Carmelitas — For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy layered bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe that everyone loves!
The Best Carmelitas Recipe
These oatmeal caramel 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.
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. 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.
Even after the carmelita 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.
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.
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.
What’s in Carmelitas?
These carmelita bars are a cinch to make and require very few ingredients.
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- All-purpose flour
- Old-fashioned oats
- Baking soda
- Caramel squares
- Heavy cream
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
How to Make Carmelitas
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.
The filling is just caramels and heavy cream melted together. I melted in the micro, but use the stovetop if you prefer.
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.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until the center is bubbly and the edges are just set and lightly browned.
What Kind of Caramels Should I Buy?
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.
If you can’t find the Werther’s brand of caramels, Kraft sells baking caramels as well. In general, you’re looking for something that is what I would call an old-fashioned type of caramel, square in shape, and soft and chewy rather than hard.
Can I Use Caramel Sauce Instead?
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.
Can I Use Instant Oats Instead of Rolled?
No! You must use old-fashioned oats (aka rolled oats) in this recipe. Instant or quick cooking oats are too powdery and won’t give you the right consistency.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, simply double the ingredients and bake in a 9×13-inch pan.
How to Store Carmelita Bars
Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Can I Freeze Carmelita Bars?
Yes! They can be frozen for up to 4 months. To thaw, place on your counter overnight.
Tips for Making Carmelita Bars
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.
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.
What Readers Are Saying
This easy recipe for carmelitas has been one of the top desserts on my site for years!
Here are just a few of the 5-star reviews that readers have left on this carmelitas recipe:
“I have been meaning to make this for a LONG time and my mom’s birthday was finally the perfect occasion. I love and trust your recipes and this was no exception. They are really quick and easy to make, and I love that they are actually better made the day before.” — Jen
“This recipe is amazing! I’ve made these several times for family and just for myself they are so good. Never had any problems, its quick and delicious!” — Gina
“This recipe is one of our favorites. I’ve added it to my recipe book so we never lose it.” — Deb
“I made these for New Year’s Eve and they were incredible! I am famously bad at baking but your photos and careful instructions made these very manageable.” — Beth
“OMG!!!! These are to die for! Had I known, I would never have made them because I couldn’t stop eating them! Ooey Gooey caramel and chocolatey goodness all wrapped up in one little bite!” — Nancy T.
Pin This Recipe
For the serious caramel lover, these soft and chewy bars are dripping with caramel and stuffed with chocolate! Easy one-bowl, no-mixer recipe!
- 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
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or 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 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used a combo)
- 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.
- In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the butter and heat on high power to melt, about 90 seconds.
- Add the brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour, oats, baking soda, optional pinch salt, and stir until combined. Mixture will be quite thick.
- 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.
- Bake for 10 minutes. While it bakes, make the caramel sauce.
- In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, combine the caramels, cream, salt, 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.
- After 10 minutes, remove pan from the oven and evenly sprinkle with the chocolate.
- Slowly and evenly pour caramel sauce over the chocolate.
- Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top.
- 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.
- 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.
To store: 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1114Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 440mgCarbohydrates: 192gFiber: 2gSugar: 170gProtein: 5g
More Caramel Dessert Recipes:
Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars – They’re like a marriage of Peanut Butter Twix and Tagalongs, in bar form, and they’re irresistible!
Just made these using Marzetti Caramel Dip instead of the caramels listed. Just heated it up for 1 min. in the microwave. Worked perfectly. Thanks for the recipe!
I am glad these turned out great with the Marzetti Caramel Dip!
I’ve made these a few times and always thought there was just a tad too much caramel so this last time I used about 1/3 of the jar of Stonewall Kitchen Sea Salt Caramel sauce – heated it up a bit and poured it over the chocolate chips until they were just covered. It’s perfection! And so much easier than unwrapping an entire bag of caramels.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad that you found a way to tweak the recipe and that the caramel sauce from the jar works great and yes, I agree that’s definitely easier than unwrapping a whole bag of caramels!
I love this recipe. So rich and drool worthy. I did use the caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s, it works really well.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you loved these and that the caramel sauce from TJs worked really well for you!
Yummm!!! I made a few adaptations. I used my homemade caramel thickened a bit with some flour. I sprinkled on some white chocolate chips semi sweet chocolate chips shredded coconut and pecans. Once baked I drizzled melted chocolate and sprinkled on some flaky sea salt flakes!!!
Thanks for the 5 star review and your adaptations sound great! Homemade caramel, white chocolate, sea salt, wow…I want one :)
I have been meaning to make this for a LONG time and my mom’s birthday was finally the perfect occasion. I love and trust your recipes and this was no exception. They are really quick and easy to make, and I love that they are actually better made the day before.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad you loved these and thank you for the vote of confidence that you trust my recipes! That is so nice to hear!
This recipe is amazing! I’ve made these several times for family and just for myself they are so good. Never had any problems, its quick and delicious!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this is a repeat favorite for you and your family!
Thanks so much!
These were delicious! I found them a bit too sugary, and when I make them again, I might cut back a little on the brown sugar, but yum!!! They would also be delicious with chopped pecans in them!
Glad they were delicious for you!
YUM! What a gorgeous recipe! Looks and sounds so delicious and perfect for Fall ?
Thank you so much!
This recipe is one of our favorites. I’ve added it to my recipe book so we never lose it.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad these are one of your favorites!
Please help! I want to make these on Saturday, to have for Sunday! Iooked up the baking caramels, and the internet says they are no longer in production. Can you suggest something else? Regular soft werthers? Something lol! I reaaaaaally wanna make these babies for my hubby! :)
You want a soft caramel. Something that is what I would call an old-fashioned type of caramel, square shape, in a clear cellophane wrapper, not sure what the soft Werther’s are like but you can try them and see what happens and if they melt well or not.
One bag of the Kraft baking caramel bits is what I use for this recipe (less plastic waste) and they’re available at target! Amazon sells the individually wrapped ones too.
Excellent bars and love the name. Will flatt en the raised edges after 1st bake next time before adding chocolate and caramel so it spreads a bit more evenly. Thanks for posting and will make these many many more times. Wish I could rate it 10 stars!
Thanks for the 5 star review (or 10 stars if you could) and glad that you’ll make these many more times!
Can you double this recipe…and se a 9 by 13 pan?
My mom made these in the 1970s! I still have her original recipe. Not your creation, Princess.
And my mom has recipes for potato salad and so does your mom. But I have recipes for potato salad on my site.
