These chocolate caramel oatmeal bars (or carmelitas) are delicious cookie bars with a soft oatmeal cookie crust, stuffed with chocolate chips, and gooey caramel. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
These bars are made with a delicious oatmeal cookie crust, that is sprinkled with chocolate chips, then drizzled all over with caramel, topped with more oatmeal cookie and baked. That means delicious oatmeal cookie layers, that sandwich a delicious chocolate and gooey caramel layer in the middle.
This recipe makes the perfect amount for a 9inch square baking pan, but if you want to make enough for a 9×13 pan just multiple everything by 2 so you can serve a bigger crowd. They’re perfect for wrapping up on a plate to gift to neighbors, serving up at a potluck, or party.
I just made a small batch of these bars since there’s only 2 of us who can eat them at home, but the recipe could easily be doubled for a bigger group if you wanted these for Thanksgiving as an alternative to your pie, or to make some as a neighbor treat for the upcoming Christmas holiday.
Ingredients Needed to make Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars:
- brown sugar
- unsalted butter
- vanilla extract
- all purpose flour
- old fashioned oats
- baking soda
- chocolate chips
- soft caramels
- heavy cream
How to make Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars?
- Mix together the sugar, melted butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add in the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and stir it all together until you have a soft cookie dough.
- Press half of the mixture into the bottom of a lined baking pan, and bake it for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the crust.
- Melt caramels and heavy cream in the microwave until you can stir it totally smooth. Then pour the caramel over the chocolate chips and crust.
- Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the top of the caramel.
- Bake the pan until the edges are lightly brown.
- Let the bars cool completely, then slice them up and enjoy.
Tips for making Carmelitas:
- Use parchment paper or foil to line the pan. The caramel in the middle keeps these bars super gooey and messy. The parchment paper will help ensure you can easily remove the bars for serving, and help with clean up. So you want to make sure it wraps up all 4 sides.
- Add pecans to the middle layer after you add the chocolate chips if you want a nutty flavor and crunch.
- Let the bars cool completely before slicing them and serving. I love most cookies served warm, but these are one exception to that rule. The bars will cut much better and cleaner if you let them set first.
- These bars are rich so you can cut them into smaller servings to get more out of a pan.
- Or double the recipe for a bigger batch and bake them in a 9×13 pan instead.
How to store Carmelitas?
I’m not sure if you’ll actually end up with leftovers, but if you do store any cooled carmelitas in a single layer in an airtight container. They can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the fridge for up to 9 days.
You can also freeze the bars. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap, then put those all in a freezer safe bag, or other freezer safe container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, let them thaw at room temperature until soft enough to enjoy.
These chocolate caramel oatmeal bars are one of the best cookie bar recipes of all time. Who can say no to chocolate, caramel, and surrounded by soft oatmeal cookie?!
More Cookie Bar Recipes:
- Biscoff Blondies
- Turtle Cookie Bars
- Candy Bar Cookie Bars
- Sugar Cookie Bars
- Chocolate Coconut Bars
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Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened, 1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 TBS vanilla extract
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 35 soft caramels (unwrapped - I used Werther's soft caramels)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Large Mixing Bowl
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 or 9x9inch baking pan with parchment paper (2 pieces to wrap up both sides), or foil to cover the sides, then nonstick spray. Set it aside.
- Add the sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl and stir them together.
- Add in the flour, oats, baking soda and salt and stir it together until you have a nice soft cookie dough.
- Press half of the oatmeal cookie mixture into the prepared pan. And set the other half aside.
- Bake the bottom layer for 10 minutes, and remove it from the oven.
- Add the caramels and heavy cream to a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each time until you can stir it completely smooth.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cooked crust.
- Pour the caramel mixture evenly over the chocolate chips and crust.
- Press pieces of the remaining oatmeal cookie dough between your hands to flatten, and place them around the top of the caramel, covering the caramel as much as you can.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake the bars for another 14 to 16 minutes, or until the edges are lightly golden.
- Remove the bars from the oven and let them cool completely, this may take 3 to 4 hours. If you want to speed up the cooling time, let the pan cool to touch, then add it to the fridge to chill for another hour or two.
These chocolate caramel oatmeal bars were first posted on November 24, 2014. The photos and text were updated on February 25, 2022 for clarity.
** These chocolate caramel oatmeal bars were originally made in partnership with Quaker and Collective Bias, Inc. All opinions are mine alone. #QuakerUp #MyOatsCreation #CollectiveBias #spon