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Oatmeal Bars

Chocolate-caramel-oatmeal squares leave home wrapped in waxed-paper "sleeves." Construction-paper bands stamped with the price get taped on at the sale.

  • Yield: Makes 1 dozen
Oatmeal Bars

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, Fall


  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 48 soft caramel-candy cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13- inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line with a 9-by-21-inch sheet of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each short side. Put caramels and cream in a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

  2. Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and the salt in a large bowl. Blend in butter with a fork or your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal; press half of mixture onto bottom of lined pan. Bake until just set and starting to color around edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes.

  3. Sprinkle crust with chocolate chips; drizzle with caramel mixture. Top with remaining crumb mixture. Bake until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

Reviews (46)

  • LDSay 13 Nov, 2013

    Most requested recipe at work

  • Hippiebird 10 Jun, 2013

    Followed recipe exactly. DELICIOUS! Really, really good. Buttery oatmeal crust and topping with a tiny hint of salt. Creamy, gooey filling. Couldn't find Kraft caramels so used Werther's soft caramels which worked fine. Great recipe. Will definitely make again.

  • NicoleCh 23 Mar, 2013

    I love this recipe! I do make a few changes that do not affect the taste at all in my opinion. If I can make something healthier without changing the taste, I feel like I have to do it. First I cut down the butter to 2 sticks, and then I melted it instead of cutting it in. I used 1 cup of all purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Then to the caramels I used a 1/3 cup of 2% milk instead of heavy cream. Additionally, I added chopped almonds to the top layer, which does affect taste.

  • irys 8 Nov, 2011

    I don't know what happened; I made this according to the directions. My husband said they taste like "nothing" and I agree. Very bland.

  • hannahlj 11 Aug, 2011

    These are so good!

  • MeridithCrane 6 Jun, 2011

    Manal4 - I've been making these bar cookies for years. For the filling, my recipe calls for 1 jar of caramel ice cream topping (14-16 oz jar), 1 bag of semi-sweet choc chips and 6T of flour mixed together before spreading on bottom crust.

  • Manal4 14 Apr, 2011

    This recipe sounds very tempting, the only problem that I don't have the caramel candy cubes so I need to know the weight of that amount so I can substitute it with another kind of caramel. so please if anyone know the weight kindly inform me. Thanks alot.

  • JenniferSF 19 Mar, 2011

    Ooey-gooey and delicious. Used all the butter and the caramels - I baked the lower layer a little longer than the top layer so it was crunchy on the bottom with the crumbly on the top. Definitely a decadent treat but so worth it for the chocolate and caramel mixture between the crunchy oats.

  • saradono 2 Nov, 2010

    Sooooo good! Not too good for you but good for your soul! Would highly reccomend!

  • gmaneat 10 Sep, 2010

    I made these for my scrapbook group in my home -- most of the ladies loved them. I need the nutrient information though!!!! Not too healthy even with oatmeal!!! :)

  • NicoleCh 7 Sep, 2010

    For those of you with the questions regarding the ease and quality of caramel ice cream topping, I twice made a similar bar recipe using jarred caramel sauce. One time I was cheap and bought the store brand. It was very runny. The other time I used Smuckers or something that was firm in the jar. That time it came out really good so it just depends on the topping you buy.

  • NicoleCh 7 Sep, 2010

    For those of you with the questions regarding the ease and quality of caramel ice cream topping, I twice made a similar bar recipe using jarred caramel sauce. One time I was cheap and bought the store brand. It was very runny. The other time I used Smuckers or something that was firm in the jar. That time it came out really good so it just depends on the topping you buy.

  • jnokleby 6 Sep, 2010

    Forgot to say, this eliminates the cream too.

  • jnokleby 6 Sep, 2010

    any recipe I get that has cubed caramels to melt, I use the caramel ice cream topping. From rolls, bars, cookies, etc Use what you need and cover the jar. No waste, much less work and expense.

  • cahquilter 3 Oct, 2009

    I took these treats to a recent quilting retreat and brought home only crumbs -- and not many of those. I made the receipe exactly as printed and they were great. Many of my friends wanted the recipe.

  • jasmine00 16 Nov, 2008

    I've made these twice (after requesting the recipe from someone who made them for me) and they're wonderful. I found them to be too crumbly when I only used 2 sticks of butter. I preferred them with all the butter, unfortunately. Unlike most cookies, I think these are better once fully cooled, even the next day. I also found that they come out just as well if you melt the butter into the oatmeal mixture as they do when you cut it in.

  • rinad8244 1 Oct, 2008

    I Just made these last night, and brought them into work. Everyone LOVES them! The salty and the sweet is wonderful. I made them with 2 sticks of butter and mini morsels, instead of the larger ones. Make a double batch and bring copies of the recipe, because it will all be gone within minutes.

  • leenerkat 14 Sep, 2008

    These were so easy to make. I made them with my 4 year old. They are delicious. I only used 2 sticks of butter rather than 2 1/2. Big hit with the family! I will make them again for sure!

  • cindean 14 Sep, 2008

    I added the pecans as suggested by angelam, and they were fabulous. I agree: Cut these small because of the richness! These are definitely a "do again" for my family.

  • memorysketch 14 Sep, 2008

    This is really, really easy to fix - and there's no multi-tasking to be done, unless you're like me and cooked dinner at the same time. Even incorporating the butter into the dry mixture was easy: I just stuck my (clean!) hands in and squished till all was mixed in. A word of advice, though? Cut them pretty small: they're REALLY sweet. One goes a long way.

