Carmelitas are the perfect mix of chocolate and caramel & sweet and salty flavors. These delicious cookie bars are great for serving crowds!
These Carmelita Bars are one of my new favorite things- chocolate, caramel, nuts, salt, and a sweet oat crust! For more delicious snack and dessert bars, try our Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars or our Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake Bars.
Dessert bars are often some of the easiest and tastiest desserts you can make for a party or crowd. We’ve made more than a couple for this site- we linked to two up above- but I’m always eager to make more! That’s when I came across these delicious caramel dessert bars called Carmelitas.
Carmelitas are a smorgasbord of delicious snack bar flavors. You’ve got some caramel, some chocolate, some pecans tossed in- all between an oatmeal crust and topping with a touch of salt. A little bit of everything and it all works together really well! Sweet and salty, chocolate with nuts, brown sugar and oats- yum!
I’m really eager to make these up for a party in the near future. These are so easy to make and you can easily double the recipe and make in something like a 9×13 for a large batch of Carmelita Bars! In the meantime, though, I’m sure me and the kids can work through these. Hope you enjoy our recipe for these delicious homemade caramel cookie bars!
Ingredients for our Carmelita Recipe
Old Fashioned Oats – Don’t substitute quick oats or anything like that! Old fashioned oats have the perfect texture and “bite” for this recipe.
Caramel Bits – Or you could use wrapped caramels.
Milk Chocolate/Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Coarse or Flaky Salt
How to make Carmelitas
Mix up the crust and topping mixture and press half into the bottom of a parchment-lined baking pan.
While crust bakes until golden-brown, prepare a caramel with your heavy cream and caramel bits.
Assemble your carmelitas over the finished crust before baking an addition 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting and serving.
Seems like a lot but we’ll be done in no time! Start by combining your crust ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add melted butter and stir until fully combined.
This mixture is our crust and topping. Divide in half and set one half off to the side for later.
Take the other half and press it into the bottom of an 8×8 metal baking pan. Send this into an awaiting 350-degree oven and let bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
How to make caramel filling
Instead of making caramel from scratch with cream, sugar, and butter, we’re going to make a quick caramel-like filling. To make this, combine your caramel bits and heavy cream in a saucepan and heat until the caramel fully melts into the cream. The higher the heat you use, the more you’ll have to stir and babysit the mix so go at your own pace here. Keep an eye on it at all times though- this stuff can burn easy!
Assembling the Carmelita Bars
Assembly for the Carmelitas is as follows. First, start with our baked crust in the 8×8 pan from earlier.
Over that, sprinkle a layer of chocolate chips.
Sprinkle in some chopped pecans with the chips.
Now, we’re going to pour the caramel we made over the nuts and chocolate.
Finally, we top that caramel with our leftover crust mixture from earlier. Sprinkle it on like a streusel or crumble topping and hit it with that salt for a final salty and crunchy finish.
All that’s left at this point is to bake! Send the 8×8 back into the 350-degree oven and let it bake for another 18-20 minutes. Once that topping has become a delicious-looking golden-brown, you’re ready to pull your Carmelitas from the oven.
Resist the urge to cut into things right away- if you start cutting out Carmelita Bars at this point, they’re going to turn into a gooey mess. You want to let everything cool on the countertop in the metal pan for about 2 hours- this will keep the caramel soft enough to slice easy but not so soft it doesn’t hold it’s shape.
Once cooled, cut your bars into whatever shape or size you’d like. Eat these right away or, optionally, toss into a microwave for 10-15 seconds. This makes that caramel warm, gooey, and delicious again! Hope you enjoy!
How long can I store these for?
Crust and topping:
- 1 cup Brown Sugar lightly packed
- 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats don’t substitute
- 1 1/4 cup Flour
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 3/4 cup Butter melted
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 11 oz Caramel Bits (or about 35 wrapped caramels)
- 1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
- 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt or Coarse Salt
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Stir together brown sugar, oats, flour, baking soda, and melted butter until completely combined.
- Divide dough in half.
- Press half of the dough into the bottom of a parchment lined metal 8x8 pan.
- Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
- While crust in baking, make caramel. In a saucepan combine heavy cream and caramel and stir often until caramel is completely melted. Be careful- this can burn very easily so don’t leave this unattended. Set aside.
- Once crust is finished baking sprinkle on chocolate chips and pecans.
- Pour caramel over the top.
- Sprinkle on remaining dough.
- Top dough with sea salt.
- Bake in oven for an additional 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let the carmelitas cool for 2 hours or until it is easy to cut. I don’t recommend refrigerating them to speed up the cooling process because it will make the caramel too cold and more difficult to cut.