glass of milk, vanilla or caramel ice cream. You could also drizzle more caramel on the tops.

Close up of a chocolate caramel oat bar. Pin

What Are Carmelitas?

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars are also known as Carmelitas. They are a buttery and chewy oatmeal cookie sandwich that’s stuffed with rich melty chocolate and ooey gooey creamy caramel. These cookies are cut in to bars and make the most delicious dessert.

How to make Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars- recipe process photos.Pin

How To Make Caramel Sauce

The caramel sauce is one of the most important components to these bars. You want to be sure to make your own caramel sauce from scratch as opposed to buying the store-bought caramel sauce.

All you do is place unwrapped caramel candies in a small saucepan. Add the heavy cream and heat over medium low heat, stirring often for 3-4 minutes or until candies have melted. The caramel sauce will thicken as it cools.

You can also make the caramel sauce in the microwave. Place the candies and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval for up to 2-4 minutes depending on your microwave. 

How to make caramel sauce- step by step.

Key Ingredients

  • Melted Butter: Salted butter works well with this recipe as the salt helps balance out the sweetness. If you use unsalted butter, make sure to add 1 teaspoon of salt to the recipe.
  • Sugar: We use both brown sugar and granulated white sugar to add sweetness and helps make the bars chewy.
  • Vanilla extract: Enhances and adds a warm flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: Spoon and level the flour when measuring it; don’t scoop it out of the bag using the measuring cup. This way, you won’t accidentally measure out too much. 
  • Old-fashioned oats: Adds a wholesome and nuttiness flavor. Make sure to use old-fashioned oats instead of quick oats.
  • Baking powder: Used as a leavening.
  • Egg: Used to bind the ingredients together. It’s best if the egg is at room temperature so it can blend in with the cookie dough better.
  • Chocolate chips: Semi-sweet chocolates is what I use. You can also use mini chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, and chocolate chunks.
  • Caramel candies: You can find these in the candy isle at most grocery, I used Kraft caramels.
  • Heavy whipping cream: Used to make the homemade caramel sauce.
Carmelitas cut into bars on parchment paper.Pin

How To Make Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

Prepare baking dish. Line a 9×9 inch baking pan or dish with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Make oatmeal crust crumb mixture. In a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, combine all of the cookie base ingredients. Mix until combined.

Bake bottom layer. Press half of the mixture into the prepared baking dish with your hands or a spatula. Bake for 12 minutes. 

Make caramel filling. In the meantime, make the caramel sauce by adding the unwrapped caramel candies and heavy whipping cream to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval for up to 2-4 minutes depending on your microwave. Caramel sauce should be smooth. Alternatively, you could heat caramels and heavy cream in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Stirring continuously until smooth. 

Add chocolate and creamy caramel layer. After 12 minutes, remove pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips. Then top with caramel sauce. 

Add top layer. Add the remaining cookie crust  to the top by crumbling it with your fingers. 

Bake. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges are a lightly golden brown color and the center will be bubbly. 

Cool completely. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let the bars cool completely- this can take several hours. You can also place the cooled pan in the refrigerator to speed up the process. You want to be sure the caramel in the center is cooled otherwise it can burn when cutting into bars.

Carmelitas on a white plate with caramel in the center. Pin

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Soft and Chewy: These are the ultimate soft and chewy cookies. The extra chewiness comes from the brown sugar and the gooey caramel. We only bake these for about 10 minutes to keep them on the soft side.

Portable: These can be transferred easily by placing cookies in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Pack them up for a picnic, party, lunch box treat, or bring them to work.

Any Occasion Dessert: These Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars make the perfect dessert for any occasion, all year long! Bring them to a summer BBQ or serve them on a Christmas cookie tray.

Bite mark of a chocolate caramel oatmeal bar. Pin

Recipe Variations & Tips

Add crunch: Add a handful of your favorite chopped nuts to the top. Chopped walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts work well with this recipe.

Add color: Add rainbow sprinkles, regular or mini size M&Ms to the top.

Change the chocolate filling: Instead of using semi-sweet chocolate chips, you can switch up the flavors and use butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, and milk chocolate chips.

