The Tale of the Carmelitas

October 10, 2010 — 443 Comments


We live in a big-but-not-huge town. We have a P.F. Chang’s and a Pottery Barn and two malls and two full-price movie theaters. But we don’t have a Williams-Sonoma. Instead, we have a few delightful, locally-owned kitchen stores. One of them holds a monthly baking contest, and these Carmelitas were supposed to be my ticket to local baking contest greatness.

See, a Carmelita is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill treat. Rather, it is like a buttery oatmeal cookie that swallowed a caramel-filled chocolate bar and then got bibitty-bobitty-booed by the dessert fairy godmother and received an extra dose of deliciousness. Everyone I have ever talked to who has tasted one has proclaimed it to be the most wonderful thing ever. I’m not exaggerating! I tasted my first Carmelita last year while I was visiting my sister. I liked it so much that I helped her eat the whole pan in two days. Just the two of us. A 9×13″ pan. Two days. And we liked it…obviously.

When I got my kitchen store newsletter in January, I started planning out my strategy. Some months I knew I’d be gone, some months I couldn’t think of a good cookie to make, but September–Oatmeal Cookie Month–I knew would be mine because I was going to make Carmelitas, and no one can resist them. They were like my fail-safe. If my coconut macaroons didn’t win in April (they didn’t), and if my bar cookies didn’t win in June (nope), and if my thumbprints didn’t win in August (er, not them either), then I’d knock everyone’s socks off in September with the best oatmeal cookie any of them had ever tasted!

The email naming the winner took a few extra weeks to be sent–no lie–and I was on pins and needles the whole time. When I saw it sitting there in my in-box, I had one of those strange prickling sensation on the back of my neck that you always hear about in stories–not a good feeling. The thought popped into my head that if I had won, they probably would have called or emailed me or something before just sending it out in an email newsletter. But I still didn’t think any cookie could beat my sweet Carmelitas, it just wasn’t possible! But it was true: a recipe for oatmeal cookies studded with white chocolate and dried cranberries had been crowned the champ. I just could not–and a part of me still doesn’t–imagine any oatmeal cookie tasting better than the best cookie I’d ever had.

If I sound just a wee bit crazy, get a load of this! Last week, I had to go into the kitchen store to buy 20 tiny salt spoons (more on that another time), and I actually brought up the oatmeal cookie contest to the cashier! Even though it had occurred to me to ask about the results, I don’t think I had really planned on doing it, because I sort of ummed and uhhed and stumbled all over my words. It ended up being, “Umm, well, I sort of was wondering, um, do you guys, you know, like…..keep the results from past contests? ‘Cause I was just, you know, um, maybe if you, you know, remembered the Carmelitas, uh,” **very blank look from the cashier at this point**, “how close it was, uh, you know, like,” and I just sort of trailed off! These baking contests have turned me into a raving lunatic!!

All of the crazy obsessiveness boils down to this: Carmelitas are to-die-for. Make them. Now.

32 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Combine caramels and cream in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until completely smooth; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine melted butter, brown sugar, flour, oats, and baking soda. Pat half of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8×8″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crust. Pour caramel mixture over chocolate chips. Crumble remaining oatmeal mixture over caramel. Return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting.
*A stint in the fridge will help them cool off if you’re pinched for time. They shouldn’t be served cold, but all of that molten caramel takes a long time to cool down. They should be stored and served at room temperature.
**If you want to use homemade or store-bought caramel sauce in place of the caramel/cream mixture, use 1 1/4 cups of caramel sauce, and omit the caramel squares and heavy cream.
***To make a 9×13″ version, simply double the amounts.

443 thoughts on “The Tale of the Carmelitas”

  1. They look delicious and although I’m sure it’s not much of a consolation they would have beaten a cranberry and white choc cookie a million times over if I were on the judging panel! Your recipe was more original and it looks and sounds delicious πŸ™‚

    1. I had these at a baby shower on Saturday. They were so good that I had 4…was on a sugar high all night but so worth the 4 pounds it cost me. How can that be? The gal that made them…the grandma to be made her own caramel and also used a high quality chocolate that she chopped herself. It was milk chocolate and I am a dark chocolate lover, but I LOVED those bars, and I can imagine what they would be like with a mix of dark and milk chocolate. I am SO glad to have this recipe…and I kept the hilarious and sad story with it…too bad the judges didn’t have any taste buds.

    2. i cant imagine that cookie winning either. this is going to be the third event I bake these for—mmmmm, they have been a huge hit! I will bake them again on Sunday for a mothers day lunch! thanks for sharing… pretty sure all the ladies in my office would have voted for Carmelitas!

    3. Hi Kitty. I’m sure milk would work. Evaporated milk would probably be great if you have any of that. Maybe don’t add quite as much as it calls for?? Let me know how they turn out!

    4. These look delicious! I’m wondering if I could nix the flour and add extra oats? I eat gluten free but would LOVE to modify the recipe…any ideas? Thanks! πŸ™‚

    5. I have no experience with gluten-free baking! But I’m sure you could find a substitute for the flour, especially since they really don’t have that much flour in them. Maybe 1 cup whole oats and 1 cup oat flour?? You could just grind up a bunch of oats and measure out 1 cup. Let me know if you try something and have success!

    6. quick question: i made these yesterday and while they were sinfully delicious they never solidified. i let them cool for a while and then put them in the fridge for a few hours. is there a trick to making them stay together? you couldn’t really even pick up a square to eat it – it was more of a utensil bar πŸ˜‰

      ~princi in san francisco

    7. Hi Princi! I have had to put them in the fridge before to hasten the setting up of the caramel, but they’ve always solidified pretty well eventually. I hope they were delicious even if they were messy!

    8. Just by looking at the cookies(going to try them soon), I’m shocked they didn’t win either. I’m definitely shocked that white chocolate and cranberries even came close to this recipe! Wow. Anyway, I know in advance that my family is going to thank you for this recipe. Thanks for sharing:)

    9. Hi, Kitty- I’m a profession pastry chef, so I know a few tricks of the trade. If you don’t have any heavy cream nearby, simply follow these simple, foolproof instructions! To substitute 1 cup of heavy cream, mix 3/4 cup of milk and 1/3 cup of butter(melted and cooled). Just don’t try to whip this, it won’t work.

    10. Just sayin…white chocolate and cranberry cookies are absolutely to die for. Guess you need to try them to know that though. I made them last year and everyone just loved them!!
      Give them a try…..

  2. This post made me laugh so hard Melissa! And I have to say I was on pins and needles reading to see if you won! I’m sorry it didn’t work out. Don’t give up. I would have loved to see you there asking about your cookies….I’m still laughing πŸ™‚

    1. My thoughts exactly. I can’t wait to make these. When it’s time I will re-read her story and pretend to be competing against a Carmelitas champion.

  3. Oh my goodness, those look amazing! I think I’ve had those before…A woman in the ward I grew up in made those, and they were SO incredibly addicting πŸ™‚ So I wouldn’t call it craziness at all; they should have won, plain and simple. You are completely justified…

  4. I love you. And I am sure I would have crowned your cookies the bestest. Cranberries with oatmeal doesn’t really sound good to me. Lamespice. Wish I could have tasted them in the height of their glory.

  5. The only madness was the store not choosing your Carmelitas as the winner!!!!!

    My diet is not thanking you for such an fantastic recipe!!!!

    Looking forward to following all your future adventures :-}

  6. The judging panel must not have been in their right minds. I am definitely definitely definitely favouring these caramelitas over some common white choc and cranberry oatmeal cookies.!

  7. I made these last week using the recipe you posted and they were SO delicious! Everyone loved them who tried them. Thanks so much for posting it. Super easy and quick too!