I posted the recipe that I know for Carmelitas. It may be different that your moms, or not. I have no idea. Recipes ebb and flow and isn’t it great we can all make a recipe with the same title but likely do it in our own way and put our own twist on it. Just like potato salad, no one makes it exactly the same. Yet no one gets bent out of shape when someone shares a potato salad recipe on the internet.
Signing off now,
These will fill your soul and make everything that’s bad in the world, right again. They are THAT good.
Thanks for the 5 star review and thanks for the super high praise! And I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about them!
I made these for New Year’s Eve and they were incredible! I am famously bad at baking but your photos and careful instructions made these very manageable. I accidentally used dark brown sugar so they were denser and less photogenic, but still tasted amazing.
Glad to hear these turned out incredible for you and that my photos and instructions made the recipe manageable for you!
Made these yesterday to bring to a dinner with friends. We all agreed they were better warmed and paired with vanilla ice cream, then simply by themselves straight from the pan and cooled. Very tasty though, and I would make again.
Who are you kidding that these will last up to a week i a closed container? They barely last a day after they are cool enough to cut!!I made these last Christmas and everybody said they loved them.
Hahaha!! Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad they don’t last long for you :)
These are so easy to make, and absolutely delicious! Always a crowd favorite! I make this several times a year for little family get togethers and just for my own family’s enjoyment!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this is a crowd favorite that you make several times a year!
They resemble the Seven Layer Bars I have made for decades…Look delicious, I will try! Thx
They are a bit different than 7 Layer Bars, definitely more rich and decadent, and so good! And I love Seven Layer Bars too, but these may be even better :)
I can’t find the Werther’s Baking Caramels. Do you know if they are discontinued? Do you have a recommendation for a substitute? Caramels come in such a range of textures which is making it difficult for my science brain. :) Thank you!
I don’t know if they have been discontinued or not. I would look for the very soft caramels, there is a brand that I know is still around, Brach’s. They would be a good replacement for the Werther’s.
All my measuring cups, and cookbooks, show 1 cup to be 8 ounces (dry measure) or 250 ml. I had wanted to send a photo of my measuring cups and the Measurements Equivalents page from MY cookbooks, but I don’t see any provision for attachments.
Almost 2 ounces makes a BIG difference sometimes.
You say “1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips” for the Carmelita. Which is it? 1 cup or 6 oz.??? There’s a 2 ounce difference?
1 cup or 175 g or 6.2 oz
Google “how many ounces of chocolate chips in a cup”
Guys. These are bomb. Stop what you’re doing and make them! 🤗Seriously though, so so good!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad these turned out so well for you!
I’m wondering if anyone has actually frozen these, and if so, are there any negative effects on these bars?
I have frozen just about every dessert imaginable and while fresh is always best, these do just fine in the freezer.
We have these in the freezer right now, and (I have to disagree, sorry! 😬) frozen is sooo good! We freeze all cookies/treats we make and like them better than fresh! They don’t take long to thaw enough to eat, though usually I’m biting into one before they’re completely thawed! 😊
Instead of heavy cream, can I use oat milk ?
I have never tried and I worry about the overall final texture of the caramel sauce if you don’t use something with a higher fat content like heavy cream. I personally wouldn’t gamble on oat milk, but you never know until you try it.
OMG!!!! These are to die for! Had I known, I would never have made them because I couldn’t stop eating them! Ooey Gooey caramel and chocolatey goodness all wrapped up in one little bite! I used almond flour with mine because there were two people with gluten allergies at the happy hour I was going too and you would never have known! In fact, the almond flavor gave these little bites of heaven a nutty taste!
Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad that GF flour was just fine and that you thought they were to die for!
Could I ask if you replaced all of the flour with almond flour or just part? I’m on a GDM diet and considering trying to make these with a sugar free caramel sauce and was reading the comments for any other changes I could make to help (along with maybe adding walnuts). These are going to be or other people, mostly, but I’d love to be able to eat at least one myself. (And maybe make a regular batch later when my diet doesn’t have to be as controlled anymore.)
I was looking for a yummy treat to bring to a party and stumbled on this recipe! Can I just say that……these are amazing!!! I Have now made them at least a dozen times in one year and every time I make them people go crazy over them!! I bake a lot and these are requested again and again! I am making them this week for a very close friend who is celebrating 3 yrs of recovery! Thank you for the recipe!! I always double the recipe in a 9×13 pan lined with parchement and chill for several hours! Perfection
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad to hear that you’ve made these at least a dozen times in the past year! I think you’ve officially made them more than I have. That’s great to hear that they always get rave reviews!
COULD 1300 CALORIES REALLY BE FOR ONE BAR! IT DOESNT SEEM RIGHT. OR IS IT FOR THE WHOLE PAN?
Just did a trial run of these and I didn’t have enough oats to cover the top of the caramel sauce. I did exactly half of the oats for the bottom. And what I did put on the top, sank quickly into the warm caramel. Any suggestions to ensure the top is an actual oat crust top? Instead of just some of it?
Then I would add slightly more oats since you didn’t have enough. There is a video that shows exactly how I make these. That should help you.
I have made them 3 times and they are so delicious! Everyone loves them. They are easy to make.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad they have always been a hit with everyone!
I have made these quite a few times, and they are always a hit! I usually double the recipe to make a 9×13 pan.
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad these are always a hit for you!
These bars were so amazing! We had a dinner party and made these for dessert and they were a big hit. I did make a couple small changes. I only added 1/3 cup of cream just so the caramel wasn’t quite as runny. I also added about 1/2 cup more of flour and 1/2 cup more oats to the top crust mixture to make it a bit more crumbly. They were so yummy!
Glad they were a hit!
These are one of my go-to desserts for cookouts/group gatherings. I like to make two pans, one salted and one not. Thanks for this great recipe!
I’m glad to hear this is one of your go to desserts and I’m all about salted caramel! Thanks for the five star review!
I’m curious if i make recipe and 1/2 if they would make a 9×13 pan. Don’t want have to make 2 pans.
Person who made 6 batches what pan did you use?
It would be very difficult to halve this recipe and find a suitable pan. 8×8 is the smallest standard sized pan. Yes you can order smaller pans on Amazon but not sure how practical they would be for future baking needs.
If you double it, yes use a 9×13 pan.
