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Oatmeal Carmelitas

My mom started making this recipe back in about 1980. Think about 1980... no internet, no food blogs, no recipe searches on Google....and I have no idea where she got the recipe! I wish she were here so I could ask her. I can say, though, that this recipe may be partially responsible for my 28+ year marriage to the love of my life because very often when he came to visit our home, my mom had made these Oatmeal Carmelitas. They taste like home to us.

When I searched online there are hundreds of them out there now. Every one is just a little different but I believe this one is the very best.

My mom's recipe calls for Brach's caramel candy. I have not found Brach's in a long time but depending on where you are in the country you may have better luck than I have. For this recipe I used Werther's Originals soft caramel candies but they are a lot smaller than Brach's so I ended up having to add Dulce de Leche caramel topping I had in the fridge. You can absolutely use jarred caramel but the result will not quite be the same. When the bars are cooled and cut you want the caramel to be thick like you would get from eating a Snicker's bar... if you use the ice cream topping caramel it will be thin and will not render the same result. Finding the soft caramel candies is worth the effort.

Here is how to make it:


For the Crumb Crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

For the Filling

  • 1 1/2 bags of chocolate chips. I used 1 bag bittersweet + 1/2 bag semi sweet

  • 20 Brach's soft caramel candies, or 2 bags Werther's Original soft caramels

  • 4 tbsp heavy cream (or milk or evaporated milk in a pinch)


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Spray the glass and parchment with non stick cooking spray.

In the bowl of a mixer, mix the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir just to combine. Add melted butter and continue mixing until it all comes together.

Reserve about half of the mixture and set aside. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to push the crumb into an even layer at the bottom of the pan. The crust should touch the sides of the pan. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes.

Remove from oven.

While the crumb is cooking, make the caramel.

Peel the caramel candies and place in a sauce pan. Add the milk or cream. Turn the stove on low and let the caramels melt, stirring very often. Careful not to walk away or the caramel will burn. Keep stirring until smooth.

Time to assemble!!

Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the cooked crumb. Then pour the caramel evenly over the chocolate chips making sure to cover the corners too.

Next sprinkle reserved crumb over the caramel and chocolate in an even layer. Pat the layer down with your hands.

Return to the oven and bake 25-30 min until the top is golden.

Let cool completely before removing from the glass dish and cutting. This is the hardest part of the recipe... as you can see in my photos I cut the bars too soon because the troops around here could not wait to dig in any longer!

Bon Appetit, Enjoy, Provecho!

PS... if you are in the NY Tri-State area you can order this dish from so you can enjoy it without all the work!

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