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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Carmelitas are a simple, rich bar cookie with tons of pecans, chocolate chips, and dollops of dulce de leche piled on a soft oatmeal crust then baked for a delicious treat!
No doubt about it … these bars are a mouth-full of nuts, caramel and chocolate and always a favorite on the dessert table. The oatmeal base is soft, without being crumbly or dry, so you can sink your teeth into the rich caramel. The dulce de leche remains soft but not sticky after being baked so the Oatmeal Carmelitas are not overly gooey.
Oatmeal Carmelitas have been around for a long time but didn’t always include chocolate chips in the layers.
I haven’t tried making them without chocolate but imagine they’d still be crazy delicious. These remind me a little of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Revel Bars which are a personal favorite of mine.
Be sure to cut them smaller than you would think as they are very rich.
The simple oat base keeps them from being over the top sweet so no worries. I used dulce de leche for the caramel layer because it’s super easy and ready to go when you open the can, and it tends to be a little less sweet than caramels or caramel sauce. If you want to make your own Homemade Dulce de Leche Caramel, check out this post by Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen – so easy and delicious!
Bittersweet chocolate chips would also be a great choice but I think milk chocolate chips would be too sweet. One thing I know for certain, these will disappear in a flash at your next tailgate party or event.
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Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Carmelitas
- 1 ⅔ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup Dulce de Leche
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut a length of parchment paper to fit a 8x8 inch baking dish allowing the paper to come up to the top of both sides of the pan. Cut another sheet to fit in the opposite direction also trimming at the top of the pan. Spray the parchment lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter, oats, both sugars, vanilla and an egg. Mix on medium low until combined and crumbly.
- In a small bowl combine the dulce de leche and the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour.
- Press half of the oat mixture in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle half the chocolate chips and half the nuts over the baked crust. Drizzle with half the caramel mixture then scatter the remaining oat mixture evenly over the top to cover. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips, nuts and dulce de leche mixture.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are set and the carmelitas are a light golden brown.
- Cool completely before cutting. (May be refrigerated to cool)
- Store cooled carmelitas in an airtight container at room temperature. Baked carmelitas may be frozen.
- Adapted and inspired by several recipes including Pillsbury and Food & Wine
Love a good cookie bar? You might like these recipes too:
Sweet Cherry Almond Bars ~ from The View from Great Island
Brown Butter Candied Pecan Blondies ~ from The Cafe Sucre Farine
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