These were really easy to make and I used the Trader Joe’s salted caramel in the bottle and sprinkled it with a little sea salt. One other thing I added was chopped pecans. It turned out good. They are just VERY VERY sweet. I had to make some whipped cream to dip them in to kill the sweetness a little. I think I’d use half the sugar next time. But, that’s a preference…Beautiful pics! Mine didn’t come out quite that good looking. ;)
Yes they are definitely sweet but also the salted caramel from TJ’s I think is sweeter than if you use caramel squares but they are both sweet; in general this is definitely a rich and decadent dessert! Thanks for the photo compliments.
These are the most amazing, gooiest, chocolatiest, carameliest, softest-with-the-perfect-amount-of-crunch, most delicious dessert I have ever made. They’re so easy to make, yet they get compliments everywhere you take them! I’ve had to write this recipe down for so many family members and friends that I’ve learned it by heart! These will forever be my go-to bar dessert. Love love love!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this will be your forever be my go-to bar dessert!
Made these this evening. Quick and easy to make. My hubby loved them. A bit too sweet for me, but I’m weird that way. I will definitely make them again, and will try some course salt in the top layer – and eat them with a cup of coffee…after a day of fasting! 😜
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad you will definitely make again. Sea salt sounds like a nice twist.
Made these last night, they are AMAZING!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it turned out amazing for you!
I made these last year for the holidays and everyone loved them. This year I’d like to make them without dairy. Any tips?
Wow, that’s tricky. You would need to use vegan butter, vegan caramel sauce, and I am not sure how that will all come together. Good luck!
I’ve made these a few times and I absolutely love them. I’ve tinkered around a little bit and decided to brown the butter and add sea salt to the caramel. Wow! These are one of my favorite easy recipes that doesn’t taste “easy” at all.
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad you love these! I agree, easy but doesn’t taste “easy” and I am sure the browned butter and salted caramel was just sooooo amazing in these!
Could I use caramel sauce (like what would be found in a sundae aisle) in these instead, or would that not bake well?
Don’t use it, too thin, will not bake well at all.
I made these this past weekend and they came out great! Thanks for sharing! You have a new food blogger friend in me dear.
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
Just made these using GF flour. So excited.
That’s wonderful! Hope they turned out amazing!
They turned out great!
I’ve made carmelitas a couple of times, but LOVE this recipe! I made them for 150 people last night and they were a huge success. I’ve had three people ask for the recipe already! I made three pans and multiplied the recipe by 6 for each pan without any real issues. The only problem I had at that volume was melting the caramels in the microwave; so for the second and third pans I switched to the stove and it was sooooo much quicker!
I will definitely be making them again! Thanks so much!
I cannot even believe you made these for 150 people! You are Superwoman!!!!!!!!! WOW!! Seriously that is an undertaking! Glad they were so popular and everyone wants the recipe!
I can imagine that melting that kind of caramel volume was much easier on the stovetop, good call!
Wow!!! I’m saving this one to try.
Sooo, I was really excited to try this recipe, I just love Carmelitas. I’m not sure if I did something wrong or the recipe itself, but the oatmeal dough was very greasy and not a thick consistency. The final outcome was very runny and all the bottom cookie dough became caramel-like. Any suggestions on what I should change for next time?
There is a video of this recipe to help you see the steps so I would advise watching that and I know there’s nothing wrong with the recipe as it’s one of my most popular and so many people write to say how much they love these. Make sure you are using the correct kind of oats (old-fashioned not quick cook) and for flour I swear by King Arthur. Other than that it’s hard to troubleshoot from afar. Thanks for trying the recipe.
We love these! They’ve been a favorite for awhile now. I’ve used a little less better, more or less choco chips, and more or less caramel depending on what I have available. Oh and I forget the vanilla half the time ha ha. They always turn out great! Such a great, flexible recipe. :)
Glad you love them just as much as I do!
I mean *butter, not better ha ha!
I made these this week for work. AMAZING!!!! Everyone loved them. Saved one for my hubby and liked them so much, he’s requested I make them again for our family Christmas meal. I wasn’t able to find the Werther’s Baking caramels at my stores, but used the Werther’s Chewy Caramels instead and they worked great. Thanks for the recipe!!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
This recipe looks AH-mazing – all my favorite things, chocolate and caramel combined. I’m going to try it this week for a Christmas goodie for the family, but WHERE do you find Werther’s Baking Caramels? I see Werther’s Original Hard Candies, but it doesn’t seem like they would melt very easily. Thanks for your help!
I have found them at Target, regular grocery stores, or online. You can use other brands of caramels if those are easier for you to obtain. Definitely don’t use the hard candies.
Doubled the recipe. Probably my favorite bar recipe ever! The whole family loved them — thanks for a delicious recipe!!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad they are probably your favorite bar recipe ever, big statement!
I’ve been eyeing this recipe for quite awhile and FINALLY made it yesterday. =) These carmelitas are INCREDIBLE! We loved them! I didn’t even have quite enough caramels and had accidentally run out of heavy cream (so I used a lesser amount of half & half) and they are still wonderful. And my husband requested chopped pecans, so I added some to the top. That was a definite win, too! ;) Thanks for sharing! Love your recipes!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
I have one comment overall with the foil-lined pans you suggest. I’ve inevitably had to peel shreds of foil off the bottom of the bars. When I used parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray, I have no sticking at all. If others have had my problem, perhaps they might try this alternative?
I use Reynold’s Heavy Duty NONSTICK foil and it never sticks with the cooking spray. Some cheaper foils will probably rip or stick but it’s worth the extra buck for that one for me at least :)
I’ve made this incredible recipe a couple of times now (along with your salted caramel buttery crumb bars). Is there any reason that I shouldn’t use your homemade caramel sauce instead of melted caramels, since I’m apparently going to have your sauce in my fridge as a staple from now on? Thanks for such wonderful treats that really aren’t hard to make!
Well some people don’t want to go through the trouble of making homemade sauce so the caramels are a cheat. Also made these and I used Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce https://www.averiecooks.com/2015/11/salted-caramel-candied-pecan-carmelitas.html and it worked fine.
Glad you love this recipe!
Wish your recipes had a print icon for those of us who like a hard copy
There is, check again in the recipe card section, there’s a big PRINT RECIPE
I made these and my batter mixture was very runny. what am I doing wrong. I used the 3/4 cups melted butter the brown sugar 1 cup flour and 1 cup old fashioned oats but the melted butter made it so I could pour it.
It’s really hard to say what you did or where things went wrong because I wasn’t with you. There is a video showing exactly how these are made.
Just by what you wrote I’m thinking you somehow undermeasured the dry ingredients and/or overmeasured the butter/sugar which would have created excess moisture. Thanks for trying the recipe.
Good luck on your new blog and thanks for trying the recipes!