  8. Man that just stinks. Those people must have something against caramel. The cookies look amazing- I can feel myself gaining weight just looking at them πŸ™‚

  9. Rave reviews from my coworkers! However, since I’ve never baked with caramel before I didn’t know you’re not supposed to leave the stove while melting it. I had to stop in the middle to buy more caramel and another sauce pan. Thanks so much for the recipe!!

  10. My best friend used to make these every Christmas and she would always make an extra batch, just for me. She knew how much I loved them and I so looked forward to getting them every year. She moved away, life happened and I haven’t had my carmelitas for several years now. I’m making these, tomorrow. Can’t wait. Thanks so much for sharing this, you should have won…cranberry oatmeal????, that just makes me cringe.

  11. Oh my gosh! I have a very similar carmelitas recipe (added in M&Ms to it) and entered into my work’s Bake Off at work several Decembers ago. Like you, I thought FOR SURE I’d win b/c they are just that delicious. Sadly, I did not. And the kicker is the guy who won actually had his wife make the treats. Totally should have been DQed!

  12. Found this via Pinterest. This may be the mecca of “I’ve had a bay day, I need one scrumptiously decadently wonderful bite of consolation right now!” food. Thank you for sharing your story & this seemingly heavenly recipe. (You had me at caramel.)

    Heather @ Find That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

  13. I totally understand how you feel! I have a favorite cookie recipe, too, and when it didn’t even get honorable mention in the Taste of Home Cookie Contest, I was SO angry! Seriously, I dreamed about it, I was so angry. sigh.
    (my favorite cookie ever is Chocolate Walnut Kiss cookies which is basically a walnut-studded butter cookie dough wrapped around hershey kisses and then covered in powdered sugar after baking.
    I have to try these carmelitas! thank you!

  14. Johna–Walnuts make my mouth hurt, but I might have to try those Chocolate Walnut Kisses anyway; they sound delicious!

    sbawarski–you don’t have to adjust the baking time at all as long as you are doubling the ingredients.

  15. When I saw the Carmelitas I knew what they were. I have been making them since the 1960’s. I found the recipe in a soft cover book at the grocery check out and the title is “a treasury of bake off favorites”, they were prize winning recipes from Pillsbury. In the book they are called “Oatmeal Carmelitas”. If you want to inquire about this book it was copyright in 1969 by The Pillsbury Company, printed in the USA. The funny part is the price was 98 cents.

    1. This is very true, I did the same thing by getting the recipe from the Pillsbury Top winner recipe in 60s. Made it a tradition to make them every Christmas and I passed it on to my kids that are grown and have their own kids! However, we added pecans to ours!

  16. When I saw the Carmelitas I knew what they were. I have been making them since the 1960’s. I found the recipe in a soft cover book at the grocery check out and the title is “a treasury of bake off favorites”, they were prize winning recipes from Pillsbury. In the book they are called “Oatmeal Carmelitas”. If you want to inquire about this book it was copyright in 1969 by The Pillsbury Company, printed in the USA. The funny part is the price was 98 cents.

  17. You would have won in my book!!! Those look so DELISH and will definitely have to make them. They struck a sentimental cord in me because my baby’s name is Carmella and Carmelita is her baby name in Spanish. Carmelita is also my Aunt’s name but we call her Carmen. LOVE IT!!!

  18. I’m glad there are others who feel like I do so I thoroughly enjoyed your tale! πŸ™‚ I do love oatmeal/whitechocolate/cranberry cookies but I can not wait to try these!

    Looks like you’ve hit pintrest fame so that may even be better?!?

  19. OH MY GOD. 3 of my favorite things…. Oatmeal, chocolate, and ooooooo caramel!!! How could you not win? Cranberries and white chocolate (which isn’t even REAL chocolate, btw!!!)?!?!? I CALL SHENANIGANS!!!!

    I am making these immediately. And putting a blue ribbon on the pan. ON PRINCIPLE.

  20. I’m pretty sure you should have one. A friend brought me some of these today and they are DELICIOUS! I am a baking snob and frequently throw out treats other people bring, but not these ones! I won’t even share them with my husband. They are all for me!

  21. I just made these and they were so delicious! I doubled it and put in a 9×13 dish per the directions and I think next time I will add less butter. It was a little too gooey and many middle pieces had to be eaten with s fork or spoon. Great in ice cream too! I can only think of one reason why you didn’t win… Maybe because these are bars and not quite cookies? Either way they are amazing! Thanks

  22. I loved reading this post! first, I drooled all over myself after seeing the Carmelitas in the pictures! Anything with caramel should win in my opinion, but these?! These look beyond amazing!!! I say there is definitely “off” about your local kitchen store…I would take caramel over white chocolate anyday!!! I say enter them in your local fair this fall!!! You’ll win for sure! I’m running out tomorrow to get ingredients to make a double batch!!!! wuuuwhoooo!!!

  23. These look amazing! I will have to make them soon. I have had the oatmeal, white chocolate, and cranberry cookie. They are average and the recipe comes off the box of oatmeal. You should have won not only for taste but for originality. An oatmeal cookie is an oatmeal cookie, but these are devine. Glad I have a recipe for them now.

  24. After a terrible week with my husband’s job, THESE had to be the dessert Friday night. I made the batter, but rather than “patting” and “crumbling”, it poured and had the consistency of cake batter. I checked and double checked what I had done, and decided to start again. I used only 1/4 cup melted butter and it definately “patted” and “crumbled” but the end result was crunchy. Does anyone have advice? HELP! I must get these right!!

    1. JENNIFER G. I think I know what happened here. Your butter was way too hot of a melted liquid. What u should do is use a small non-stick pan for the amount of butter called for in this recipe. Set your heat at the LOWEST temp u have. Take hold of the pans handle & swirl the butter as u are wanting to SOFTEN it into a CREAMY SOFT butter. U do not want liquid or u will have a batter. U may want to turn the heat off & on so u can control the hotness of the pan & swirl the pan to help it completely soften. U should have no bits of solid butter left after its completely softened out. Pour this over your oatmeal mix & stir with a fork. Voila..crumbles.
      U will not be able to achieve this in a microwave so don’t try nuking it. This is how to achieve a crumble/crust in any recipe.
      What happens to butter melted into a liquid? The protein separates, floats to the top & u end up with clarified butter-broken butter.
      Try this method & you will get what u want..a tummy yummy cookie bar.
      I think next time I will double the oat mix but not the caramel, eliminate the extra half stick of butter but use 2 sticks only for the double oat mix & put in a 9″x 13″ pan. The amount of choc. chips is personal preference. They’re very sweet.
      Hope this helps!

    2. I put 3/4 Cup butter (1 1/2 sticks) in the microwave and it worked just fine for me. When I got it out of the microwave, I had a few very tiny pieces of butter and I just stirred it for a minute until all the butter was melted. Just an fyi. πŸ™‚

    3. I know this is an old post, but just in case someone else comes along with the same problem, I think you may have used 3/4 cup melted butter instead of 3/4 cup butter, melted. So, you take a stick and a half of butter and melt that and not measure the butter after its melted.

  25. Jennifer G–I wish I knew how to help them turn out right for you! Honestly, I’ve always followed the recipe exactly and haven’t had trouble. Good luck!

    Jennifer–I don’t think you’ll have a problem if you use quick-cooking oats. The texture of the oatmeal layers will be a tiny bit different, but I think they’ll still be delicious!

  26. I found you via Pinterest and made these tonight…they are so delicious I was left speechless! I have no idea how any cookie could have beaten your carmelitas because they are Amazing with a capital A!!!

