Carmelitas

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Carmelitas are completely irresistible! These easy oatmeal cookie bars are loaded with oodles of gooey caramel and melted chocolate.

Two carmelitas stacked in front of a pan of bars

Gooey Carmelitas Recipe

Caramels, pumpkins, apples… Fall is here.

I went to the store to pick up some oats, and when I walked in, the first thing I noticed were the apples, the pears, and right behind them was a basket filled with caramel candies. As soon as I saw those candies, I started to think about sweet, gooey, chewy desserts and I forgot what I went to the store for. All I could think about was making Carmelitas!

My version of Carmelitas cookie bars should be called Chocolitas. There’s a great amount of caramel in here, but for the chocoholics in this house, I have to add more chocolate. My original recipe includes half cup of chocolate chips, but after the tweaking I did to satisfy the others, we ended up with one cup or more of chocolate chips and a cup and some of caramel. Not bad my friends, not bad at all. I’ll share the original version, but if you are a choco lover, go ahead and double the amount of chocolate chips.

Oats, caramels, sugar and other carmelita ingredients in small bowls

What You’ll Need

Aside from being addictively delicious, one of the best things about carmelitas is how easy they are to make with simple ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • All purpose flour
  • Rolled oats – Use old fashioned rolled oats, not instant oats
  • Light brown sugar – Dark brown sugar also works if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Baking soda
  • Butter – There is a generous amount of unsalted butter in this recipe. It’s worth it!
  • Caramel candies – Any brand of caramel candies works, just make sure that caramel is the only thing in them.
  • Heavy cream – You could also use half and half.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – Feel free to use dark chocolate chips if you want these to be less sweet and enjoy the more intense dark chocolate flavor.

How to Make Carmelitas

Ok it’s time to make the most amazing cookie bars ever! Here’s how to do it:

  • Prep your tools. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×9 pan with aluminum foil leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out. Grease lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Make the oatmeal dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and melted butter; mix until well combined.
  • Bake. Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and put it in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  • Prepare the caramel. While the first layer bakes, combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until smooth.
  • Add chocolate and caramel. Remove pan from oven and layer the chocolate chips over the crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips.
  • Add final oat layer. Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel.
  • Finish baking. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.
  • Cool. Remove from oven and completely cool before removing from pan and cutting into bars.

Tips for Success

This recipe is pretty straightforward, but there are a few things I recommend keeping in mind:

  • Let them cool before cutting. Because the caramel and chocolate is so gooey while hot, these cookie bars are easier to cut once they have cooled. I know it’s hard to wait but it will be worth it!
  • Line your baking sheet. Don’t skip this step, it makes it much easier to remove the cookie bars from the pan and cut them.
  • Experiment with mix ins. If you like you can add up to 1/2 cup of mix ins such as coconut flakes, chopped nuts, chopped dried fruit or even more chocolate!
Three carmelitas stacked in front of a pan

How to Store Extras

You can store cooled carmelitas in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days. These cookie bars also keep well in the fridge. Store them in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Want to freeze these? You can do that too! I recommend freezing individual slices. So let your carmelitas cool, cut them up into the sizes you want, then wrap each slice in saran wrap. Place the wrapped slices in a freezer-safe container and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy a slice simply defrost overnight in the fridge, on the counter for a few hours, or heat in the microwave for 30 seconds after removing the plastic wrap.

Carmelitas

8 8 8
WW Freestyle: 16
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
CARMELITAS – Easy to make oatmeal cookie bars filled with gooey caramel and delicious chocolate!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 16 bars
Calories: 176
Author: Katerina | Diethood

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks butter , melted
  • 1 (14 oz.) package of caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Line a 9×9 pan with aluminum foil leaving an overhang on opposite sides to lift the bars out. Grease lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and melted butter; mix until well combined.
  • Press half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan and put it in the oven to bake for 10 minutes.
  • In the meantime prepare the caramel.
  • Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until smooth.
  • Remove pan from oven and layer the chocolate chips over the crust.
  • Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips.
  • Crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and completely cool before removing from pan and cutting into bars.
Nutrition Facts
Carmelitas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 176 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 7mg2%
Sodium 77mg3%
Potassium 93mg3%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 75IU2%
Calcium 25mg3%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keywords: caramel cookies, cookie bars, oatmeal cookie bars

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16 Responses
  1. mjskit

    I have never had anything like this! Caramel candies baked inside the mixture! You’re killing me! I love caramel, chocolate and oatmeal cookies, so I do believe I would LOVE these!

  2. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

    Kind of embarrassed to say I have never had one of these before. But I am really really tempted right now. I think I would probably have trouble staying away from the entire pan!

  3. Kristy

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one that loses my head (and lists) in the grocery store. Sometimes it’s just too fun (as long as I don’t have any whiners in tow 😉 ).

  4. Vicki @ WITK

    I love fall flavors, they make the transition from warm weather to cold a little easier! This looks like an amazing dessert, please share! 🙂

  5. Becky

    Kate,

    I can’t believe that I have never made Caramelitas before, or even Chocolitas. I must make these yummy treats soon.I have been on a caramel “kick” lately.

  6. kitchenarian

    I love desserts with oatmeal. When you add the chocolate and caramel, it is perfectly delicious! I can’t wait to try this. I love fall!!

  7. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    I’d be the one to forget the oats too. So, what happens if you decide to leave the chocolate out all together? Is that possible without ruining the recipe?

    1. Kate@Diethood

      That’s what I make for myself! Just caramel sauce…lots of it… if I had to guess, I probably pour in about 2 cups…I always have a jar of homemade caramel…yum! 🙂 One adjustment; do not bake the crust first. Instead, pat down the crust, pour the caramel sauce on top, crumble the rest of the oats mixture, and then bake it for about 25 to 30 minutes.

  8. Claudie

    Kate, let me first congratulate you on your new little girl since I haven’t had a chance yet! Lots of best wishes to her and your entire family!

    As for the carmelitas, I’m 100% for Chocolitas, they look just delicious with that melted chocolate you can see in between the oats! Really nicely done 🙂

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Katerina of Diethood
Hey There!
I'm Katerina, a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

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