This is deff my favorite dessert of all time, its so decadent and rich!
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out great for you! And that it’s your FAVE dessert of ALL TIME!
Have you ever tried making these with your own homemade caramels? I have to be honest. using mass produced carmels just doesn’t do it for me. Looks like it would be a great recipe though with the homemade. Maybe I’ll try to figure it out.
I haven’t tried with homemade because honestly it tastes AMAZING as written and it’s one of my most popular desserts of all time. Try it the way I wrote it and save yourself the trouble of scratch caramels before you even begin the recipe.
Thank you for the great recipe.
So delicious! Will definitely make again and won’t change a thing!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
I didn’t scroll down through all the comments so maybe someone already said this, but I have been making these with Mrs Richards Butterscotch Caramel topping since 1992. You add 6 tablespoons of flour to the caramel topping to thicken it and prevent it from becoming too gooey. It’s a great time saver and everyone begs for the recipe. Thanks for sharing your great recipes!
Wow these look amazing! I can’t wait to try making them. ?
Do you think I could make these ahead of time and freeze? I’m looking for a few things to make in advance for when we have company and I quick need something.
Yes in theory you can freeze these, however part of the appeal is the really soft and gooey caramel action going on and upon freezing, not sure how that will work.
Something like a quickbread or cookies (you can freeze the dough and just bake off a few as needed) are probably more freezer-friendly options than these. I have numerous recipes for both if you do a drop down search from the top scrollbar BROWSE RECIPES section of my site.
Hi there!! I love the Carmelita bars from Whole Foods but I just couldn’t bear to bring a store bought dessert to a party tonight. Oh the horror! So I made these last night and they turned out beautifully!! Like a total work of art. I used TJ Caramel Sauce…perfect ooey gooey splendor and super easy! I made two batches…one per recipe and one I added TJ sweetened shredded coconut. Whoa! I think the coconut takes it to another level. So good! One thing, and you forewarned, they are just a little too sweet for me personally. While they are totally delicious and full of flavor, a few bites is about all I can take. I also added Himalayan sea salt wherever I could to try and balance the sweetness. Because the chocolate and caramel sauce are inherently sweet on their own, just curious if you have any thoughts or suggestions of cutting out the sweetness in the oat/flour crumble mixture to balance it out?
They are just a very sweet and decadent treat and that’s the only way I know carmelitas :) Thanks for trying the recipe.
Hi, I live in the uk, and we don’t really have baking caramels available. Can I use ready made caramel sauce instead? And if so, how much will I need, and will that also be instead of the cream? Many thanks ?
I have a version of this post that I made with jarred caramel sauce and you can follow the directions here https://www.averiecooks.com/2015/11/salted-caramel-candied-pecan-carmelitas.html and you’d skip the cream then.
Just made it for a family dinner party tonight and everyone loved it!
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out great for you!
Can i use dulce de leche insted of the caramels? Do i still need the heavy cream if so?
I haven’t tried with dulce de leche so can’t speak to the results.
I made these for Christmas day. I didn’t have large caramel squares and didn’t have a lot of extras, so I literally added two. They weren’t goopy like your pictures, but they were sooo delicious. I got a bunch of compliments. Will definitely make them again.
Thanks for trying the recipe and glad it came out well for you even without using as much caramel as I did!
OMG these are incredible. Honestly one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. Thanks for this great recipe :)
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! And one of the best desserts you’ve ever made!
I tried the recipe today and loved it. I was just curious if there is something I can do to make the oatmeal portion a little less crumbly? I want to make them for a party this weekend, but they were sort of falling a part and a little messy. Thanks!
You could use slightly less oats overall – can’t say by how much because I haven’t tried it that way, but just use your judgment. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This might be the best thing I’ve EVER seen on the internet. Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart, I can’t wait to try these, they are completely new to me.
Thanks for replying! I made them yesterday and they were really good. My kids took some to school this morning :)
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad the kids are able to enjoy them too!
I just saw the recepe on pinterest and can’t wait to try it. Since I’m from Argentina I will try replacing the caramels and cream for dulce de leche (milk candy spread). It’s delicious and you can make it just boiling a closed can of condensed milk in water. The longer you boil it, the thicker it will turn out.
Dulce de leche would be great in these if you can’t find caramel sauce. Or you can make your own caramel sauce https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/06/the-best-and-easiest-homemade-salted-caramel-sauce.html and use that. Many people have used that recipe in the Carmelitas with great success. Enjoy!
I’ve had this recipe pinned for a while now, but just made them last week. They were wonderful! I will definitely be making them again. Everyone loved them. Thank you for posting!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! Glad the recipe is a keeper!
Great recipe but I found it a little too sweet for me. The one in the oven I’ve add 1 cup of unsweetened coconut to the crust. Looking forward to trying it with afternoon coffee.
Thanks for trying the recipe and yes, it’s a very sweet dessert with all that caramel and chocolate! Definitely a decadent dessert!
Hi, I’m just wondering if you can think of a way to make these caramel chocolate bars less messy. Like maybe use less heavy cream or even omit it? I saw that someone else recommended using a bit of flour in the caramel mixture. Do you have any experience with that method? They look delicious, but I want to take them to a party, so I want people to be able to grab one and mingle without getting caramel all over themselves and my friend’s floor.
They’re not THAT messy that people will drip caramel on the floor but they are a sticky, gooey, messier dessert than say a cookie. They will be a hit, even if slightly messy, make them as written and enjoy!
Can I double the recipe andd what size pan should I use
Probably in a 9×13 although I haven’t personally tried it.
I’ve doubled it very successfully in a 9″ x 13″ pan. The original recipe helps keep my husband and me from overdoing it, but the double recipe is great to share.
Glad you love this recipe and that you double it and share with friends!
How would you change this recipe to accommodate an 8.5×11 pan?
I wouldn’t make any major changes but would possibly reduce baking time a bit, because the bars will be thinner in a slightly bigger pan.
How many oz does the caramel sauce make? I’ve got some homemade sauce on hand I was wondering if I could substitute in.
I have made the recipe using jarred caramel sauce and you’ll want to use about 8 ounces, give or take. Until it looks ‘flooded’ with caramel on top of the oat mixture crust.
These carmelitas are absolutely the best bar cookie I have ever eaten. I even made them and entered them in our county fair and won 1st place. I did cut down the milk for the caramels to 1/3 cup because I didn’t want the caramel quite so runny. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! So great that you won first place with it!
I have made these multiple times and they are delicious! I am making them soon for a family gathering and they need to be gluten free. Has anyone ever tried using coconut flour instead of regular flour?
Eeek don’t use coconut flour in place of reg flour b/c it’s like a SPONGE and will suck the moisture out and not advisable to ever use straight coconut flour. Pick up something like a King Arthur’s Gluten Free flour blend and try that. I haven’t personally tried it here but that flour is dependable.
Just tried these out for work after spotting the post a couple of weeks back – yet to try one myself but they smell amazing and everyone in work was very impressed! Thanks for a great recipe, definitely going to be a regular one I make.
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you and that everyone at your work was impressed!
@Stephanie Greene – how much of TJ’s caramel sauce did you use?
This recipe was originally published in the early 1970’s Pillsbury cook-off books under the name of “Oatmeal Carmelitas”. I have been making them since the recipe first appeared!
I made these last night with the Trader Joe’s caramel sauce and they turned out fabulous! I only used one jar, but that was plenty. Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you with one jar of TJ’s caramel sauce!
I brought this for my class presentation and they were all emptied out. “Best brownie ever” many people said. Thank you, this was absolutely delicious.
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you! “Best brownie ever” is a wonderful compliment and thanks!
This just came out the oven five minutes ago. I am excited to taste them.
This recipe looked SO delish I had to try it out! It is cooking right now in the oven. The one thing I had real trouble with was putting the oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top of the caramel and chocolate. I felt like I didn’t have enough mixture to fully cover it all plus it was difficult to spread because of the caramel. How were you able to evenly spread the mixture? I used a spatula.
If you felt like you didn’t have quite enough mixture then you probably just went a bit too heavy handed using it for the base (save more next time for the topping) and you don’t really spread it, you just ‘Evenly crumble reserved oatmeal-brown sugar mixture over the top’ per step 11 in directions. But sounds like things tasted just fine and they were a success!
Why old fashioned oats and not quick?
Quick behave more like flour and wouldn’t work well here.
I’m trying your recipe for the first time. I’ve seen many recipes for the Carmelita’s but I liked yours the best because you set up great visuals and I liked how you tweaked the recipe. I tweak all the time. I’m up late with a dog so it was the right time to bake this. No one is awake to be tempted! I used Kraft caramels because we don’t have Worthers. I quartered them before adding to the cream and nuking them. I threw all of it together and then nuked for took two minutes stirring after each minute to melt. Then I added a big pinch of kosher salt. In the future I’m going to experiment with Himalayan salt and grey salt. Love the idea of using chunks and chips. I like dark chocolate so I’m going to do a mix. I don’t even eat sweets but I do taste and so far I know my kids (4) will go crazy! Oldest graduated from college, second degree, two others in college and one almost out of high school….it’s all about making meals that will make sure they always come home to visit. I’ve got the savory side down. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the 1 Tbl of vanilla. I’ve never seen that much used. Last year one cookie recipe called for 3 tsps. I used half. I did the whole Tbl. Well find out tomorrow! Thank-you!!!!
3 tsp = 1 tbsp
So 1 1/2 tsp = 1/2 tbsp
Thanks for trying the recipe and hope it comes out great for you!
I’ve made this twice so far… and I stress so far, because this has quickly become an all time fave. and I know I’ll look forward to making it many times in the future (in fact my 3rd time is definitely coming up this week). These treats were sooooo addictive. Thank you for the recipe!
Thanks for trying the recipe twice (so far) and I’m glad you love it so much! That’s wonderful to hear!
Made them with the Trader Joe’s Fluer de Sel Caramel Sauce. Perfect amount of salt with the sweet. Great suggestion. I wouldn’t have thought to buy it, but in a hurry to get them baked and ready to set and no time for messing with the caramels. May never go back to the regular caramels and heavy cream option!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you with the TJs caramel sauce. I love that stuff and just used it tonight in a recipe that I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks!
I can’t wait to try doing this recipe. this looks super yummy! :)))
These look delicious! MOUTH DROOLING!
totally gonna try them!
Mind checking out my blog? I’m new, so all advice and tips are accepted!
I just have to tell you, I think this is my favorite dessert recipe of all times! I have made this recipe probably 5 times and it turns out delicious every time!!! (5 times is a lot for me, usually I don’t make a recipe more than once) I have even made a half batch and put it in the bottom of a loaf pan (it was a goopy mess, but SOOO good) to make a mini-batch just for me :) thanks for creating such a yummy treat!!!
Thanks for trying the recipe so many times! Like you, I rarely make something more than once so I can completely relate to what you said! I’m glad to hear it’s possibly your fave dessert of ALL TIME! Wow, that’s a high compliment and thanks!
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!
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
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!
I’m sure you can but I don’t know what changes you’d have to make. Please read over the Baking and Recipe FAQs https://www.averiecooks.com/faq for answers to the most common questions.
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
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…
Bless you!! I love that you are making a TRIPLE batch and sharing with everyone. Now THAT’S a way to brighten up morale around the office :)
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.
This is such a popular question that I answered it here in #32 https://www.averiecooks.com/faq
Welcome to my blog!
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!
Wow, exactly 1 year ago – I didn’t even notice :) So glad you loved these and that they were a huge hit with the family! Happy New Year to you and your family, Lee!
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?
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!
i just made these, and my house smells great and can’t wait to eat them!!!
That smell is wonderful isn’t it! Enjoy!!
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??
I’ve only done them as 8×8’s but if you read the comments there’s lots of people who have made as 9×13. Enjoy!
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!
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!
Is there a way to make this if you do not have an 8×8 pan? I have 13×9.
You could probably double all ingredients and bake in a 9×13; I haven’t personally done it but readers have and I believe some have commented about doing so with success.
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!
Have you ever tried white chocolate chips instead of reg chocolate?
No I have not and I think that in order to balance the sweetness, white choc would just add more sweetness whereas dark cuts through it a bit; I’d stick with regular.
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!
Could you use sugar free Carmel ice cream topping? I’m diabetic and can not use the carmels
Probably will be fine as long as it’s on the thicker side. If it’s really thin and runny, you may have a lot of oozing/leakage out the sides but give it a try! I’m sure it will be fine.
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!)
These look delicious. Can you substitute quick oats or minute oats instead of whole oats? I know you said not to but I was wondering why you couldn’t.
Because they behave more like flour. Don’t do it. They bars will be dry and/or the recipe won’t work properly.
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
Yes for sure, just make a normal caramel sauce like my homemade version or your favorite (or use a storebought THICK sauce to save time). Enjoy!
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 : )
Sometimes just a minute or two in the oven can really make a difference and glad you found that perfect ‘sweet spot’ and they’re amazing!
All of your photos are so gorgeous!
If I have 11.5 ou of caramel sauce do I combine that with the heavy cream? Thanks!!
No, that would just thin it out and make it runnier. Use as is.
These look amazing!! Where did you get your bowls? I have seen them before and love them!
I’ve had them for 8-10 years and have written 2 cookbooks and 1500+ blog posts with them. They’re indestructible!
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!
looks really yummy. Can I use home made caramel sauce? What is the calorie count on these?
1 bazillion calories or maybe 2 bazillion, not sure :)
And homemade caramel sauce would depend on the consistency. People have successfully used this recipe I know https://www.averiecooks.com/2014/06/the-best-and-easiest-homemade-salted-caramel-sauce.html
These look amazing! I can’t wait to try them! I’m thinking of subbing Carmel sauce for the wrapped carmels. Would I omit the heavy cream?
Best. Bars. Ever.
That said, I had better luck using baking paper than foil which can get stuck in the nooks and crannies. I cut a square out of each corner so the sides can be folded up with a nice sharp crease. when you are done, you can actually lift the whole pan out by the paper which is very handy. Oh, and I used your salted caramel recipe for the caramel and it was lovely….Thanks!
Glad you loved the bars and they’re the best ever! I’m the opposite of you with parchment/foil. I use Reynold’s Heavy Duty (it’s definitely thicker and stronger than avg foil) and never have an issue but glad parchment works great for you!
So glad you tried my homemade caramel sauce and used it here. Wow, awesome!
I just made these using Trader Joe’s salted caramel sauce. They are cooling on my counter as we speak. :)
Oh I know you’re going to be in for a treat! Thanks for trying them and TJ’s caramel is great stuff – cannot go wrong with it!
Hey! I love your idea and plan on trying it tomorrow but my question is that can you substitute the brown sugar with something else? Can I use white sugar instead?
Thank you and I would very much appreciate it if I get a fast reply because I need it ASAP.
There really aren’t any subs in order to create the caramely results you need and that these bars are known for.
Thank you for posting these Carmelitas! I have been eating them for about 15 years from our local coffee shop Whistle Stop and when they sold the new owner wouldn’t make these (nor share the recipe, imagine that). I made them and they are perfect!!
So glad you can make these yourself now (and not be dependent on someone who doesn’t want to share their recipe!) Glad you loved them and they’re perfect!
Hi!!! I just stumbled upon your site and this amazing sounding recipe! Quick question: I want to try and make these; however, soft caramels are impossible to find where I live! But, I did find an amazing – though somewhat pricey – salted caramel sauce and was wondering about how much of it I need to use? So basically, what I am asking is: when you’ve made your own caramel sauce approximately how much “sauce” did your 30 caramels and cream yield?
Thanks so much! Super excited to try these!
I would say about 1 cup, although I didn’t measure it out that way, but I’d guess about 1 cup, give or take. You can see from one of the process shots just how flooded the pan is; I would try to replicate that more or less. Enjoy!
Omg I am in love with you . Have you ever tried and used homemade caramel from sweetened cond. milk. Take several cans sweetened cond. milk tear off label. I have and will not use the type with pull off lids . Boil the cans in water covering cans. Add water as needed. I boil about 3-4hours. Then DO NOT OPEN TILL COOL!!!!!!!!!!! Once you have cooked the milk like,this omg the cans hold a wonderful surprise!!!!!caramel from heaven!!!!!!!!
Yes, very familiar with it and even have a recipe I talked about that in recently! https://www.averiecooks.com/2013/12/dulce-de-leche-coconut-chocolate-chip-bars.html
Update: I brought these into work today. One word (per my coworker): DIVINE. They were simply amazing.
I’ve never gotten a more positive response from baked goods I’ve brought into work. Ever. And that says a lot considering my homemade salted caramel brownies have been a HUGE hit in the newsroom where I work.
Thanks so much for the delicious (and easy) recipe! I will definitely start to check out this blog more :-)
I’ve never gotten a more positive response from baked goods I’ve brought into work. Ever. <--- THAT is awesome and sounds like you know how to bake and your own caramel brownies sound delish! Keep me posted what else you make from my site!
Just made these tonight and they look and smell amazing. I am bringing them into work tomorrow for a carry-in and I expect this recipe to get rave reviews!
I used dark chocolate chips instead of the semi-sweet since that’s what I happened to have on hand. I also added about 1/4 of a teaspoon of sea salt to the caramel sauce (and also added the pinch of salt to the sugar-butter mixture).
Aside from that, I followed the recipe to a T. I can’t wait to check back in and tell you how amazing we all thought they were!
Your dark choc chips, and pinches of salt, sound perfect! You have very lucky coworkers! LMK how it goes over! :)
Avery, these look delicious! I was wanting to make these this week. Do you think they can be shaped with cookie cutters or are they too gooey?
Wayyyy too gooey. Don’t even think about it :)
Something like this https://www.averiecooks.com/2013/03/peanut-butter-chocolate-chunk-cookie-bars.html you could cut out.
Love the looks of these bar cookies.I will be making them soon.
If you are interested in a little less messy Carmelitas bar, go visit Oatmeal Carmelitas, a 1967 winner of the Pillsbury Bake-Off by Erlyce Larson Kennedy. You will find it at http://www.pillsburybaking.com/recipes/details/2296. It was on the flour bag for quite a while.
Jo in MN
I much prefer the ooey-gooey loaded with caramel version but to each her own!
These look amazing!!
These are delicious! I substituted white flour for 1/2 wheat flour and 1/2 white flour, used dark choco chips (that’s what I had on hand) & added brewers yeast (2tbsp) and flaxseed (1/2 cup) to make them lactation Carmelita’s! I nurse so this is better than the usual lactation cookie :) thank you
Great to hear your loved them and your tweaks worked out well for you!
I can’t wait to try these, but a friend was just diagnosed with celiacs (sp?). Can the flour be rice flour? Thanks!
I would use an all-purpose baking blend such as Bob’s. Use a blend, not just one flour (i.e. rice). Blends tend to produce better results in recipes like this.
Carmelitas are my signature baked good that I always make and get asked to make! Just fyi- after making these so many times I prefer the jarred caramel that is by the icecream- I usually get the Smuckers brand- it just makes them easier to make (no unwrapping) and also I think they are easier to cut- I also let mine sit overnight and then I flip them upside down and cut them that way. Seriously my fave!
Do you use just one jar of caramel sauce?
