Chewy, gooey Salted Caramel Oatmeal Carmelitas – pockets of gooey, salted caramel oozing out from in between chunks of chocolate and crunchy pecans, all nestled in a brown sugar, oatmeal cookie crust and topped with an oatmeal streusel topping – Caramel Euphoria!
Oatmeal Carmelitas won Best in Class in the 18th Pillsbury Bake-Off in 1967 by Erlyce Larson from Kennedy, Minnesota. I found the recipe in my very first cookbook, Pillsbury Kitchens’ Cookbook, first printed in 1979, given to me by my Aunt Sandy.
I doubled the amount of caramel sauce and chocolate. Instead of using a jarred caramel ice cream topping, I use my own Easy Caramel Sauce recipe which is the best I’ve tasted and easy to make. I also halved the recipe to make it in an 8-inch pan because I definitely don’t trust myself around too many of these bars!
Try these Oatmeal Carmelitas warmed and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The combination of tastes and textures and temperatures – pure nirvana!
Half of the oatmeal dough is pressed into the bottom of an 8-inch baking pan. This is easiest done by crumbling the dough and sprinkling pieces of dough around the pan, then pressing it with your hands. It’s then baked until golden.
Chocolate chips and pecans are sprinkled on top. Then comes the caramel! 15 ounces of caramel sauce is poured on top. I’ve used up to 18 ounces of caramel sauce if you like them extra caramel-y. Don’t go crazy though, too much caramel and you’ll end up with messy puddles of caramel. (That’s not really a horrible thing 🙂 )
Crumble up the other half of the oatmeal dough and sprinkle it on top of the caramel.
Bake until golden. Be careful when taking it out of the oven and make sure any small children aren’t nearby. It will be bubbling and jiggling like molten lava, but don’t worry, it will firm up as it cools. Set on the counter to cool until it reaches room temperature then put in the refrigerator until firm. Cut into squares and store in the refrigerator. They can be eaten directly from the refrigerator and they will be chewy, or you can let them come to room temperature for a softer, more gooey bar.
This batch was made with a little extra caramel, about 18 ounces. See how it just oozes out? YUM!
- 2/3 cup butter, melted (5.5oz, 156g)
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar (6.4oz, 181g)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 cup flour (5oz, 143g)
- 1 cup rolled oats (2.8oz, 80g)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (6oz, 170g)
- 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans (2oz, 58g)
- 15 oz (425g) caramel sauce (click for link to my Easy Caramel Sauce)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare an 8-inch baking pan by lining it with a large sheet of heavy duty aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick spray.
- Combine melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and the sugar has absorbed the butter.
- Add flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.
- Sprinkle half of mixture into prepared baking pan. Press flat with hands.
- Bake until set and golden on the edges, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven,
- Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans evenly over the base. Pour caramel sauce over evenly.
- Crumble reserved half of dough and sprinkle in small pieces over caramel sauce.
- Bake until golden brown around the edges, about 25-35 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature. Put in refrigerator until cold and firm. Slice into squares.
- Can be eaten directly out of refrigerator for a chewy bar. Or left to rest at room temperature until the caramel is softened.
- Store in refrigerator.
Use heavy duty aluminum foil to line the pan. Regular foil is too thin and may stick to the Oatmeal Carmelitas.
I’m offering a here a Caramel Sauce shortcut if you really don’t want to make your own sauce, but I highly recommend my Easy Caramel Sauce for its amazing flavor and the importance of the caramel sauce to the recipe. It’s a pure, simple caramel sauce made of sugar, cream and vanilla. It’s easy to make and doesn’t require a thermometer.
Caramel Sauce shortcut: Heat 11 oz (312g) of store bought caramels with 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the microwave until melted, about 90 seconds, stirring occasionally.