Carmelitas {Mystery Dish Challenge}

Trust me when I say these are the most delicious cookie bars ever. Carmelitas are a heavenly combination of gooey caramel and half-melted chocolate chips sandwiched in between oatmeal cookie crumbs. It's practically impossible to eat these by hand. You'll need the help of a fork and napkin, and a very strong will to control yourself from eating everything in sight.

This month, I am guest posting for the Mystery Dish Challenge. Basically, it's a monthly challenge hosted by Dani Carroll from See Hubby Cook in which 12 bloggers create a dish of their fancy, choosing a couple ingredients out of a list of 8 - 10. For these carmelitas, I chose chocolate and cream.

Admittedly, Carmelitas are rich and gooey, so I wouldn't recommend making every day...But it's nice to treat yourself to some once in a while, especially during these polar vortex days. Northwestern doesn't believe in canceling school, even if it drops 20 degrees below zero and the high is zero. Frostbite shuttles are my new best friend.

Here's how you make the Carmelitas.

First, melt the butter. Add vanilla to it. Then add brown sugar.

Then add flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.

Hand mix it all together nice and good until it's a crumbly mixture. It may be appear moist at first because of the melted butter, but after letting it sit, it'll take on a more crumbly texture.

Press half of the oatmeal cookie mixture onto the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan (I used a 9 inch circular cake pan, and it worked perfectly well.). While this bakes for 10 minutes, melt the caramel and heavy cream mixture. Alternatively, you may make homemade caramel sauce. I went the shortcut way because it's faster.

Here's the caramel sauce, all melted and ready.

And just in time! The bottom layer of the Carmelitas is ready. See the nice and golden edges?

Get those chocolate chips ready. I used a combination of milk chocolate and semi-sweet.

Add the caramel sauce and sprinkle the remaining oatmeal cookie crumbs on top. Beautiful.

And here's the finished product. The hard part is waiting for it cool enough to slice.

Serve and enjoy at room temperature, with a tall glass of cold milk!



1 year ago: Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
6 months ago: Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake
This year: Upside Down Banana Cake

Rich, chewy, chocolatey, caramely goodness.
Adapted from Lulu the Baker
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 45 minutes

*For Caramel Sauce:
32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream

*Note: Alternatively, you may use 1 ¼ cup homemade or store-bought caramel sauce.

For the Oatmeal Cookie Layer:
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

For the Oatmeal Cookie Layer:
Melt the butter, and then add vanilla to it. Then add brown sugar, flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Mix by hand until combined. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan. 9 inch circular pan works too. (If using a 9 x 13 inch pan, simply double the recipe and adjust the baking time.)

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

For Caramel Sauce:
Meanwhile, use microwave to heat caramels and heavy cream in 30-second intervals, stirring well after each interval until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you may combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until completely melted and smooth. Set aside.

Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel sauce over chocolate chips. Then crumble the remaining oatmeal mixture over the caramel layer.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. Store in air-tight container, and serve at room temperature. Enjoy!


Here are the rest of the bloggers participating in January's Mystery Dish Challenge, if you're interested in checking them out!
1. Carmelitas by Pass the Cocoa
2. Strawberry Champagne Cupcake Trifles by The Dessert Chronicles
5. Chocolate Strawberry Pudding by See Hubby Cook
8. Whole Wheat Orange Scones with Vanilla Cream Glaze by The Well Floured Kitchen
10. Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes by Yummy Healthy Easy
12. Strawberry Rose Chocolate Verrines by Baking a Moment


  1. Oooh, these look like the chocolate caramel bars that are on my blog. I am a huge fan of anything caramel and know that I would gobble these up!

    1. Hi Eva! I totally agree; caramel is one of my favorite flavors that knocks the dessert out of the ballpark when it comes to taste. My friends and family were swooning for more after I made this (:

  2. Wow!!! I'm in Georgia and we had maybe half an inch of freezing rain. The city basically shut down. No mail, no banks, half the grocery store was out of stock because of the "Snowpocalypse" we were experiencing. Schools shut down the day before to make sure they had time to make it safely home to parents. Northwestern should take a page out of our books ;-)
    Or they could, at the very least, make these delicious looking carmelitas for those who had to brave the weather to get to classes. Nothing like gooey cookie bars to warm you up!

    1. Hi Dani! That's crazy! The funny thing is, we had classes but my professors would book it out of campus immediately after class because they don't want to test how long their cars can stay in the cold without freezing. I'm just glad it's above 20 degrees now (: But yes, these carmelitas can probably make anyone a happy camper even in this evil weather!

      Thank you again for inviting me to participate in Mystery Dish Challenge this month; I had a wonderful time with it!

  3. I love caramel anything. I can believe you that these are the best little desserts! :) Mystery dish challenge sounds like fun! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Julia! Carmelitas are my new favorites, and I think any caramel lover would enjoy these. Have a great day!

  4. I can't believe I've never tried a caramelita! They look divine!

    1. Oh you've got to try these, Natasha! Carmelitas simply are divine (: Have a great day!

  5. Caramel is one of my favorite ingredients in a dessert so I know I would love these. They look fantastic, great recipe :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you appreciate caramel as much as I do! (:

  6. wow caramel bars..love it. thanks for sharing

    1. I'm glad you like them, Amallia! Thank you for stopping by (:

  7. These look like they will keep you warm on a cold night - or at least full. I don't know if anything can keep you warm on those -20 degree days. But hey I'll settle for cold + well fed. Seriously though, these bars look out of this world: The flavors, the textures, the layers...I can't get enough. I am going to pin these to remind me to try them!!

    1. Thanks so much, Nora!! I do hope you'll give them a try. They're like my new favorite dessert (: Stay warm!

  8. These carmelitas look so delicious! Rich and decadent and full of such amazing flavors! And I love the name too! We were so happy to have you as part of our Mystery Dish group this month, thanks for joining!

    1. Thanks so much, Cate! I had such a fun time and I'm so glad I did Mystery Dish January (:

  9. these look so amazing! so glad you could join us for mystery dish this month. gorgeous photos too!!

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I'm so glad I joined Mystery Dish January; it was so much fun, and everyone's dishes look delicious (:

  10. mouth is watering! can't wait to try it