This is the best recipe for Carmelitas! Soft and chewy oatmeal cookie bars with layers of rich chocolate and gooey caramel are so good – don’t expect any leftovers!
This Carmelitas recipe combines three of my favorite things – Cookies, Chocolate, and Caramel – into one dangerously delicious dessert!
A super simple oatmeal cookie dough creates the top and bottom layers of these bars, while melted chocolate chips and a silky, gooey caramel sauce fill in the center.
Every bite is the perfect bite when you make these decadent caramel dessert bars!
You should also check out my Magic 7 Layer Bars recipe featuring nuts, butterscotch chips, and coconut.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Bar Cookies – Bar cookie recipes are perfect for when you want cookies, but don’t want to spend the time to shape and bake them all individually. This caramel dessert is made in one pan and then cut into squares before serving.
- No Mixer – I love that this recipe doesn’t require a hand mixer or even a whisk! You can stir up the oatmeal cookie dough using a wooden spoon or a spatula.
- Delicious – There is nothing about this recipe that I don’t love: soft caramel, buttery, chewy oatmeal cookie, and the perfect amount of chocolate make carmelitas amazing.
Ingredients In Carmelitas
Here’s what you need to make these carmelita bars:
Complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
- Caramels: Look for soft, individually wrapped caramels. Kraft is the most common brand you’ll find, but you can also use Werther’s caramels. Take a minute to remove the wrappers before you get started with this recipe.
- Heavy Cream: to make the caramel soft and gooey, we’ll melt the candy with heavy cream. I like to do this part in the microwave, but you can also heat the caramel sauce on the stove.
- Flour, Oats, Baking Soda, and Salt: To make oatmeal cookie dough for the base of these bars, these are the needed dry ingredients. Use old-fashioned oats rather than instant oats.
- Melted Butter, Vanilla Extract, and Brown Sugar: These are the wet ingredients. I use salted butter in this caramel dessert recipe because salt goes so well with caramel.
- Chocolate Chips: Choose dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips for carmelitas. The bars will be a bit too sweet if you try to use milk chocolate chips.
How To Make The Best Gooey Carmelitas
Get ready by preheating the oven to 350°F/180°C, and lining an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Coat the parchment paper with butter, and set aside.
- Make Caramel Sauce: In a microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels with heavy cream and microwave in 30 seconds intervals stirring in between until the caramel is fully melted.
- Mix Oatmeal Cookie Dough: In a mixing bowl, combine flour with oats, baking soda, and salt. Add melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract, and stir together with a spatula until combined.
- Par-Bake: Press half of the cookie dough into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Add Chocolate and Caramel: Leave the oven on, and remove the crust/pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the baked cookie layer, then pour the melted caramel on top of the chocolate chips.
- Bake: Crumble the remaining cookie dough over the caramel, to make the top layer of the cookie bars. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Be sure to let the carmelitas cool before slicing! You’ll have a delicious caramel mess on your hands if you don’t wait.
- Use an 8-inch square pan to make these bars. While you can make them in a 9×9″ pan, they won’t be quite thick enough.
- Try adding nuts: A half cup of chopped pecans or walnuts can be mixed in with the oatmeal cookie dough if you like.
- Make salted caramel carmelitas: Sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top of the caramel layer.
- Carmelitas are rich and sweet, so you can cut them into smaller pieces. I like to make 16 bars that are 2 inches each.
- Double the recipe: Follow the recipe, but double all of the ingredients and bake the bars in a 9×13″ pan.
Store leftovers (if you have any!) in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll stay fresh for 4 days. If you aren’t going to eat them right away, wait to cut them until just before serving.
You can also freeze carmelitas for up to 3 months.
More Rich and Delicious Caramel Desserts
If you like caramel, I think you’ll also like these caramel dessert recipes:
- Sticky Buns
- Better Than Sex Cake
- Butterscotch Cake
- Pecan Pie Cheesecake
- Caramel Brownies
- Oatmeal Pie
- Christmas Crack
- Twix Thumbprint Cookies
If you only have quick oats, you can use them in this recipe, but the bars won’t be as chewy as they are with old-fashioned oats. I’d avoid using instant oats in this recipe though, as the dough will be too soft.
I like to use the microwave to melt the caramels along with heavy cream. Just put everything in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat at high power at 30-second intervals. Stir in between each, and continue until the caramel sauce is smooth. You can also stir the caramels together in a small pot over low heat on the stove.
This truly is the best carmelitas recipe! I’ve tested it over and over again and the bars are amazing every time. Pin the recipe so more people can find it!
- 32 caramel squares unwrapped, such as Kraft or Werther's
- ½ cup (125g) heavy cream
- 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (100g) old fashioned rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup (12 tbsp, or 170g) melted salted butter
- ¾ cup (170g) light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (170g) semi sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C, line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine caramels with heavy cream and microwave in 30 seconds intervals stirring in between until the caramel is fully melted. You can also do this in a small saucepan over the stovetop.
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour with oats, baking soda, and salt.
- Add melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients, and stir with a spatula until combined.
- Press half of the cookie dough into the pan, and bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven (keep the oven switched on), sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the baked cookie layer, then pour the melted caramel on top of the chocolate chips. Then, crumble the remaining cookie dough on top of the caramel.
- Return to the oven, and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a wire rack. Slice and serve.
- Serves either 9 large bars (a bit smaller than 3×3”), or 16 smaller ones (2×2”).
- This recipe can be doubled, and baked in a 9×13″ pan.
- Add flaky sea salt to the top of the bars after they’re done to make salted caramel bars!
- To Store: Store these in an airtight container at cool room temperature or in the fridge for about a week, or freeze for up to 4 months.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen