I continue to say I am not a baker, but it seems I have been doing a lot of baking lately! I am trying my best to measure and mix with precision like a good baker does, but in my heart I am a cook who likes to go with the flow.
Lucky for me, these Carmelitas are pretty forgiving!
I was inspired to make these after having one of my favorite desserts-- a Potbelly Dream Bar. I have always loved those ooey gooey treats and whenever I love a dish while eating out, I am inspired to try my hand at creating it!
Bar cookies are awesome for a couple reasons.
- You can fill them with more things. Because they are baked in a dish and cut with a knife, there is more flexibility when adding fillings as well as adjusting cooking times. They don’t have to be as firm and well bound as a cookie does. So go ahead! Add that runny caramel and crumbly topping!
- They are EASY. It doesn’t get much simpler than pressing everything into one dish and cooking it all together as one giant hunk! There’s no individual scooping or shaping to be seen.
- You can always cut off another sliver. When the cookies are individual, you have one and your done. But when the cookies are baking in a dish, you decide how much constitutes a slice. So go ahead and slice off another sliver. 😉
These can be made in either a 9x9 or a 9x13, depending on how thick you want them to be. The cooking time reflects a 9x13 baking dish. If you want to use a 9x9, you may need to adjust the cooking time to 5-10 minutes more, to account for a thicker bar.
Caramelitas (Oatmeal, Chocolate, and Caramel Gooey Bar Cookies)
- 1 cup butter melted, plus more for coating baking dish
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ cups old fashioned oats
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 10 oz. can of dulce de leche
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add melted butter, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until well combined.
- Add in flour, oats, salt, and baking soda and stir with a spatula until the dough comes together.
- Coat the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish with butter. Take half of the dough and spread it with your hands or a spatula evenly across the bottom of the baking dish.
- Place into oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- 1-2 minutes before taking out the bottom layer, warm your dulce de leche in a microwave safe dish until it pours easily.
- Remove baking dish with par-baked bottom layer and sprinkle chocolate chips carefully over the top. Drizzle the warm caramel on top of that.
- Finish by crumbling the second half of the dough over the top in an even layer.
- Place back in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until it is cooked through.
- Allow to cool for 1-2 hours so that the bars can solidify before cutting.