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.

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

MY OTHER RECIPES

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.

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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

295 comments on “Carmelitas”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. OMG these are incredible. Honestly one of the best desserts I’ve ever made. Thanks for this great recipe :) 

  4. 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.

  5. Can i use dulce de leche insted of the caramels? Do i still need the heavy cream if so?

  6. Just made it for a family dinner party tonight and everyone loved it!

  7. 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 ?

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. Wow these look amazing! I can’t wait to try making them. ?

  11. 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!

  12. Thank you for the great recipe.
    So delicious! Will definitely make again and won’t change a thing!

  13. 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.

  14. This is deff my favorite dessert of all time, its so decadent and rich! 

  15. I have followed your blog for years. I made your take on “Crack Pie” after trying it at Momofuko MilkBar in New York. I have just started a new blog and love to hear what you think. http://www.itskevinowen.com
    Thanks!

  16. 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.

  17. Wish your recipes had a print icon for those of us who like a hard copy

  18. Hi Averie–

    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!

  19. 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 :)

  20. 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!

  21. Doubled the recipe. Probably my favorite bar recipe ever! The whole family loved them — thanks for a delicious recipe!!

  22. 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!

  23. 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!!

  24. 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.  :)  

  25. 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.

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