My grandma gave me this recipe several years ago. It was printed on half a sheet of white paper with no other references available. I have no idea where she got the recipe (and she doesn’t remember either.) I had never heard of caramelitas before, but the ingredients looked good enough to try. These oatmeal caramelitas are so yummy! It screams fall dessert to me! Maybe its the “comfort” of the oatmeal cookie crumble or the resemblance to a cobbler or pie with its layers. This yummy treat is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
I’ve made these several times and while it’s a fairly simple recipe, I have learned a few tricks to make baking these treats even easier. I have also made other caramelita recipes from online and I will tell you this is the best recipe!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups quick oats (really need quick oats for this recipe!)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup butter (really soft, but not melted)
5 Tbsp light cream or evaporated milk
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional: we leave them out because we’re not fans around here)
* This is almost 1 full bag of the Kraft caramels you would buy for caramel apples. You can also substitute 1 cup of caramel sauce (like the kind you use to top ice cream) and add in 3 Tbsp of flour. But the first option really does taste better.
Melt caramels in milk, stirring constantly. Let cool while preparing other ingredients.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease 9×13 pan.
In large prep bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Stir together.
This next part will be SO much easier in a stand mixer such as a kitchen aid with a paddle. If you do not have a stand mixer and a paddle attachment you will have to stir this part by hand (don’t even attempt a hand held mixer…the cookie crumble is too thick!) If you attempt to mix the butter and dry ingredients together by hand make sure your butter is very soft, but not melted.
In mixer bowl cream butter to soft creamy consistency. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
Now this part can be a little tricky. The recipe says to take half your cookie crumble and press into a 9×13 pan. Make sure you grease your pan or the cookie will stick (or use parchment paper.) I actually find I use a bit more than half on the bottom…maybe just shy of 2/3 of the cookie mix. The mix will be very thin in your pan and you will have to really pressed it down and out to fit the entire bottom, but that’s okay! I’ve tried using smaller pans/different recipes that make more, etc. but if the cookie is too thick a) it will take FOREVER to set up and b) it will tastes too rich with the same amount of chocolate and caramel that tops it.**
**If you, by chance, decide to use a smaller pan because you want thicker cookie bars, reduce the amount of chocolate chips, nuts and caramel you top it with. You just want a thin layer of each.
Cook the pressed cookie crumble for 10 minutes. Remove pan and sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips, pecans (optional) and drizzle your caramel sauce on top. Then crumble the remaining cookie mixture on top. Bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top looks slightly brown/dry looking. Chill pan 1-2 hours before cutting bars. You can stick the pan in the fridge for quicker set up time. Once this dessert is fully cooled it will be the perfect cookie bar. Or you can attempt to dish is right up (it will be really soft, hot, and crumbly) and serve it will a scoop of vanilla ice cream.