Caramelitas

Oatmeal Caramelitas are a decadent, gooey treat! They’re full of caramel, pecans, and chocolate chips tucked inside a buttery, oatmeal crumble.

oatmeal caramelitas on a white plate.

OH MY are these a delightful dessert! A friend introduced me to these a handful of years ago, and when I spotted them in a few 1980’s cookbooks, I knew they belonged here on the blog. (Update: a reader named Brenda said she made these in the 70’s, so they date back at least to then!)

Caramelitas start with a crumbly oatmeal mixture, which creates the top and the bottom of the cookie bars. We’ll add caramel, chocolate chips, and pecans to the middle. You may recognize this combination from the classic chocolate turtle candy (it’s a winner for sure!).

Many newer recipes use a food processor, but the original recipe did not. I combined the best parts of the older and newer recipes to create this one, with its buttery crumble and extra gooey caramel. A glass of milk on the side is a must!

Ingredients

caramels, chocolate chips, oatmeal, and more ingredients.

For the full list of ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card below.

  • If you can’t find Kraft caramels, Werthers also makes chewy caramels that work great (and, the individual caramels are easier to open than the Kraft brand!)
  • Be sure to use quick oats (also called 1-minute oats) for this recipe. Old fashioned oats are too thick.

How to make oatmeal Caramelitas

Step 1: Melt the caramels in a saucepan with the heavy cream. Set aside to cool slightly while you make the oatmeal crumble.

Step 2: Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, oats, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the melted butter until a crumble forms. Pat into a 13×9-inch dish lined with parchment paper.

Step 3: Pour the caramel over the crumble in the pan, followed by the chocolate chips and chopped pecans.

Step 4: Top with the remaining crumb mixture, and pat down gently.

Bake the bars for 20–22 minutes, or just until they are lightly golden brown on the edges.

Let cool completely, then refrigerate for one hour (this will make them easier to cut). Slice into squares and serve!

an oatmeal caramelita with chocolate chips and oats.

Storage and freezing

You can store these bars in the refrigerator or at room temperature. The caramel is a little more gooey at room temperature (in a good way).

The bars can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.

More bar cookies to love

There’s nothing like a classic bar cookie! Here are a few others from vintage recipe books:

oatmeal caramelitas stacked on a white plate.

📖 Recipe

three oatmeal caramelitas stacked on a white plate.

Caramelitas

Published by Kate
Caramel, chocolate, and pecans tucked into a buttery oatmeal crumble—these 1980's treats are a delight!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 servings
Calories 289 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 (11 oz) bag individually wrapped caramels (such as Kraft or Werther’s)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • cups flour
  • cups quick oats
  • cups brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • cups chocolate chips
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • Place the caramels and heavy cream in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the caramels are melted. Let cool slightly.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13×9-inch pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the melted butter, and stir to combine.
  • Remove 2 cups of the crumb mixture from the bowl and set aside. Pour the remaining crumb mixture into the prepared pan. Pat down with a medium firmness to form the crust.
  • Pour the caramel mixture over the top, then top with the chocolate chips and pecans.
  • Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture over the top, patting it down gently.
  • Bake for 20–22 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges.
  • Let cool, then refrigerate for 1 hour to get nice, clean slices.

Notes

Make sure the oats are quick oats (also called 1-minute oats). The old fashioned variety of oats are too thick.
I’ve made this recipe with both Kraft and Werther’s caramels. Both work well. Werther’s are easier to unwrap! 
Store the bars either at room temperature or in the refrigerator. I like them at room temperature for a gooey-er caramel. 
You can freeze the bars for up to 3 months in an airtight container. 

Nutrition

Calories: 289kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 3gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 109mgPotassium: 120mgFiber: 1gSugar: 29gVitamin A: 257IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 1mg
Keyword caramelitas, oatmeal caramelitas
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a star rating and comment below!

4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I had never had these before but they were AMAZING! I loved the caramel flavor. I love Wurthers and they worked perfectly in this recipe. The taste of caramel was a big hit!

  2. 5 stars
    Love this Caramelitas recipe, I will make them soon, can’t wait to try them for the first time. Looks delicious!! thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Whipped up a batch of these for an afternoon treat, and they do not disappoint! Exactly what I needed to cure my sweet tooth; definitely, a new favorite dessert!

  4. 5 stars
    These caramelitas were such a treat! I will definitely be making them again.

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