Peanut butter: Give these a peanut butter flavor by adding a few tablespoons to 1/3 of a cup of peanut butter to the cookie dough. Incorporate the peanut butter with the cookie dough or add spoonfuls on top of the chocolate chips.

Salted Caramel: Add flaky sea salt to the top of the caramel mixture to create the perfect balance of sweet and saltiness that compliments each other.

Cool bars: Make sure to let the cookie bars cool until at room temperature. The caramel filling can get extremely hot and even though the outside of the bars may seem warm, the filling could be too hot to eat and cause a burn, ouch!

Use parchment paper or foil: Make sure you completely cover the baking dish or pan with parchment paper or foil so you have an easy clean up and it will prevent the bars from sticking. It’s always a good idea to coat the bottoms with cooking spray.

Tall stack of Carmelitas on a ceramic plate with chocolate chips.Pin

Leftovers & Storage

To-store: If you happen to have any leftovers, luckily these cookie bars will stay fresh, soft, and chewy for a few days. Place cookies in an airtight container or cover plate tightly with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 

To-freeze: Place Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars in an airtight container or freezer-friendly ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.

Carmelita bar on a speckled ceramic plate with chocolate chips.Pin

Other Bar Recipes

Other Caramel Recipes

Stack of Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars with gooey caramel coming out of the centers.Pin

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Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars are an indulgent dessert made with a buttery oatmeal cookie crust and layered with melted chocolate, and gooey caramel.
4.21 from 34 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: caramelitas, carmelitas, chocolate caramel oatmeal bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 16 bars
Calories: 344kcal

Ingredients

Cookie Base

  • 3/4 cup salted butter melted
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 whole egg lightly beaten with a fork

Filling

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 35 caramel candies unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  • Line a 9×9 inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, combine all of the cookie base ingredients. Mix until combined.
  • Press half of the cookie mixture into the prepared baking dish with your hands or a spatula. Bake for 12 minutes. 
  • In the meantime, make the caramel sauce by adding the unwrapped caramel candies and heavy whipping cream to a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval for up to 2-4 minutes depending on your microwave. Caramel sauce should be smooth. Alternatively, you could heat caramels and heavy cream in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Stirring continuously until smooth. 
  • After 12 minutes, remove pan from the oven and sprinkle chocolate chips. Then top with caramel sauce. 
  • Add the remaining cookie crust  to the top by crumbling it with your fingers. 
  • Return the pan to the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the center will be bubbly. 
  • Place the pan on a cooling rack and let the bars cool completely- this can take several hours. You can also place the cooled pan in the refrigerator to speed up the process. You want to be sure the caramel in the center is cooled otherwise it can burn when cutting into bars.
  • Once cooled, cut into bars with a sharp knife and enjoy!
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Notes

Recipe Notes: 
  1. To-store: If you happen to have any leftovers, luckily these cookie bars will stay fresh, soft, and chewy for a few days. Place cookies in an airtight container or cover plate tightly with plastic wrap. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. 
  2. To-freeze: Place Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars in an airtight container or freezer-friendly ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from: Savory Experiments

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 344kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 158mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 668IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg

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Recipe Rating




21 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Homemade treats are the best. I like to bake for the grandkids on weekends. These are perfect for them to take to school in their lunch boxes.

  2. 5 stars
    What a treat! It has been ages since I’ve found a good oatmeal bar recipe and this one ticked all the boxes. Love that gooey caramel layer.

  3. 5 stars
    You had me at caramel and chocolate! These were sweet, ooey and gooey and everything I love about cookie bars! The oatmeal base was the perfect way to bring it all together.

  4. 5 stars
    Loved these. This recipe was so easy to make and everyone loved them. The Caramel Filling especially! thank you for sharing

  5. 4 stars
    I found that the microwave wasn’t as effective as using a saucepan on the stove. It could’ve just been my microwave, but the caramels wouldn’t stop clumping together, whereas the stovetop made an easy and smooth sauce very quickly. I also didn’t have as many oats show through the top in this recipe compared to other ones I have tried. Overall very good and easy bars though, they do not disappoint!