  • lovetocook2 13 Sep, 2008

    These are so easy and so good! I made them last weekend for a tailgate party and I have already had requests to make them for future events! And GOOD NEWS: Kraft now makes "Caramel Bits" so you don't have to unwrap the caramel candies! It saves a TON of time!

  • lovetocook2 13 Sep, 2008

    These are sooo easy and so good! I took them to a tailgate party last weekend and already have requests to bring them to future events. And GOOD NEWS: Kraft now makes Caramel Bits which are caramel chips so you don't have to unwrap the caramels! It saves a Ton of time!

  • pmfromva2 12 Sep, 2008

    9-12-08 time 3:35 pm

  • angelam 10 Sep, 2008

    Freckleface- I have always melted my butter prior to adding it to the dry ingredients...and only use 2 sticks. It makes a moist crumbly mixture that can be pressed into the pan.

    QueenVictoria- I weighed out the caramel, it was 14oz (mass not volume)

  • GAYLED3 9 Sep, 2008

    I made these for a food day at work and they are truly awesome! I was happy to read angelam's comments as I thought that 2 1/2 cups of butter was quite a bit! The next time I'll use two sticks or less. I also thought that chopped pecans would make them even more special.

  • QueenVictoria 9 Sep, 2008

    Does anyone know what the volume of 48 melted caramels is? ! cup? 1 1/2 cups???

  • freckleface 8 Sep, 2008

    Did anyone test this recipe before recommending for publication?
    I made these this recipe yesterday and was very disappointed with the results.
    The bars were hard and very crumbly. Not at all moist and chewy like an oatmeal cookie typically is. More like a dry granola bar!
    Not worth your time or efforts.

  • angelam 8 Sep, 2008

    I have been making these since 1975... they are a favorite of all. Their original name is Oatmeal Carmelitas and they were a winning entry of the Pillsbury Bakeoff. In this recipe 1c chopped pecans were layered on top of the chocolate chips to add an amazing extra taste. You can also substitute evaporated milk for the cream and use 1/2 lb butter witout any loss of taste or texture.

  • Karabizera 7 Sep, 2008

    These are AWESOME! Such a good, easy, staple to add to your cookie list.

  • Karabizera 7 Sep, 2008

    These are AWESOME! Such a good, easy, staple to add to your cookie list.

  • audreystulberger 6 Sep, 2008

    In answer to kerryday, I was thinking about making these with gluten-free flour as we also have celiac issues in our family. Also, to make them gluten free be careful about which oatmeal brand you use as some are gluten free and others are not.

  • parker429 6 Sep, 2008

    In answer to Patcash, I think omitting the chips and caramel would give you a less sweet, probably delicious bar form of oatmeal cookies..Although this recipe sounds delish ( a little sweet sounding to me) as it is, I myself, would probably try both versions. And again, no silly questions, you just want to know.. enjoy

  • tamtamr 5 Sep, 2008

    I have made these before using brown sugar Splenda, Sugar Free ice cream caramel sauce, and sugar free chocolate chips and they are great!! You do add the flour to the caramel sauce and it sets up very nice.

  • kerryday 4 Sep, 2008

    Has anyone made this recipe without the flour? We have to make celiac friendly recipes at home, and could probably use gluten-free flour, but was wondering if there's an alternative to the flour, or would the recipe work without it.

  • patcash 4 Sep, 2008

    I have a silly question also. dbsander says that as a diabetic she likes this cookie because she loves bar cookies and she could leave out the chips and caramel. Without these items what kind of cookie would she have???

  • natersmom28 4 Sep, 2008

    Hello. There's never silly questions. Yes, you would omit the heavy cream.

  • caitylynn1122 4 Sep, 2008

    This might be a silly question, but for those of you who have used the ice cream topping before, do you omit the cream, and use just the caramel topping and add in the flour? Thanks!

  • Loral 4 Sep, 2008

    This is very similar to cookies called "carmelitas." If you go into practically any cooking site, you can find this recipe - which, by the way, DOES use the caramel sauce. I have used both the regular and reduced fat caramel sauces and they both do a good job. People love this cookie.... rich, chewy and you don't need more than a few bites to feel very satisfied.

  • dbsander 4 Sep, 2008

    As a diabetic, these look packable for lunches and I could easily skip the chips and caramel. I love bar cookies because they are just so much easier than rolled or dropped. As soon as the weather cools down I'll give them a try.
    I agree that sundae sauce probably won't work and would be too gooey since it's fairly liquid even at room temperature.

  • kscott 4 Sep, 2008

    These are yummy and a similar recipe won the Pillsbury bakeoff many years ago. You can use the ice cream topping, but you should add 3T flour. It works very well. I have also seen walnuts added to the recipe which is very good.

  • NatLizAn 4 Sep, 2008

    Valis question about the ice cream topping. I always wonder the same thing. I haven't tried to make these yet (they look delicious though) but I think ice cream topping may be a bit runny and not set properly. But like I said I haven't made them so who knows. You could put them in the microwave instead of the stovetop.

  • angiekat29 4 Sep, 2008

    I don't think carmel sundae sauce would work because it is not firm enough. It might end up as a soft mess that doesn't harden.

  • RTT 4 Sep, 2008

    Is this really 48 caramels (like craft caramels?). Seems like a lot!

  • mamaccurry 18 Aug, 2008

    go out and buy it if you are in a big hurry

  • MWetzel 18 Aug, 2008

    What a great combo, I LOVE this bar! So simple but impressive. I used butterscotch

  • LADundore 7 Aug, 2008

    Has anyone tried this using caramel sundae sauce (ice cream topping) in place of cooking the caramels and cream? Just wondering, from a time-saving perspective!

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