Carmelitas

These bars are like the bubblegum with the squishy, squirty center that oozes when you chomp down.

Except it’s rich, creamy, buttery caramel that squirts in your mouth when you bite down here.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

They’re like the softest oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, with a streusel-crumble topping, and more melted caramel than you have napkins for, and that’s beautiful.

I’ve been wanting to (re)make these bars for years, and I’m so glad I did.

MY OTHER RECIPES

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

They’re a no-mixer, layered bar and are an adaptation of my early 2012 Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars.

In this version I tinkered with the flour and oat ratio, increasing the flour and decreasing the oats slightly, so the bars hold together better.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

The crust and topping are made with the same mixture. It’s a buttery, brown sugar, vanilla-infused oatmeal and flour mixture.

Half is pressed into the pan and baked for 10 minutes as the crust, and the other half of the big buttery crumbs are crumbled over the top. Below, is after 10 minutes of baking.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

The filling is just caramels and heavy cream melted together. I melted in the micro, but use the stovetop if you prefer. I used Werther’s Baking Caramels. I love these caramels because the wax paper just slides right off making unwrapping 30+ caramels a quick and easy job, rather than caramels with pesky cellophane, which is a huge strugglefest.

I haven’t tried using jarred caramel sauce, but I have a feeling a thick, higher quality jarred sauce would be fine. If anyone tries Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel Sauce, let me know how it goes. That would be my first choice if I wasn’t melted caramels with cream.

After baking the crust for 10 minutes, sprinkle with chocolate, drizzle with caramel sauce, and crumble the reserved oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the center is bubbly and the edges are just set and lightly browned.

It’s very important to allow the bars to cool completely before slicing. It can up to take 4 hours, or overnight, at room temp. You can speed it along by placing pan in the fridge, but I made them in the evening, cooled overnight, and they were set by the next morning. However ‘set’ is a relative term. You can see they’re still plenty drippy and gooey.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

If you slice the bars before they’ve cooled completely, you’ll have a literal hot mess with molten caramel and melted chocolate all over. They’ll taste fine (as long as you don’t burn your mouth on hot caramel), but you’ll have no chance for clean cuts or pretty bars that stay intact.

Plus, I think bars like this taste better the next day after the flavors have married. The caramel and chocolate also has a chance to soak into all the nooks and crannies of the oats.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Even after the bars are fully cooled, they’re soft, gooey, messy, and full of intense caramel flavor. The butter and brown sugar in the crust-topping mixture caramelize while baking, adding even more caramel flavor.

Carmelitas - Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe. With a name like that, they have to be good!!

If you’re easily bothered by desserts that are ‘too sweet or too rich’, I wouldn’t recommend these because they’re both. However, adding a pinch of salt helps balance the sweetness. I included places in the recipe where you can add salt, to the crust-topping mixture, and/or to the caramel sauce, creating salted caramel sauce.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

The semi-sweet chocolate is a great balance to the sweet caramel and chocolate is always welcome in any dessert I’m having.

The oats provide a light amount of texture and chewiness to the otherwise buttery-soft bars, just oozing with caramel everywhere. They aren’t called carmelitas for nothing.

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Carmelitas - For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe at averiecooks.com

Carmelitas

Carmelitas are a no-mixer, layered bar, and the crust and topping are made with the same buttery, brown sugar, vanilla-infused oatmeal and flour mixture. In the middle there’s chocolate and caramel sauce. They’re like the softest oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, with a streusel-crumble topping, and more melted caramel than you have napkins for. The oats provide a light amount of texture and chewiness to the otherwise buttery-soft bars, just oozing with juicy caramel everywhere. You can add salt, to taste, to the caramel sauce for salted carmelitas. I melted caramels with heavy cream (in the micro, use stovetop if you prefer), and while I haven’t tried using a jarred sauce like Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel, I think you’d be okay; I’d use 1 1/2 jars. You must let these bars set up for at least 4 hours before slicing, but overnight is strongly recommended.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup butter, melted (1 1/2 stick; I use unsalted butter but salted may be used)
3/ 4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-rolled old fashioned oats (not instant or quick cook)
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
35 caramel squares, unwrapped (I used Werther’s Originals Baking Caramels which are slightly bigger than cellophane-wrapped caramels; if using those, I recommend using a couple more)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste, if you prefer salted caramel sauce
1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used a combo)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lining your pan is highly recommended for ease of cleanup due to the stickiness of the caramel; set pan aside.
  2. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 90 seconds.
  3. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, optional pinch salt, and stir until combined. Mixture will be quite thick.
  5. Add half of the mixture to the prepared pan (just eyeball it), and smooth it with spatula or the back of a spoon, to create an even, smooth, flat layer; set remainder aside.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce.
  7. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the caramels, cream, and heat on high power in 60-second bursts to melt caramels, stirring after each burst. It will likely take about 4 to 5 minutes total to melt; heat until mixture can be stirred smooth. Alternatively, combine caramels and cream in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat to melt, stirring nearly continuously, until mixture can be stirred smooth.
  8. Optionally stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste, for salted caramel sauce; set sauce aside.
  9. After 10 minutes, remove pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate.
  10. Slowly and evenly pour caramel sauce over the chocolate.
  11. Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top.
  12. Return pan to oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes (I baked 16 1/2), or until edges are lightly browned and center is bubbling slightly.
  13. Allow bars to cool completely in the pan before slicing and serving, giving the molten caramel time to firm up. This can take up to 4 hours, or overnight, at room temperature. You can speed it up by placing pan in fridge with a sheet of foil over the top to prevent fridge smells. If you don’t wait for bars to cool completely, they’ll be a literal hot mess. They’ll taste fine (don’t burn yourself), but they won’t slice neatly with clean cuts. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Recipe adapted from my Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars

Only Eats

Related Recipes

Many blogging friends have made carmelita recipes. Check out Jaclyn’s Salted CarmelitasAlyssa’s CarmelitasLulu The Baker’s Carmelistas, Michelle’s Oatmeal Carmelita Bars, Tracey’s Salted Carmelita Bars, and Shelly’s Carmelita Cookies

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF) – The bars that inspired today’s recipe

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars - Easy Recipe at averiecooks.com

Dulce de Leche Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars

Dulce de Leche Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars - Chocolate, white chocolate & coconut flooded with dulce de leche! Like 7-Layer Bars, with sweet, creamy, caramely dulce de leche instead! Easy one-bowl recipe at averiecooks.com

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars (almost no-bake) – One of the favorite 2013 bars

Caramel Peanut Butter and Apricot Jelly Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation)

Caramel Peanut Butter and Apricot Jelly Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation)

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars - Easy, One-Bowl Recipe at averiecooks.com

Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce

Chocolate Buttermilk Pancakes with Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce - Recipe at averiecooks.com

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups

Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups - Easy, No-Mixer, Foolproof Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe at averiecooks.com

Hot Fudge and Salted Caramel Blondies

Hot Fudge and Salted Caramel Blondies - Two favorite ice cream toppings baked into soft, chewy & gooey bars! Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

277 comments on “Carmelitas”

  1. These look UH-MAZING. I’m making them right now. Would I be able to use cool whip instead of the heavy cream or does that completely defeat the point? Thanks for this fabulous recipe!

  2. These look amazing!! Where did you get your bowls? I have seen them before and love them!

  3. If I have 11.5 ou of caramel sauce do I combine that with the heavy cream? Thanks!!

  4. Made these Sunday but cooked longer than you wrote to make sure they didn’t fall apart (my oven is funky and usually needs more time). They were good, but then I made them again yesterday. Used 1/2 werthers/1/2 kraft caramels & baked only 1 minute longer. They were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!

    Thank you – this recipe is a keeper : )

  5. hi there, really want to make these, but I have a question. If I can’t find the caramels you use in your recipe, can I make an “ordinary” home made sauce instead, like your salted caramel sauce? I don’t get Werther’s baking caramel here in Spain.
    Thanks in advance

  6. Mmm, these look amazing! One ingredient I don’t have is the heavy cream though – do you think I could try to make the caramel sauce using just a tiny bit of skim milk instead? (Not too much, though, because I don’t want them to be too runny!)

  7. Could you use sugar free Carmel ice cream topping? I’m diabetic and can not use the carmels

  8. I made a double bath in a 9×13 lasagna pan. For ease I used the Ms. Richardson’s butterscotch caramel. I wasn’t sure how much to use so I purchased 2 17oz. containers. I used about 1 1/3, but I think it would have been just fine with one. After running jar under hot water to loosen lid, I felt no need to melt further. I also used a mix of semi sweet chocolate bar (cut up into chunks) and chocolate chips, however since you won’t be able to tell anyways in the future I might just use chocolate chips. I had been hoping to use up some leftover bars.
    Great recipe! All in all, super easy!

    • Glad these came out great for you with Mrs. R’s as well as chopped chocolate AND making a double batch in a 9×13 (you have some lucky friends and family!). Thanks for trying the recipe and glad you’re happy!