  27. I too just found these on Pinterest. I think I’m going to make them for a pot-luck on Wednesday because what I usually make, no one eats. I too loved your post. And incidentally, I’ve had those oatmeal cookies that won. They aren’t bad. But they aren’t as good as these look like they taste! There must have been something wrong with the taste testers.

  28. Just made these today for a dinner at some friends tonight…can’t wait for everyone to taste them!!! yummmmmmmmmmy!!!! thanks for the recipe, found you on pinterest!!! ;0)

  29. You should have won. These look amazing, and the white chocolate/cranberry cookies are the recipe on the Craisins bag.

    1. Hi Dianne. Because of the different layers, these have to be baked in a pan like brownies. You could probably figure out how to make cookies with all the same components (oatmeal cookie, caramel, and chocolate), but you’d have to use a completely different recipe to start with. But they’re so good as is!

  30. Your carmelitas look delicious! I would love to eat one right now! πŸ™‚ Just have to say that your post made me laugh too! I could just see the scenario in my mind – asking about the results…too funny! That must’ve been a painfully awkward moment that you couldn’t really believe you’re were actually going thru πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the post!

  31. I’ve had these and couldn’t get enough! I went through two people to finally get the recipe and even though I didn’t taste the “winning” cookie, these win over ANY dessert in my book! They are way too delicious. Thank’s amazing baker!

  32. Made these last night and they were fabulous! I used 1/2 and 1/2 in place of the heavy cream. OMG these were so good. My husband crumbled it over ice cream, the kids just ate it as is and today out of the refrigerator is my favorite way to eat them. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  33. This sounds soooooo good!! Can’t wait to try it!! Are the caramels the little candies on clear wrapping or should I buy something else??

  34. Oatmeal, cranberry, white chocolate cookie? They should be ashamed! Everybody knows coconut trumps all! lol I bet these are fantastic and I may have to find a way to make that 9×13, but better have them to give away ‘cuz I would have it finished with a fork by midnight!

  35. I must be the only person alive who would undoubtedly vote for the white chocolate/cranberry. I don’t like chocolate and I REALLY don’t like caramel. How many people were on the voting panel, maybe you got one freak who hates chocolate…though, I gotta admit, I’d never volunteer to judge a baking contest with my weird dessert pickiness.

  36. I’ve been making this since I was a tupperware dealer in 1976. They are amazing……I’m not sure why they didn’t take first place. Shame on them!

  37. We don’t get caramels in India where I live. πŸ™ Can you suggest a recipe for a substitution please? I’d love to bake these! They look gorgeous! πŸ™‚

  38. Can’t wait to read more of your recipes, this one has received at least 20,000 repins – the most I’ve personally seen. Can’t wait to try these either…so crossing my fingers they’ll fix-up great with gf flour. Thank you for sharing!

  39. Thank goodness I found it!! I saw the recipe the other night and forgot to repin it :(. I did a search for the recipe and no luck finding this one, until I checked images looking for the picture lol, talk about raving lunatic!! Have a pan cooling right now and dying to dig in!! Thank you for sharing!!

  40. I just made these!! What a fabulous recipe. I was impatient with my caramel and burnt it, it was still salvageable and you couldn’t tell once they were baked. Thanks for sharing : )

  41. HI there Lulu, thanks for sharing this recipe! Since I have pinned it on my board it has been re-pinned so many times! I haven’t made it yet but its on my list of this to do, I might do it for my work colleagues for Valentines.

    1. Hi Lesley-Ann. Caramel squares are little cubed caramel candies, usually wrapped in clear plastic. They have them on the candy aisle of most grocery stores. The brand I always use is Kraft and they come in a yellow bag, although I think there are others brands out there too. You shouldn’t have any problem finding them, but if you do, you can make any recipe for homemade caramels and use that instead of the caramel/cream mixture.

  42. After these came out of the oven, they looked so good my boyfriend didn’t wanna wait for them to cool. I stuck them in the fridge just to keep him from hovering over them! Our waiting finally paid off – these things are out-of-this-world good! I just made a small pan of them, I can already see I will have to make another, lol. Thank you so much for sharing this glorious recipe!

  43. These are delish, found them on Pinterest and made them for Christmas this year. They were the first to be finished off. I declair you a winner!

  44. Would this recipe work if I didnt use the store bought carmels. I make my carmel from scratch. Would it work the same? I just live far out in the country so its not easy for me to make the trip to town I like just having everything ready in my own home.

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I think it would definitely work with a homemade caramel instead of the store-bought caramels. I’m thinking a recipe for caramel candies would probably work a little better than a recipe for a caramel sauce (just thickness-wise), but I don’t see how the results could be bad either way! Good luck, and please let us know if you try it!

  45. I’m not a fan of oatmeal. I wonder if I can use something else. I have a canister of “grape nuts” cereal that I think I could try. And finally, I can use my caramels for something! Bought 4 bags on sale in November (I guess people stop making caramel apples when Christmas season hits). Now I can use them! YAY!

  46. I just made these and let me just say—-they were delish!! My absolute new favorite! The hardest part is keeping my husband from eating it all!

  47. I made these tonight with a bag of soft Werthers caramels (I couldn’t find the Kraft kind) and they are so delicious! I will definitely be making them again. Thanks!

  48. Wondering if anyone has tried these with milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet. My family prefers milk chocolate over semi-sweet in most recipes. Based on the comments of one reviewer who found that the middle was not done when she doubled the recipe, would you suggest sticking with the original quantities in an 8X8 pan?

    1. Hi masv. I prefer milk chocolate chips in most recipes, but since this one is so rich and sweet with semi-sweet chips, I’m afraid using milk chocolate would push it right over the edge! However, if you try it and it is awesome, let me know! Also, I’ve always doubled it and never had problems with the middle not being done. I do always have to stick it in the fridge to help it set up, but no problems otherwise!

  49. My Mom made a square like this for us when we were kids and I now make them for my kids. They are still my favorite, the only difference is I put the caramel first and then sprinkle the chocolate chips over that then the top crust. Best treat ever!!!

  50. I cannot imagine anyone would pick the white chocolate/cranberry/oatmeal cookies compared to this! However, where I’m from, these would have been considered “bars” and not “cookies”. If you were specifically told to enter cookie recipes, maybe that hurt you? If so, next time take a biscuit cutter and cut them all round. πŸ˜‰

  51. Lulu – I made these for a work cookie contest yesterday and WON! Whoo hoo – this is a joint victory! We won a unicorn pinata (seriously) and a Target gift card.

    Thanks again for the rockin’ carmelitas!

  52. Hello, these look amazing and I plan on making them to bring over a friend’s house this weekend. Do you think I can use mini (the really tiny) chocolate chips instead of regular sized chocolate chips? Also, do you recommend using unsalted or salted butter? Does it matter?

    1. Hi Stacey! I think mini chocolate chips will be fine, and I use salted butter for this recipe! There isn’t any extra salt in them, so I think salted butter makes them taste better. Have a fun weekend!

    2. Thanks for your quick reply. Making them later today. That should be fine if I am taking them to a party tomorrow night, right? I will store in an airtight container. Do you have a preference over dark or light brown sugar?

    3. I think the only problem with making them now for a party tomorrow night is trying not to eat them all before-hand! I usually use dark brown sugar because that’s usually what I have on hand. I pretty much disregard that part of a recipe and use what I have.

  53. In the middle of making these and I am not sure if I am going to be able to wait until I am finished to dig in! Just the crust out of the oven looks fantastic! I will post tomorrow after I serve these, can’t wait!

  54. This post made me laugh too! πŸ™‚ Maybe there was a secret criteria for the oatmeal cookies. Like it had to have a certain amount of oatmeal in it and absolutely no caramel! πŸ™ They look divine. I can’t wait to try them!

  55. Here’s what happend: the judges all have children that are on a very long waiting list to get into a very prestigious private school. Guess who is the principal of said school? You guessed it: white chocolate cranberry lady.

  56. I LOVE me some Carmelitas and I am busy making them right now! Don’t hate me for saying this, but have you gotten your hands on the winning recipe? Not that I would have chosen them as the clear winner, but I certainly wouldn’t mind doing a side by side taste test! πŸ™‚

  57. OMG Lulu – you’re hysterical. I absolutely loved your story, and I think the whole thing was rigged. Not only did I repin the recipe on my pinterest page, but I also made these this morning. They are absolutely INCREDIBLE!! You should have won – hands down. I honestly didn’t think that I’d like them because they sounded so sweet, but they have just the right amount of sweetness to them. I had to taste them before they cooled off. Big mistake. I polished off almost half of the pan in about an hour. That was so good that I’m heading into your site to find more recipes. Thanks for that one!!

  58. Someone may have asked this already, but are “rolled oats” the same as old-fashioned oats? Or would quick oats be better?

    Thanks! Excited to make these- they sound & look delicious!

  59. Thank you Lulu for sharing (and Pinterest for the discovery!), so so delicious!! I used Pascal Columbines (Aussie brand) and they have 34 in a packet and the two extras were perfect to get me through until my first batch was ready to eat. The base is similar to ANZAC biscuits (Australian biscuit)but minus a few things…. will try add coconut next time for an experiment

    Thanks again! Now off for a run…….. and then some more!

    1. Hi Scott. I would think either of those options would work. I think the cream is just used to turn the caramel squares into a caramel sauce, so the goal is to thin them out. Milk or half and half should work. Let me know if you try it and it doesn’t work!!

    2. The original recipe I have and used for years (from 60s)said to use can milk(5Tbs if making 9×13 pan)with (Kraft my personal fav) caramels in double boiler. I have also used caramel ice cream topping, only if I couldn’t find the caramels. The more you make them you will find which combination of ingredients you truly like, such as butter vs margarine, milk chocolate vs semi, nuts or not nuts, packaged caramels vs homemade caramel. Its fun trying them all out, family & friends will love you for it!

  60. This has to be one of the funnies stories I have read! Laughing with YOU. THEY so should have won. This will be the 3rd time I am making these MELT IN YOUR MOUTH BEAUTIES for a dinner party this evening. I will also be making them next weekend for a couples shower. WE ALL LOVE THEM. You are the BIG winner at our house! Thanks for sharing your story.

  61. Just made these tonight. That ‘jury’ of judges had to have been rigged. No way would I eat a dried cranberry over these puppies. Absolutely delicious. Bravo. Those judges are morons. Plain and simple. (Plus, they are so stupid easy to make!!!! Can’t believe I pinned the recipe and waited 3 months to get around to making them.)

  62. That was a really funny story. You sound just like how I would have acted!! They sound delish and I can’t wait to try them! Thanks for the funny story!

  63. Carmelitas are one of my favorite treats from childhood, looking forward to trying these!! One question, I recently moved to New Zealand and have not been able to find caramels! If I make homemade caramels do I need to altar anything else in the recipe, like the cream? Thanks for your help! πŸ™‚

    1. I think that mixing the cream and store-bought caramels together is basically the equivalent of caramel sauce. SO…if you can’t find caramel candies, just make a homemade caramel sauce and don’t worry about the caramels and cream.

  64. Dear Lulu,
    Here’s the deal girl you were robbed! You should have won hands down…feet, legs the whole body down. I have a very similar recipe called Snicker Brownies. My recipe calls for walnuts instead of oats, and I use canned milk in the carmels instead of cream, and the brownie is made from some of the canned milk plus butter in a german chocolate cake mix. When it is all put together it resembles your delicious Carmelitas. As one carmel-choco lover to another hang in there it’s lonely at the top!

  65. All I can say is OH… MY… GOODNESS! These are INCREDIBLE! Lulu, THANK YOU for sharing this recipe! I just finished making them (no, literally JUST finished) and they are amazing. My husband is at a meeting, but he’ll be back soon and I can’t wait to impress him with these! And they are so EASY! I’m DEFINITELY going to be making these for years to come!

  66. I used to make these years ago but lost the recipe…THANK YOU very much for publishing. The only think I did different was I didn’t use chocolate in it and I also put some chopped nuts on the top with the crumbles. So now I will have to try it with chocolate in it also..haha

  67. I live in an area where I cannot buy caramel candies either. I do have a recipe for caramel sauce, however. If I make my own caramel, how much do you think I need to equal the 32 melted candies with cream?

    1. Hi Candy K. I don’t know how much caramel you would need, but I think 2 cups of caramel sauce would work. Next time I make Carmelitas, I’ll measure the amount of caramel sauce and update the recipe.

  68. These sound awesome and the picture is delightful on its own. I will be in a fundraiser cook off in a couple of weeks. I plan to make these. I make about 3 or 4 desserts and enter the one my team gives the most votes. After all, it is a team effort. These sounds so scrumpdilliumptious that I am excited to add them to my tried and true recipes to see how they turn out!

  69. The BEST dessert recipe I’ve found in a long time. I added a little sea salt to the top (about 10 minutes into cooling.) YUM!! A keeper!!

  70. Had a neighbor who made a bar just like this that my family loved. Just checked the recipe card and the ingredients are the same except she used to use butterscotch chips. Try it sometime. (Sweet tooth just kicked into overdrive!!)

  71. Just found this on pinterest – sounds yummy and will have to try. But I have to say: the font you use is TERRIBLE to read! I had to skip over your story to the recipe because it was very difficult to read.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up. I just changed fonts last week, and while I think the new font is beautiful, I certainly don’t want a font that people can’t read. I’ll have to find another one that is beautiful and legible!

  72. All I can say is WOW!! I made these this weekend and they were a HUGE hit, everyone is still raving about them πŸ™‚ I will be making these many times over! Thank You!

  73. Lulu, I’ve just right now discovered your website thanks to Pinterest and it’s amazing!!! Thanks for shares all this recipes and I’ll try next WE Carmelitas!

  74. Giggled my way through your post. The contest was obviously rigged or these would have won. I love carmelita’s but never make them. Simply to addicting I can’t stop until they are gone. The only suggested improvement is using left over homemade carmels from another baking venture and toasted pecans in the top crumbles.

  75. Just made a pan of these using 1 cup of cajeta and a combination of milk/dark chocolate. I am bringing them tonight to a friend’s cookout. By the smell in my kitchen, I hope they enjoy them as much as I did making them!

  76. Okay… Update on my post — these babies disappeared almost IMMEDIATELY. They were being eaten along with the steaks and ribs as if they were a side dish. Huge thanks for sharing your recipe! πŸ˜€

  77. stumbled upon your blog from Pinterest, and must admit seeing these brought a tear to my eye. We’ve been making these for many, many years, but I’ve never heard them be called Carmelitas – they’ve always been known in my family as “Aunt Viv’s caramel bars”. Sadly, Aunt Viv has passed on – but that recipe will forever be in my Christmas Cookie rotation. Thanks for the memory.

  78. Made this recipe again but used thinly sliced apricots seasoned with molasses, cinnamon and ginger in place of the chocolate and used only 1/4 of the caramel. It was another hit out of the park. I think your oatmeal cookie base is amazing!!

  79. Oh my gosh while your cookies look delicious. You are hilarious! I love your story here b/c its sooo me! I would have done the same thing! Especially with the cashier! I was laughing so hard! I can’t wait to make these though! My sister and I will probably eat the whole pan in 2 days too! ~ Casey

  80. I made these the other day and maybe I did something wrong, but it had the consistency of sand and didn’t hold together… it’s like the recipe was missing a second cup of flour and a couple eggs…

  81. I made this recipe last week and unfortunately it was a disaster! It had the texture of sand and it didn’t hold together at all! It seems like the recipe is a cup short of flour and an egg or two.

