Carmelitas are dessert bars that have a brown sugar buttery oat bottom, a melty chocolate and rich caramel center topped off with another layer of oat crumble!

a photo of two oatmeal carmetlita bars with gooey caramel and silky chocolate

I love switching up desserts. I get so sick of the same ‘ol stuff. Don’t get me wrong, chocolate chip cookies and brownies are great but when that’s all that you’re giving your little sweet tooth, that sweet tooth gets pretty restless. Lucky for us, our friends brought this carmelitas recipe over for a little game night a few weeks back and the hubby and I fell in love.

The top and bottom of these carmelitas are like an oatmeal crisp and then they have a gooey chocolate and caramel layer sandwiched right in the middle. It is honestly dessert perfection! Oh sweet deliciousness!

a photo taken above a single caramelitas bar with a golden crumble topping sitting on a small white dessert plate.

Ingredients Needed for Carmelitas

The good news just keeps on comin’! Most of the ingredients for carmelita bars are pantry ingredients that you’ll already have at home. Here is what you will need:

  • Flour: just regular all purpose work great
  • Old-Fashioned Oats: gives the bars a chewy texture, quick oats can be used if desired
  • Cinnamon: this is optional, but we love the added flavor it gives
  • Salt: balances the sweetness of the brown sugar and caramel
  • Baking Soda: gives a little rise to the oat layers
  • Brown Sugar: firmly packed, adds richness and sweetness
  • Butter: margarine can also be used, it acts as the glue to hold everything together
  • Caramel Squares: you’ll want 37 pieces of the individually wrapped caramels, no more, no less
  • Evaporated Milk: helps thin out the caramel squares
  • Heavy Cream: If you don’t have heavy cream, you can substitute with more evaporated milk.
  • Chocolate Chips: We prefer a combination of milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of the post.

How to Make Carmelitas

One of my favorite things about about this carmelitas recipe is that they are so quick and easy to make. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with parchment and preheating the oven.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the oat layers in a large bowl.
  3. Press half of the oat mixture into the pan and bake it.
  4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the bottom crust and then pour the caramel over everything.
  5. Add the rest of the oat layer over the top and finish baking.
  6. Let the bars cool completely before cutting.

The complete instructions for making this recipe can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Tips for Making the Best Carmelitas

No, you’re not missing it! There are no eggs in this recipe. Usually this is a major no, no for baked goods but for carmelitas, it just works!

If you want to try a little variation, try adding finely chopped pecans or almonds for extra crunch and flavor.

I am a sweet and salty lover, so sprinkling sea salt flakes on top is a really yummy variation.

Feel free to change up the chocolate chips. Doing all milk chocolate is a little too sweet for me, so I like adding some semi sweet in there to balance it out.

Allow the dessert bars to cool completely. If you cut them while they are hot, the caramel will be everywhere and it will be a big mess. They should sit at room temperature for several hours or up to overnight. Putting them in the refrigerator will cool the down more quickly.

Pour a tall glass of milk when you dig into these carmelitas. They are rich and fabulous!

a photo of three oatmeal carmetlita bars with gooey caramel and silky chocolate

Reasons You Will Love This Recipe

Gooey, melty, and a little bit of crispy in each bite, totally divine!

Super easy to make. Even taking into account the different layers it’s pretty much just as easy as could be which is perfect for when you want a little something sweet but you aren’t up for a huge kitchen project.

No mixer needed. All you need is a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.

These are always a huge crowd pleasers. I’ve never taken home leftovers when I’ve taken them to any kind of event.

a photo take above a carmelita bar with a golden crumble topping and melty caramel and chocolate oozing out.

How Long Will Carmelitas Keep?

Carmelitas will keep for up to a week at room temperature. Carmelitas should be stored in an airtight container.

They also freeze really well. Carmelitas can be frozen for several months. They should be wrapped well in plastic wrap and foil, or stored in a heavy duty freezer bag.

a photo of three oatmeal carmetlita bars with gooey caramel and silky chocolate

Every morsel of these carmelitas bars is love. From the crunchy buttery brown sugar bottom to the gooey combination of chocolate and caramel in the middle and finally that golden oat crumble topping. You’re all going to be huge fans!

More Dessert Bars You’ll Love:

Carmelitas

4.46 from 24 votes
Servings: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Description

Carmelitas are dessert bars that have a brown sugar buttery oat bottom, a melty chocolate and rich caramel center topped off with another layer of oat crumble!

Ingredients 

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 2 Cups Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 1/3 Cups Butter, melted, or margarine
  • 1.5 Bags Caramel Squares, 11 ounce bags
  • 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream, if you don't have heavy cream, you can substitute with more evaporated milk
  • 1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  • In a large bowl combine first 7 ingredients to make mix.
    2 Cups Flour, 2 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats, 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon Salt, 2 teaspoons Baking Soda, 2 Cups Brown Sugar, 1 1/3 Cups Butter
  • Melt caramels, evaporated milk and cream in a saucepan over low heat, stirring often until smooth.
    1.5 Bags Caramel Squares, 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk, 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • Sprinkle half of the oat mixture into 8×11 or 9×13 inch pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • Sprinkle chocolate chips over baked mixture and top with melted caramel mixture.
    1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips, 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Notes

You can place the carmelitas in an air tight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1barCalories: 381kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 253mgPotassium: 158mgFiber: 2gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 392IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 2mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 100 Best Brownies and Bars Recipes

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A stack of carmelitas with chocolate, caramel and an oat crumble