  9. Have you ever tried white chocolate chips instead of reg chocolate?

  10. If you doubled the recipe would you bake in 2 8x8s or do you think they would do OK in a 9×13?

    • Tough call because I have only ever needed 1 8×8 pan of these at a time! :)

      I think you’d be fine doubling and baking in a 9×13 pan. Read through the comments. I am pretty sure I’ve had readers write in saying they’ve done it and they’ve been great!

  11. Is there a way to make this if you do not have an 8×8 pan? I have 13×9.

  12. Would it work to make these, slice them into bars, and freeze them, so I could just pull out a few at a time to eat? They look amazing!

    • What you outlined is what I do with almost 100% of the bars I make if I don’t give them away, so yes, you’re fine. I would wrap theme individually in parchment before freezing and then freeze in a big ziplock. They are super sticky and better to be safe and freeze already cut and portioned out so they don’t stick to each other when you’re trying to get them out of the freezer. Enjoy!

  13. Hi there,
    I am really interested in making these Squares. Question, how many cups would 35 carmeal pieces be…if i am looking to make my own caramel (does it need to be hardened?)
    Also, subsituitng for “healthier” dietary restrictions. are there any ways to make this more calorie and fat wise? any ideas for substitution.
    Thank you so much, they look delcious!

    • You’re going to need about a cup of caramel sauce, give or take. You can use your own (if you’re near a Trader Joe’s, theirs will work great here) or storebought.

      are there any ways to make this more calorie and fat wise = I’m sure there are but this is such a downright over-the-top dessert that you probably will only make once a year, so just go for it and enjoy it happily for that time of the year you make it!

  14. These Carmelitas look awesome! I am making them for a bigger crowd. Have you ever doubled and done a 9×13 or would you just do 2 8×8 pans??

  15. i just made these, and my house smells great and can’t wait to eat them!!!

  16. I made these last week and they were Fantastic. Currently making a second batch for Christmas! Question- last time I had some slight issues with the foil getting stuck to the Carmel. Is there any secret to avoiding this issue or any special way to cut the bars? Someone mentioned upside down. Thanks!

    • I use Reynold’s Heavy Duty Non-Stick foil – it’s the best. It doesn’t stick or rip! And I spray the heck out of it with Pam Cooking Spray and that has always done the trick for me! I would just left the whole thing out via the foil, place on a cutting board, and slick from there. Glad they were fantastic for you!

  17. I can’t wait to make these!! Looks ahhhmazing. I have a question- I have Kraft Carmel bites. One bag is 11 oz. how much should I use?

  18. I just made these today, and they were the best ever! So gooey! So chocolatey! And the dough bakes up to a perfect consistency. They were a huge hit with the fam. And I just realized as I came over to comment that you posted this recipe exactly one year ago today. Perfect timing! Happy one year carmelita anniversary and happy new year!

  19. These look fantastic! I have some caramel lovers at my house–I will definitely be making these!!

    Random question–where did you find your mixing bowls? I love them! I had a similar one in college and was so sad when it got dropped and broke! I would love to have another (or two, or three…)

    Thanks Averie. I’m not familiar with your blog but I’m excited to check it out.

  20. This will be the second time making these I am going to do a triple batch this time and take them into work..they are so ooo good I want everyone to enjoy them…

  21. If anyone can not find the caramel bars they can use 1 1/2 bags of caramel bites….I love this recipe. We just finished it :) hope it turns out to look as good as the picture hahah

  22. can you use an 8×8 glass dish instead if a metal pan? If so, what changes would you have to make if any? Thanks!

  23. Averie, in case you didn’t know already, you are amazing. I have been eyeballing this recipe for awhile because your opening line just spoke to me. It seemed like every time I went to make it though I would be short on caramels (my husband claims no knowledge of such things so I guess we have elves, gnomes, or our dog has gotten really good at unwrapping them and throwing the paper in the garbage when he finishes) So I finally got the ingredients and made them upon entering the door. And like usual, they were not only exactly as described, but I banged my head on the door wondering why I didn’t have a pan of these every day on my counter for the last year. Thank you again for your deluscious recipes of happiness. (and sorry for the long story)

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you after eyeballing it for ages! I love these bars, and would love pans of them to show up on my door quite often as well :) Glad those giant rats, ahem, finally stopped raiding the cupboards and eating all your caramels, too :) I have those rats in my house too LOL

  24. I made the Carmelitas last night (a total hit by the way!) and I used Smucker’s Hot Caramel flavored topping. I kept pouring it in until it covered the chocolate chips like in your picture. It worked wonderfully. It was also much faster then melting and mixing the caramel squares with the cream. All in all, my family loved them and I WILL be making these again. They are dangerously delicious. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and using jarred caramel sauce rather than melting your own, such a time saver, agreed :) Glad they’re dangerously delicious!

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