    What did I do wrong?

    1. Pesky Settler–So sorry they didn’t turn out for you! I promise the recipe works. Maybe just try again in a few days! I tried a Mario Batalli recipe for browned butter-sage sauce for gnocchi and it turned out terrible. I thought, “That Mario Batalli is full of crap!” and then realized the next day that I had repeatedly read the recipe wrong. Whoops!

  82. Thanks for this I just made them and they are soo good. I added a little sea salt on top of the caramel as I love salted caramel and that made them all the tastier. Thanks

  83. These are AMMMMAAAAAZZZZZIIINNGGG and has made me a goddess in the eye’s of my coworkers! Thank you for sharing!

  84. Made these a week ago, doubled the recipe, ate almost the whole pan and gained 7 lbs. (0: THEY ARE SO GOOD!! Do you think they would work with wheat flour and oats instead of all purpose flour?? Or would that make them too dense?

  85. Gosh THIS LOOKS DIVINE! I am definitely going to make them. I just want to ask, I don’t get the caramel squares here where I live, can I use caramel sauce to substitute? what else could I use? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sandra. I haven’t tried it, but the recipe calls for a caramel sauce made from the melted caramels and the cream, so I think you could easily use a caramel sauce instead of those two ingredients. I would maybe try two cups of caramel sauce. Next time I make them I’ll measure how much sauce the melted caramels and cream make and update the recipe.

    2. I have made these twice now, the first time I used caramel sauce and it never solidified, even after being in the fridge. The second time I used the squares and they did solidify. This is so my favorite dessert!

  86. Are cookies and bars the same thing? Maybe it was a technicality? These look amazing, I’m going to make my own gluten free version.

  87. I’ve been making these for years–one of my favorite recipes–we throw chopped pecans on with the chocolate chips and call them turtle bars. My recipe calls for a jar of Smucker’s caramel ice cream topping, just thicken it slightly by mixing in 1/4 cup of flour–lots easier than unwrapping and melting Kraft caramels! It is also easy to make gluten free–there is enough structure with the oats that you can use just about any GF flour as a substitute and it will turn out okay.

  88. These look amazingly delicious! Seriously, my mouth won’t stop watering after seeing your title picture.

    I am a site manager on, an online how-to community. Our food editor admires your work, and since you already have gorgeous photos and a write-up, I thought you might be interested in sharing your work on our site as well. You should consider submitting this (or any of your other desserts) as an entry to our Desserts Contest.

    I would be happy to feature it on our site if you decide to post the instructions there and help get it noticed among our 13.8 million viewers. Let me know if you have any questions!

    [email protected]

  89. By far and away my new favorite dessert. They’ve been a huge hit in my office! Three of us have made them now and only time will tell how many more of us will be making these in the future! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  90. while I absolutely love white chocolate/cranberry oatmeal cookies, and happen to think that everyone should make them for the fall at SOME point in life, I can’t see how they could beat these…
    if originality had any sort of say there’s no way white-choc-cran oaties could win a contest.

  91. How sad that these didn’t win! These are absolutely delicious and my dad asks for them all the time. I’m guessing they thought they were not really an oatmeal cookie… But the taste of these should have persuaded them to pick you anyways.

    1. I’m sure the store owner chose the other cookie because it was submitted by someone they knew… Unfortunately, that’s how things work sometimes/a lot of the time! Can’t even get honesty in a cookie contest! Your carmelita’s sound divine! Can’t wait to make them! You made me laugh and that is worth lots to me! Keep up the laughter!

  92. I know this is an old post, but I had to comment anyway. I just made this for a trip and I’m not sure I can share these with my friends because I want them ALL! Mind.blown. They are amazing!

  93. What did we ever do without Pinterest? I love this recipe and they’re so easy to make. These would be perfect for any gathering or just to hoard on your own. I’m definitely making these.

  94. Made these and they were FANTASTIC! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    The second time I made them, I couldn’t find caramels at my supermarket. In a pinch, I grabbed two bags of Rolos candies and substituted. They came out pretty darn good even with the substitution. Just thought I’d mention since it seems some supermarkets are (sadly!) pulling the yummy, old-fashioned, individually wrapped caramels off the shelves.


  95. Same as the Kraft Foods recipe (40 years ago). Only difference is the Kraft recipe uses caramel ice cream topping…and more choco chips. 16 years ago I made these and won a bake off at my church picnic.

  96. This week a friend “shared” her chocolate fudge recipe with me, but her writing instructions were 1 2/3 cup of evaporated milk – an entire can! – way too much, and obviously didn’t set. Then I came across your carmelitas and the brain sent out fireworks for me to try them & use that chocolate fudge. I had some caramel sauce. Being in a hurry, I microwaved the butter to a liquid state and followed the recipe. The base would make good paving stone, and the top was absolutely dry. Any ideas of where this went so horribly wrong?

  97. I’ve been trying to find the name for these bar cookies forever. A friend introduced me to them and we’ve pretty much just called them The Best Cookie Ever. Now I know! And yes, you should try the Kraft caramel bits. No unwrapping and they melt way faster. Pretty much the most delicious of all delicious things on the planet.

  98. Making my 2nd batch of these right now!! ahhh they are so amazing!!! my husband LOVES these too πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your recipe LuLu the Baker!

    – Alexi Lu.

  99. i love oatmeal and caramel and haven’t ever combined the two. (I’m definitely asking myself “why not” right now!) trying these soooon.

    1. That’s too bad! I’ve never had a problem with them sticking, but I can see that if the caramel made it’s way to the sides and bottom of the pan, they would be stuck like glue! Hopefully they were worth it!

  100. Thank you SO much for this recipe. I found it on Pinterest and made it last week. I’ve made a lot of recipes from Pinterest and so many don’t turn out πŸ™ But this was fantastic! Super easy to make and amazingly delicious. Seriously the best dessert I’ve ever had.

  101. I made these tonight and I have also made a cheese cake type bar with the same type of receipe. I have the hardest time with the bottom part of the bar (it seems as if I didnt put enough down) I felt as if I used more than half but it was very hard to get to stay on the bottom of the pan becuase it was so sticky. So now, hours later, I cut them becuase my boyfriend could not wait to eat them and it seems as if there is no bottom part of the bar, it is just the top part and tons of caramel and chocolate! What am I doing wrong? I didnt actually make the caramel I used caramel sauce (for ice cream) Is that my problem or are there any other tips you could give me?? I have to get these correct and taste them!!

    1. Hi there! I’ve had a few readers comment that they made the carmelitas and something went wrong. I wish I could tell you how to get them perfect! All I can tell you is that I follow the recipe to a T when I make them and they have always turned out. I do usually get impatient and stick them in the fridge to help them solidify, but I’ve never had them turn out really weird. Maybe take a week off and try them again with fresh eyes!

  102. These are delicious, i just whipped up a batch. How on earth can anything beat them. These are a-ma-zing. Now…to just hide them from the family….;)

  103. Oh my word, these are the best ever! My hubby and I tried them and they were perfect! Making them again tomorrow night for some friends who are coming over!

  104. OK, so I made these and sent them to a house of ” 4 boys” at college. Packed em up and sent them from NY to California. Double batch. My son said they were gone in two days.UNREAL! (THE BATTER FROM THE OATMEAL IS GOOD ENOUGH JUST LIKE THAT!)

