This is my updated version of an old classic called “Carmelitas”, oatmeal bar cookies with a creamy caramel filling made with caramel ice cream syrup. The old version calls for caramel syrup mixed with a little flour to thicken it up. This new version uses a thicker, less-sweet caramel sauce called Smucker’s Simple Delights Salted Caramel, which is so thick it doesn’t require any extra flour. And since it’s less sweet and has kind of a salty flavor to it, I was able to add some sweet white chips to the filling without making the bars overly sweet.
In the photo above I cut the bars pretty large, but these are so rich and buttery that in reality I cut them about a third of that size. It’s really up to you how bit you want to cut them, but do cut them when they’re nice and cold so you’ll get a clean cut. Another nice thing about this recipe is the caramel filling stays soft and doesn’t get rock hard when chilled.
Simple Delights Sea Salt Caramel & Oat
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 9 oz
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 teaspoon if using unsalted butter
- 10 oz butter salted or unsalted, very soft (but not melted)
- 1 11.5 oz jar Simple Delights Salted caramel topping, softened or at room temperature
- 1 1/3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
- 2/3 cup white chips
- 2/3 cup toasted and chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch metal pan with foil and grease the foil.
- Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Add the soft butter and stir until blended. Reserve half of crumb mixture (about 3 cups or 504 grams), then press the rest into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle chips and nuts over baked crust. Drizzle evenly with softened caramel. Crumble reserved topping evenly over the top.
- Return to oven and bake an additional 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled, then chill for 2 hours or until filling is set.
- Lift from pan and cut into bars.
Thanks so much for trying them, and I’m glad you were able to find the Simple Delights. I’m glad companies are trying to come up with new products that don’t use HFCS.
I made these and we liked them a lot. The Simple Delights topping is really good. I’m glad I hunted it down. The base and topping is incredibly buttery. That’s not a bad thng but it is notable. I left out the white chocolate chips. We didn’t miss them.
Yes, and I wouldn’t leave them out :). You could leave the white chips out and the bars would still be great.
Oy! I read closer. There are already chocolate chips. Eyes rolling at self.
These look so good! I immediately wonder how they would be with a bit of chocolate instead of the white chocolate chips. The white chocolate is probably less of a distraction. I wish I had an excuse to try them.
Linda, I am weird about white chips. I don’t like how they taste by themselves, but they’re usually okay in cookies or bars. It depends on how they fit into the overall recipe. Occasionally my store will have a sale on a certain brand and that was the case here. I bought Nestle white chips on sale and used them because that’s what I had. Would I eat them straight? No. Did I like the bit of sweetness and color they added to the bars? Yes. So it depends on the recipe. But I just tasted one and didn’t get the sourness you mentioned.
Hi Anna, what brand of white chips do you use? I intended to use some *will not mention brand name* chips a few weeks ago. I tasted them before I added them to the dough, and to me, they tasted almost sour. I left them out. Is it me, the brand, or what?
Cheryl, it really did thicken up nicely when chilled and it wasn’t runny when I brought the bars back to room temperature. I think for my next experiment, I’ll try it in this recipe. It definitely won’t be as firm as the melted caramel & cream mixture, but it might work.
Love caramel and this looks like a great way to use the product. I have bitten into those hard caramel products–poor teeth! I’ m wondering where else this could be substituted for regular caramels that are usually melted for a recipe.