It would depend on the size of the jar based on how much you’d need. Being that I make these with melted caramels and cream, I don’t know exactly in ounces what you’re looking at but I would say at least 10 to 12, but that’s just a guess.
Happy New Year, Averie! Girl, these carmelitas look heavenly. That oozing middle layer of caramel is calling my name!
I made these tonight for a party my mother is going to tomorrow, and they’re cooling on my dining room table presently. Rather than the dark chocolate in the middle, I thought they were crying out for milk chocolate and sweetened shredded coconut – a la Girl Scout cookies Samoas. I’m sure however the caramel is accompanied, they’ll be as enjoyed as anything else I’ve made from your blog. :)
I also want to say publicly (and I’ll probably leave you a facebook wall post imminently to this effect, because public praise is nice) I’ve been following you for about a year and learned so much about the science of baking. It’s nice to get an education from food blogs, not just recipes! Thank you!
What a wonderful comment (and I posted to the FB wall before I saw this comment come in, so here it is again)! First, thanks for saying that you feel I educate you about baking, not just provide recipes. That’s so nice to hear. Everything I know I am self-taught and try to pass along the gems and what I think works!
Next – Samoas style bars. OMG that sounds SO GOOD! They will surely be the talk of the party! And you are so smart to just let them cool overnight. They’re going to be PERFECT tomorrow. Please lmk what people think!
Dude, say no more. Screw the new year’s diet. That dripping caramel has me totally sold!
Carmelitas are one of my favorite bar cookies. I’ll have to try your version. They look fantastic.
These look so gooey and delicious! I always get a carmelita bar when I go to Whole Foods. I should make my own, but I’m a little afraid I’ll eat the whole pan!
I just want to say YUM! I found your blog via pinterest and I don’t want to leave lol. Thank you for all the yummy treat ideas…wow! And thank you for all the pictures, so many blogs have one picture or none…keep em’ coming! (btw – you have a new subscriber ;) )
That’s great to hear and thanks for finding me and the compliments!
Gooey, chewy… they look incredible! I lurrrrve carmelitas!
I love these photos! That drippy caramel is killing me! I need one :). Great job Averie!
I have always been a total sucker for caramel and these bars are no exception. I love that they are just oozing with caramel! I can just picture my boys with caramel dripping off their chins and licking their fingers :) Amazing Averie! Happy New Year!
That chocolate and caramel combination gets me every time, they really are a perfect compliment to each other.
These look so melty and delicious! I think I’d top mine with some flaky sea salt ;)
Oh my heavens, I am going to have to hold off on my healthier eating for the New Year because I have to make these NOW!! This is my type of treat! Happy New Year!!
Holy cow Averie! That looks so incredible!!
Yes, yes!! I totally get/appreciate the squishy-centered bubble gum reference! :D
My friend makes a similar version of these and she calls them “naughty bars” because of all the butter, chocolate, and caramel – we call them wonderful! A decadent but delightful treat!
Carmelitas are one of my favorites, and yours look completely outrageous!! I want one!
Gorgeous photos. They look heavenly! I don’t have caramels or cream (and no reasonable substitutes), but if I did I would definitely make these.
Averie, I have just awarded you the One Lovely Blog Award! You totally don’t have to accept it (I know you’re a very busy woman!), but here’s the link if you’re interested: http://wp.me/pXxCI-fU
Wow Averie, these look incredibly delicious!! Happy New Year, and best of luck in 2014!!
Thanks Kristi & I just saw your pics of Kings Canyon National Parks. SO beautiful! That sky is just SO BLUE!
Carmelitas have been on my “to do” list for YEARS now! And yet I’ve still never even eaten one! They look so amazing. And I love anything with an oat crumble. They need to move to the top of the list very quickly!
Happy New Year Averie!
If you’ve had your eye on them, then you HAVE to do it. Make them. You are going to be in heaven!
These look incredible, Averie! What a knockout dessert!
Holy cow!!! You had me at rich, creamy, buttery caramel. I need one of these babies right now! Hope you have a great New Year! :)
I am in love with these bars!!
I’ve made carmelitas before and they are one of the best bars! Yours look amazing with the dripping caramel! Pinned!
Glad you’ve tried them, Anna! They are so so good, right! Thanks for the pin!
i love caramel. these look great!
These would be much better than a cake for a birthday! Great photographs!
I agree, and thank you!
Holy cow these look amazing!! Definitely on my list to make next =)
These look too incredible to be real life!! You are so amazing!
Thanks, Ashton! I appreciate it! :)
I want these in my body so, so bad!! YUM!
Holy heck, these look amazing Averie! :)
I am dying over all that gooey caramel! These are so incredible looking! Bring out the fat pants because I need these in my life! Pinned!
Thanks for pinning and I know you love some gooey layered bars and these are so worth the fat pants – promise! :)
I make mine with jarred dulce de leche (thicker than regular jarred caramel sauce) – sooo good! Here’s my recipe: http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/dessert/oatmeal-dulce-de-leche-bars :) Happy New Year!
Girl I love dulce de leche! I just made these https://www.averiecooks.com/2013/12/dulce-de-leche-coconut-chocolate-chip-bars.html
Your bars look great! Love that you’ve made them!
You NAILED these carmelitas! I mean, they could look any better. Gooey, chocolatey and soft!!
I made carmelitas last year, but my photos are terrible and I will be the first one to admit yours look 100x better. The gooey factor is insane! Wishing I was munching on one of these now. Pinned of course!!
And happy new year!
I didn’t even know you made them! Photos or not, you know how good they TASTE and that’s what matters. Thanks for the compliments and the pin! Happy new year to you, too :)
I had one of these from a bakery in Napa and have been wanting to make them ever since. Thanks for sharing this amazing looking version!
Oh now I want to go to the bakery in Napa! I love it up there. I used to go all the time before I had my daughter. So beautiful up there!
These look so good with all of the dripping caramel!
I gave yet another fellow baker a recommendation for you today–and this recipe is an example of why I tell others about you! (Although, truthfully, I kinda want to hog you to myself so I can wow people with fabulous recipes and look like a baking genius … ).
Awww, you’re too sweet, thanks Kris! I hope your baking friend enjoys the recipes and my site and thanks for making so many of the things I post!
And here I sit, fresh from working out at the gym, getting ready to nosh on my peanut-chicken salad, HOPING just one of these bars will pop out and treat me to dessert! LOL
These are gooey heaven Av.
Happy New Year to you doll.
2014 is going to ROCK!