  105. You need to find the closest county/regional fair, and enter them there!! I competed for a few years in baking and photography fields at the Ozark Empire Fair – and loved it!! When I moved out of state, well, that’s another story – but I’ll be looking in to the closest fairs soon!! (and I’ll let you know if your Carmelitas win there).

    1. Hi Marina! I’ve entered them a couple of times in little baking contests and they’ve never won, which completely blows my mind! Please do let me know if you win anything with them; I know a couple of other people have had baking contest success with these babies!

  106. I made a double batch of these using Dulce de leche for some friends and family I was visiting and they LOVED them!! One friend said he’d be happy to eat a whole pan till he got sick πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to make them again!

  107. These look so yummy that I made a pan for my husband… flop. The oatmeal doesn’t look cooked (had it in the oven for 25 minutes!) and the carmel bubbled up over the top. I used Mrs Richardson’s carmel topping and wonder if that was too runny. I googled other recipes and sure enough… if you use topping you need to add about 1/4 cup extra flour to it to thicken it up. You may want to add that to the end of your recipe.

  108. What a perfect fall treat! Made them for a friend’s movie night and they were good then but then took some to work to share with co-workers and they tasted better a couple of days after they have been cooked! πŸ™‚ So yummy. Thanks for sharing! -Melissa

  109. These sound spectacular and, as a caramel fiend, I long to taste the sheer deliciousness you describe.
    A note on the baking contest: Many times these contests are judged on presentation and not taste alone which, I think, is total crap because how many times has something not looked like a magazine print but tasted like Palatable Paradise? What I’m saying is that, because it was oatmeal cookie month, and they also hosted a bar month, perhaps the judges disqualified your entry based on shape. Yeah, they’re that shallow sometimes. Perhaps they were looking for a round, somewhat flatted traditional cookie versus a square bar?

  110. Ohhhh, I hope these are like the Sheila’s Dream Bar (from a regional sandwich shop). I’m going to shop for supplies and make these this weekend. Maybe even taken them on a camping trip.

    So sorry that you didn’t win your contest. There’s always next month.

  111. I have to thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I found it last night on Pinterest as I was searching like a fiend to find the yummiest scrummiest recipe I could find so I could make something for my Company’s Carnival today. I doubled your recipe and made this (thank goodness my 2 kids like unwrapping caramels) and guess what??? It won First Place!!!! I hope that helps to prove that whatever judging was done on your oatmeal cookie competition that it was TOTALLY RIGGED! You absolutely deserved to win with this recipe. By the way, we have a new nickname for these we are calling them “Crack Bars” because one taste and you are HOOKED!

  112. I usually don’t keep caramels in the house but I had a bag leftover from another dessert. I was meant to make them today. I just added the second layer and they are in the over. Can’t wait to try them YUM

  113. First, I WILL be making these today. Second, you’re hilarious! That’s something I’d totally do, glad there are goofballs (albeit talented) like us in this world to keep it interesting….and delicious! πŸ™‚

  114. The carmelitas look amazing! — My only question is…. Do you use Quick- cooking oats or Old Fashioned oats? No one has asked this and I want mine to turn out right so can anyone help me with this?

  115. I don’t know if this helps or hurts but I just won our work bake sale (benefiting United Way) with these! They are delicious and my office thanks you!

  116. These turned out so good! I made them even easier with the Kraft caramel bits. They are made to be added to a recipe without premelting. I used a little less than a cup to just cover the first layer.

  117. I thought you might like to know that I made these for a cook-off at my church a few weeks ago and THEY WON in the dessert section! I knew you would be happy to know that this recipe is a winner :}

  118. WOW. JUST. WOW! I made these last night and sent them with my husband for the office. They have gone down a treat and were even more delicious than I hoped. The judges must have had no taste buds. 5 stars from me πŸ™‚ I highly recommend making your own caramel. It’s super easy, cheap, and quick. I made salted caramel–to die for–and drizzled chocolate on the top after they baked. The world will never be the same

  119. I made these last night and sent them to the hockey rink with my husband so he could share them with the team. Success! I wonder how many calories are in a whole tin, or even a square?? I’m calorie counting and I want to stuff my face with these bad boys soooo bad. They really are the best thing ever, and I could totally eat 1/2 tin to myself in 2 days. Easily.

  120. I adore this story even though the carmelitas didn’t win. They are ridiculously yummy. In fact, whenever I get together with my friends now they ask me to bring “the crack”, meaning the carmelitas.

    For those asking about the heavy cream substition, I can confirm that evaporated milk can be used successfully. Use 3/4 of the quantity of heavy cream called for in evaporated milk. After the caramels are all melted the sauce seemed a tad runnier than it did using heavy cream so I took it off the heat, stirred in a good sized pat of butter and let it sit for a minute or two. By then the consistency was perfect and I didn’t notice any difference in the taste.

    Thanks Lulu for the best dessert recipe ever! Screw those old dried fruit eaters! πŸ™‚

  121. I realize that this has been posted for a long time, but I have been saving this on my Pinterest board for christmas baking. I work full time so I always do my baking throughout December and make platters of mixed goodies in the freezer and pull them out as I need them, do we have any idea how these delicious creations freeze? They will be making an appearance this year for sure, but if I can get away with making the ahead of time you are darn tootin I will take advantage of it! Thanks so much for such am awesome recipe!

    1. Hi Nicole. Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you!

      I’ve never tried freezing them, but I really don’t see why you couldn’t. Mine have always turned out just a little crunchy and crumbly (not to the point of falling apart). I think freezing and then thawing them might make them softer, but I don’t think it would affect the flavor at all.

  122. This is my second “Lulu recipe” and girlfriend, you are two for two! These were *amazing*. The smell of the caramel was mouth-watering, and the finished product was a huge hit at my cookie swap. Most definitely making these again!

  123. I am sooooooo gonna make these! Just wondering though if you used regular oats, or if one can use quick oats? (not instant though) Thank you πŸ™‚

  124. these are awesome! i also made some and added some shredded coconut…very good!
    these make a great gluten free recipe if you substitute rice flour {white or brown, or even oat flour}….A+++

    1. If you’re talking about the little Kraft caramel bits, I know there’s a conversion printed on the back of the bag. I don’t have a bag right now, so you might have to do a little Algebra! Good Luck!!

  125. These were the absolute best thing I have ever put in my mouth! I made them for 2 different parties and even non-dessert eaters(I didn’t know these people existed)- they even raved that it was the best dessert ever!!

  126. what kind of shelf like do these have? I want to bring some to our christmas party on 12/27, and wondering how far in advance I can make them (and then hide them so no one eats them!)

  127. I never heard of a carmelita but apparently it’s a “thing”. Your photo inspired me to try the recipe and considering it had chocolate and caramel how bad could it be?

    A few observations – you didn’t mention how to prepare the pan so I took a chance and buttered it (which worked). Although it was difficult to get them out of the pan. I don’t know if that was due to how I prepped the pan? Perhaps parchment? I found it much easier to cool them in the fridge and then cut them up to remove them. Also, I actually preferred to eat them a little chilled. It tasted better (to me). I also decided to double the recipe and it worked perfectly. Although unwrapping 64 caramels was a pain in the tush. I attempted my own caramel sauce but not being an expert candy maker I didn’t want to wreck a key ingredient.

    Overall, I found these to be really excellent. It was sweet but also had a hint of salt which helped with the balance of the flavors. Also, the oats gave it a real nuttiness. Since I do like to experiment I wonder what bittersweet chocolate would taste like (or a mix). Also, what about 1/2 regular and 1/2 whole wheat flour?

    These will certainly become a new staple in our house.

  128. This is the first time I have ever commented on a pin, but I HAVE to now. I made these last night and my husband loved them. They reminded us of potbelly dream bars!!! This is now a favorite in our home, Thank you….

  129. First off: Does anyone know if these ship well?

    What a bummer that you didn’t win! I’m glad I’m not the only the stumbles over words when baking turns you into a bit of a loon! πŸ™‚ Thanks πŸ™‚

  130. My husband and I have an unhealthy obsession with these!! We have made this recipe now about 6 times in the past two months… So addicting!

  131. I agree…these should have won! I made these the night before a play date and had to go to bed so I would stop eating them right out of the pan! This is going to be the dessert I take everywhere now. Wow! Can’t wait for my mommy friends to try them today….if there are any left by the time they get here.

  132. Found this on pinterest and this is the second time I’ve made them, had absolutely rave reviews from my coworkers!

    The first time around I used store bought caramel sauce and milk chocolate chips (it was what I had) and it ended up being so so sweet that it was almost hard to eat (and I’m the kind of person who eats caramel sauce straight from the jar).

    This time I made my own caramel sauce (using evaporated milk, as a non-dairy eater I don’t ever have real milk or cream on hand) and I made it in the microwave. I did 30 second intervals and stirred well; it worked perfectly! I also used quick oats and there wasn’t any problem with them. And I used the semi-sweet chips like you called for and it was a much better balance! This really is a keeper recipe!

    1. Hi Mandie! I can imagine that they’re too sweet with the milk chocolate chips! I usually prefer milk chocolate, but sometimes you just need a little bittersweet to make a recipe really good!

    1. mikki–OMG! I honestly don’t know if carmelitas can get any better, but I have a feeling that adding apples and pecans might make them mind-blowing! I’m going to have to try it!

  133. I made these for my co-workers as a treat at a staff meeting and they were a hit. I especially loved that they were so easy to make. Delicious!

  134. I used chopped Lindt Caramel Truffles in addition to the semi-sweet choc. I doubled the recipe- I didnt’ have enough caramels so I just added caramel from a jar and it worked out just fine. Delish!

  135. My husband thanks you, my hips curse you! These have been the single most incredible discovery in the past year. I love love love them! They are deadly though, because they are SO easy to throw together. I haven’t messed with the recipe too much in the 12 or so times I’ve made them. Once I had only flavored oatmeal on hand so I used the maple cinnamon packets- still good! Another time I had peanut butter chips so I threw those in with the chocolate chips-still good. I also tried using fruit instead of chocolate once—don’t do that…ever…ever.

    Thanks for the amazing recipe <3

    1. Beth, I think I will spend the rest of my life wondering how the Carmelitas lost! But it is so validating to hear that so many people agree that they’re the best cookie ever. They really are!

  136. These are so delicious!!! Everyone loves them. Maybe give credit to the original recipe, though. Just saying… This recipe has been around for years!

    1. Hi there. I’m always happy to link to the original recipe, and I think it’s important to give credit where credit is due. As I mentioned in the story, I got this recipe from my little sister, who got it from an acquaintance in college. I don’t know where that person got it from, nor did I imply that I made the recipe up. If you have a link to the original recipe and want to share, I’ll happily add the link and credit the source. Thanks for stopping by.

  137. Can’t wait to try them, what is the total weight of the caramels, I live in Scotland and not sure what the equivalent would be x

  138. These are so yummmmyyyy!! My hubby and I made them last night so we could bring them to my mom’s for Mother’s Day. I had to sample them of course and my oh my they are good!! Now I have to resist eating them all before we get there.

  139. These are my husband and friend’s favorite treat. I have taken them to several friend’s houses and everyone always loves them and wants the recipe. We have found they are best eaten the next day, giving the caramel time to really set up. LOVE this recipe, thanks SO much for sharing!!

    1. They actually taste great at room temperature, and even after a stint in the fridge! The caramel sets up as they cool, but unless you keep them in the fridge forever, it won’t harden so much that you can’t eat it.

  140. Help! I’m due to go to a graduation party in 2 hours; made them and doubled the recipe as instructed, put into a 9 by 13 pan, and after 20 minutes they are practically spilling over and the center blobs of dough are still uncooked. they are in the oven for another 10 minutes then will go into the freezer – any other thoughts out there?

    1. Hey! So sorry I didn’t respond right away; we’ve been on vacation for a week! I hope they turned out OK. If I need these to be ready quickly, yes, I put them in the fridge or freezer until the caramel sets up. I’ve never had them not set up, and I haven’t had any trouble with them cooking all the way through. Hopefully it worked out!

  141. This is the 1st time I’ve felt led to comment on a recipe but I knew I just had to let everyone know how truly Amazing these cookies are!! I took them to a fellowship dinner today and everyone raved about them. One friend even said if we weren’t in public, she would lick the bowl clean πŸ™‚ Needless to say I came home with an empty dish and one very sad husband who didn’t even get to try them. On a sidenote, there is NO way these cookies should have lost to a white choc/cranberry/oatmeal cookie…….NO WAY!!!!

  142. Holy cow! I pinned these on Pinterest awhile ago. Finally made them tonight and they were amazing!! They looked like they would be complicated to make so I put off trying them, but they were so easy to make. Although it took forever for the caramels to melt.

  143. I made the caramel myself and then used half and half instead of heavy cream because that was all I had.I am waiting for them to cool so I can try them. I refuse to put them in the fridge!

  144. Hi, made these last weekend and they were sooooo yummy and good! Everyone was wanting to know what they were! So even if you didn’t win the contest, you won in my book!

  145. I want to make these but I cant seem to find Soft Caramel candies Where I live. If i were to make some sort of homemade caramel, what recipe would you suggest, and if I did that, would I then omit the Cream?

  146. These have turned out to be one of my favorite desserts! They are big hit with everyone I make them for. Thanks for sharing! Also, I recently found out that one of my good friends is your sister-in-law, April. What a small world! πŸ™‚

  147. OK, maybe a dumb question, but I’m not much of a baker! If I make the 9×13 double recipe, how long do I bake it for? Thanks!! πŸ™‚

  148. I have been making these for years and they are fabulous but extremely rich! I got the recipe from a local country farm store. It is family owned and they made and sold these in their bakery dept. I tried them and was hooked. I asked the one of the workers/owners if I could get the recipe and he was very reluctant and said the “ladies” don’t like to give out their recipes. But since none of them were around, he pulled out a huge binder with recipes and turned to the recipe I requested and proceeded to write it down for me! They called them “Ooey Gooey Bars”. Shhhh…… πŸ™‚ And by the way, soon after that, I never really saw them in that store again!!

  149. I sold Tupperware when I was first married, clear back in 1977. One of my hostesses served Oatmeal Carmelitas at her party. I just HAD to have the recipe! I feel the same way about them as you do, your photograph captures their essence quite nicely. I found it on Pinterest and saved it even though I have the recipe. Thank you for sharing it with the world.

  150. I made these a few months ago and the carmel never got quite solid enough…not like that stopped anyone from eating them with a spoon! I’m making them again today and I’m going to see how they turn out with a little less cream. Thanks for the recipe.

  151. Found these little babies on Pinterest a while back and have been waiting to make them. They are out of this world good!! I had them when they were like 10 minutes out of the oven and still gooey – and then later in the day when they firmed up. I could have eaten the whole pan by myself. Thank you so much for this recipe – I definitely will try to make it gluten free with oat flour too!

  152. Hi Lulu! The moment I first saw these Carmelitas, I just knew I had to make them. And they were finger-licking delicious! It’s on the blog, Pass the Cocoa, if you’re interested in checking it out! Looking forward to seeing more delicious recipes on Lulu the Baker (:

  153. These are so good! Next time I make them I’m going to skip the chocolate and add diced, peeled granny smith apples to the caramel mixture – Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookie Bars anyone? Can’t wait! Thanks for a great recipe.