I read your best of post in stealth. And I want every single thing. That blackberry coulis cake, the recipe that you use as your header photo, the crumb cakes, girl it was a great year for you!
Oh my goodness, Averie!! These look amazing with all that drippy caramel. I’ve had my eye on caremelitas for a while now and these look the best by far! I need to make these pretty much immediately. Pinned! Happy New Year!!
Thanks for pinning and for saying these are the best you’ve seen! That is so nice of you to say! And happy new year right back :)
Carmelitas are a favourite of mine, I think they are best when slightly warm & gooey (I will even heat in microwave for around 8seconds if carmelitas are cold). I use a pre-done caramel sauce (store brought) as I do not have the same caramels available here in Australia, so this works great. I will be sure to try this receipe Averie. Happy New Year!
That drippy caramel is calling my name. Can you hear it?
I never thought to put caramel in gooey bars until Christmas, when I made SF ones for my dad with SF caramel. SO genius!!! With oatmeal? And chocolate? I’m all in!
The only words that are coming to me right now are not appropriate for this family-friendly blog. DANG, Averie!!
Not saying this lightly, one of the best bars Ive ever made. Katie omg. I know there’s 10 reasons you can’t eat these from gluten to butter/dairy but if you could and you want to cheat, this should go on a holiday to-make list for you Xmas Day splurge :)
Oh my god Averie your stuff gets my mouth watering like nothing else! These bars look so sinfully delicious!
Happy New Year :)
These look like ooey goey carmel goodness! Thanks for sharing!
I have always wanted to try caramelitas—there’s just so much goodness going on in only one bar….Chocolate, caramel, and oats are my top 3 favorite ingredients to bake with. Definitely the push I needed to try making them. :D Pinned it!
They’re crazy good and if you already had your eye on them, make them asap! You’ll love them! Thanks for pinning!
These bars look incredible, with all of my favorite things! Love!
I’ve lived 62 years without making Carmelitas, and I’ve seen many recipes for them. And now you have to publish these mouth-watering pix. I’m doomed. They’re at the top of my list of “must-makes” next time I need something delicious to take to work. No way can I have a whole pan of these in my home. Thank you (I think). HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Well it’s a small pan – just an 8×8 which is a good thing! But yes, try them because they’re amazing! If you do, LMK what you think!
There are no words, Averie. There. Are. No. Words. Okay, maybe one–yum!
I have actually never made these at home, but they’re hands down one of my favorite treats. Need to give your recipe a go!
Happy 2014, Averie! xo
Love your new avatar, happy new year, and yes here’s an easy DIY recipe! Hope you try them! :)
Oh lordy!! I’ve been dying to make these gooey, drippy, caramel-filled bars for awhile Averie and I’m SO glad you did. I can tell just by your descriptions how much you loved gobbling them up! So much caramel, brown sugar, butter — three of my have ingredients to bake with. They look amazing. The best I’ve seen! Nailed it. :)
Happy New Year friend!
Happy New Year, too, Sally! Ok so you know how many bars I make, these are hands down, some of the best of all time. They’re different than anything I’ve ever made b/c while they’re drippy, they do hold together, with this very slight oatmeal cookie chewiness that’s so subtle but heavenly and the squirty caramel, Sally, you would LOVE THEM! Thanks for saying they’re the best you’ve seen :)
These look incredible. All that caramel goodness! Nicely done. :)
Thank you, Maryea!
I made these a long time ago with homemade salted caramel sauce and no chocolate. I forgot about them until seeing your post. Great treat! Happy New Year, Averie!
Can you do white chocolate? I think you can – it would be sweet, or you could use carob chips which I think would work just fine here!
I can do some white chocolate – as long as it doesn’t have cocoa butter. I think carob would be great here. It’s very assertive so it would balance with the caramel well.
OMG these look amazing!! Caramel in my mouth! Gotta try these.
I had no plans for new years day until I stumbled across your blog…..now I shall be going out this afternoon to collect ingredients to make those blondes – so perfect, so yummy! I can’t believe I haven’t come across your beautiful blog sooner!
Welcome! I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years and glad you found me and want to try a recipe right away! LMK if you do and how it goes!
Wow. I can’t get over the decadence of these bars! But since they have oats in them, they are obviously a health food :-D
I love the way you think and so true :) Happy New Year, Colleen!
Wow I am literally running to the kitchen to make these, caramel is like my Kryptonite it is my undoing I can simply not refuse it. I was given a box of caramels for Christmas and they now will find their way to becoming these bars. I hope you have a happy New Year!
Oh what a great way to put your xmas caramels to use! I hope you love them. Just make sure to let them cool properly and you’re set! LMK what you think!
They were sooooooo good :D the hardest part was waiting for them to cool down so I could cut them properly. They had a really good ratio of chewiness and softness and a little crunch from the oaty topping making them perfect. Thanks for such a lovely recipe :D
Thanks for trying them, Emma, and yes I agree waiting for them to cool is the hardest part. I just baked before bed that way I knew I could just forget about them til morning :) What you said “really good ratio of chewiness and softness and a little crunch from the oaty topping” is exactly how I feel about them!
I LOVE carmelitas. One of my coworkers made this years ago for a party at work and she gave me the recipe but I misplaced it. Looks like I know where to go if I need to make some carmelitas for another work party! Beautiful photos!! Pinned :)
Thanks for pinning and I’ve had other versions over the years but these are definitely my faves! Happy New Year, Julie!
I had a patient bring these in many years ago and I know she gave me the recipe but it has disappeared (now I can ziplist this one)! These are truly fantastic-lots of favorite flavors and textures in every bite! One thing I remember about that recipe was that it called for a jar of caramel sauce with a TBS of flour stirred in so it set up and wasn’t too runny. So glad you did your own version of these!
And I do think jarred caramel sauce would work (a thick one like TJs) if you didn’t have caramels to melt. Paula these are amazing bars. They’re different than anything I’ve ever made b/c while they’re drippy, they do hold together, with this very slight oatmeal cookie chewiness that’s so subtle but heavenly and the squirty caramel. I think you’d love them!
These look amazing. I remember eating something called fudge jumbles (or something like that) in middle school. They had an oatmeal type cookie base and then you also plopped that dough on top. These remind me of those cookies with the addition of the caramel. Yum!
I love the name ‘fudge jumbles’ and that’s cool how certain recipes can remind us of another recipe we used to eat years ago or as kids!
This is why I open your website almost immediately when I sit down on my work computer every morning. Great recipe Averie, and as always such inspiring photos!
You’re so sweet, Farah! Thank you!