  154. I doubled the recipe. These things are MAGICAL! We loved them. The last one was eaten several days ago and I’m still thinking about them. Can’t believe the Carmelitas didn’t win the contest, what the heck? This is the first time I’d had them (or heard of them!) and they’ll be a go-to favorite! Okay, white chocolate cranberry cookies are very good, but nowhere near as awesome as Carmelitas.

    Oh, I posted my doubled version of the recipe on my blog, hope you don’t mind! I cited you as the source of the recipe, linked to you, and the recipe directions are in my own words πŸ™‚ Here’s a link if you want to check it out:

  155. Hi Lulu, amazing looking carmelitas. We haven’t got caramel square where i live so i may have to substitute with tinned caramel. Can you advise on much caramel sauce i’d have to use in the recipe. Thank you

  156. I am going to make a double batch of this for a party. Do you usually make it the night before so it has lots of time to set up or do you make it that morning so it is freshly made? Also do you store your in the refrigerator or just covered and on the counter? Thanks!

    1. Making them the night before is a terrific idea! Carmelitas are one of those rare treats that actually taste better after sitting for a while. It gives them time to set up, like you mentioned, and just allows all of the yummy flavors to develop. And I just store them covered on the counter. If you store them in the fridge, they’ll be hard as rocks and you’ll have to wait for them to come to room temperature before eating.

    1. Hi Grace. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever tried–they don’t stick around long enough to find out! But I don’t see why they wouldn’t! They get better and better the longer they sit, and treats like that usually freeze decently. Good Luck!

  157. what is going to be better to use. the caramel squares or the caramel sauce? what works better and tastes better

  158. I just pulled this out of the oven. I will have to have some serious restraint. I am bringing them to a party or I should say whatever leftover crumbs are available . πŸ˜‰

  159. This recipe is a go-to dessert for me, now. I make it for bridal showers, baby showers, church functions, friends, etc. It’s like a chocolate chip cookie + oatmeal cookie + caramel goodness all in the shape of a bar. The only other tips I would share is to make sure to use unsalted butter and to let it rest on a baking rack for plenty of time (3 hours seems just right to me) prior to serving, for easy cutting as the caramel needs time to set. I’m big on freshness of baked goods and I’m thankful for a recipe that I can make the morning of an event without worrying about the quality being diminished. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Love your website.

  160. I have been eyeing these on Pinterest for months, just never remember to get the ingredients at the store… They are on my list for today’s trip & I’m so excited to try them! Chocolate+caramel recipes are my favorite, particularly without nuts – looks amazing!

  161. Melissa, I would like to ship these across the country… Do you think they’d still taste fresh enough…4 days later?

    1. Hi Annie. They do taste good leftover, but I’ve never had them stick around long enough to see if they are still good 4 days later. I have a couple of ideas. 1) You could try freezing them before sending them. That would give them an extra day of freshness. 2) You could overnight them or send them Priority to get them there faster. 3) You could just send them as is. I’m sure they’d taste delicious!

  162. I just took these out of the oven for a party tonight. I double the recipe and followed it extremely closely. I used one jar of Hershey caramel in place of the candy and cream. I left it in for 17 minutes, but the center was extremely shaky although the sides had bubbled up. I left it in for about 8 more minutes and then I took it out, the center was still shaky but if I left it in the caramel would’ve burned. It’s now sitting outside in the snow…. Any ideas?

    1. Hi Nina. I just saw this comment; sorry I didn’t answer sooner! Yes, the center stays very liquidy until they have cooled completely, which takes several hours. I usually make them well before I want to serve them, or stick them in the fridge. Hopefully they worked out for you!

  163. Hey Melissa! Thank you soooooo much for this recipe! I have made these for several parties and get togethers. They are always a hit! A go-to in my recipe book!

  164. Hi Melissa! I’m so excited to try these! Have you ever done a sheet cake size? I wanted to make them for a party, but wasn’t sure if I quadrupled it, if it would turn out the same?

    1. Hi Amy. I’ve never tried a sheet cake size!! It sounds amazing, but yeah, makes me a little nervous. I never change the time if I jump to a 9×13″ and double it, but a sheet cake is just so big! Maybe do two 9×13″ pans instead??? If you do try to sheet cake, let me know how it turns out!

  165. Hi! Melissa, i have a comment but i dont know what happen!, im asking how many cup of caramel if i use caramel bits, anyway i already figure it out..for one caramel square it’s 6 grams and multifly it by 32 so its 192 planning to make it on our camping day which is on Labor Day ,i have a portable oven and i will use it to impress my friends…hope it will be good,!,,thank you………Josie

  166. i have been making these for a bake sale at work. Don’t know why they didn’t win first place! People at work loves these! They are a great seller.

  167. Made these yesterday. My husband loved them.
    For the question of the Caramel bits it 1 + 1/3 C
    Going to make with toasted pecans sprinkled in middle of all that deliciousness.
    Was wondering if I could use Riesens.
    Thank you for such an easy and delicious recipe!

  168. White chocolate and cranberries in an oatmeal cookie…doesn’t sound that great to me, but you never know…I have a recipe very similar to this and they are awesome. A lot of people don’t classify “bars” as “cookies”…that would be about the only reason (without tasting those strange cookies), that I could see that you wouldn’t have won!

  169. Hi!
    I’ve been wanting to make these forever and I’m finally getting around to it for a party this weekend. I was just wondering if you usually use old fashioned oats or if quick oats would be acceptable?

    1. Hi Marie. I probably didn’t get your question answered in time. But, I think quick oats would be acceptable. The texture of the cookies will be slightly different, but it’s really the flavor that matters in these!

  170. Hi Melissa,
    I just wanted to tell you how much I loved these cookies. I made them to pass at a Halloween gathering and they were a huge hit! I sent a batch to my college daughter to share with her housemates and she ended up hoarding them in her room and eating them all! If I hadn’t given them to her I would have done the same thing at my house! Fantastic recipe, thanks.

  171. I made this yesterday along with the some Christmas cookies and these were by far the best I made, according to my four boys! I doubled the recipe, let it cool for several hours and it was gooey, delicious and amazing! Thank you!

  172. My family looooooves Carmelitas. I was unable to find the Kraft caramel squares but found the Kraft caramel bits. From what I read online 1 cups equals 25 squares. So would you say 1 1/2 is about equal to the 32 squares?

  173. I realize this blog post is from over 5 years ago, but my husband and I just made these Carmelita’s last night. (I found the recipe via Pinterst a few nights ago.) Your recipe is AWESOME! We brought the leftovers to my parents’ house this evening and they LOVED them (and they’re pretty picky about their desserts)! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  174. This is the second time I have made this. It is so wonderful! The first time I used the Kraft caramels and heavy cream. This time I used a fancy shmancy bourbon pecan caramel sauce (store bought). Both times it turned out perfect and very addicting. I got loads of compliments on them too πŸ™‚ Thank you so much!

  175. Wonderful gooey goodness!! These are awesome! I made them for a family reunion a couple weekend ago and thought I’d double the recipe so I would have some left to bring home, haha silly me…of course there were none left! I am baking another double batch as I write this for our 4th of July get together…I’m sure I won’t have any left to bring home tonight either! By the way they are a winning recipe in my book! Thanks for sharing!

  176. These are so delicious! I had them at book club a while back and I stalked her pinterest just to find the recipe. I make them all the time and they are always a hit with who I make them for! Love them!

  177. Hi
    I am making this for a cookie exchange, how many does the batch make. I need enough for roughly 8 dozen or so.

    thank you!

    1. I would say a single batch makes 24 tops. I usually cut them much bigger than that and end up with 12-15 per batch. I wouldn’t go any smaller than 24 though.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.