Caramelitas are squares of delicious buttery oatmeal cookie base with white chocolate chips and caramel sauce sandwiched in the middle all topped with cinnamon sugar! The result is a snickerdoodle-lovers dream!
It’s no secret that I’m a big chocolate desserts fan. It’s true! I’m usually always craving something chocolaty. But whipping up a delicious cinnamon dessert like my Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake or some Cinnamon Roll Cookies makes for one happy Whitney!
Why This Recipe Works
- Perfectly chewy caramelitas. These caramelitas are soft and moist! When you bite into these beauties, you’ll get chewy oatmeal cookie layers in every bite!
- White chocolate and caramel filling. The white chocolate chips and caramel sauce sandwiched between the caramelita dough is the ultra combination! When warm, the chips are softened and the caramel sauce seeps into the dough.
- The ultimate cinnamon dessert (aka happiness in one bite). Are you a snickerdoodles fan? If you are, you will LOVE this cinnamon sugar caramelitas recipe! If not, that’s how my sister is! She doesn’t like snickerdoodle at all, but this carmelitas recipe is her new favorite dessert! (Doesn’t hurt to add white chocolate chips and caramel sauce!)
- Flour: While I haven’t made this caramelitas recipe with gluten free flour, you should get similar results by swapping out the AP flour for gluten free flour in a 1:1 ratio. Oats are typically gluten free (just be sure to get a certified GF brand), so with the switch, these will be gluten free caramelitas!
- Quick Cook Oats: You need quick oats. This recipe won’t work with old fashioned oats.
- Light Brown Sugar: The light brown sugar provides the sweetness and the moistness for this caramelita bars recipe.
- Ground Cinnamon: Not only do we have cinnamon in these snickerdoodle caramelitas, but they are topped with a cinnamon sugar topping!
- Unsalted Butter: The unsalted butter gives us the ability to control the amount of salt in the recipe. Using it softened will help the dough come together much more easily. This is an eggless dessert recipe, so the butter is what will hold things together.
- White Chocolate Chips: The white chocolate chips are sandwiched in between the caramelita dough, combined with the caramel sauce. When warm, the chocolate chips are soft and delicious!
- Caramel Sauce: I used a 14 oz jar of caramel sauce, which is about 1 cup. Feel free to use homemade caramel sauce if you’d like!
- Combine the dry ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. To the bowl of a stand mixer, add 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/8 cups quick cook oats, 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp salt. Whisk to combine.
- Add the softened butter. Add 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter to the bowl and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed until the butter is fully incorporated. (The mixture won’t look like a traditional cookie dough; it will be crumbly.)
- Press 3/4 dough into baking dish. Line a 9×9-inch (or 8×8-inch) square baking dish with parchment paper. Take 3/4 of the caramelita bars dough and press it into an even layer in the bottom of the dish.
- Bake for the first time. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Make the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place 2 T sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix to combine. Set aside.
- Add the white chocolate and caramel layers. Remove the caramelitas from the oven after the 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 1/2 cups white chocolate chips evenly in the dish. Drizzle 1 cup caramel sauce on top.
- Place remaining dough on top. Take the rest of the oat mixture and either crumble in on top or gently press it on top, making sure to cover everything. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top.
- Bake again. Place the oatmeal caramelitas in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool before slicing. Enjoy!
If you don’t have a 9×9-inch square pan you can use an 8×8-inch pan. The caramelita bars will be a tad thicker. If you use the 8 inch pan you will not need to adjust the baking times.
Don’t be alarmed that the dough doesn’t come together like a normal chocolate chip cookie dough would.
Lastly, crumble the remaining caramelita dough over the caramel. You don’t need to press the dough into the caramel, but you can if you’d like. I evened the top by gently using the palm of my hand.
The caramelita bars need to set up otherwise you won’t be able to cut into them (the white chocolate and ooey gooey caramel will seep out!).
I let the bars sit at room temperature for 45 minutes and then place it in the fridge for 2 hours. This amount of time should result in a set bar, but still have a soft white chocolate interior.
Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing
To store these cinnamon sugar caramelitas, place them in an airtight container. They will keep at room temperature for 5-6 days. Or you can store them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for better results.
I love placing a bar in the microwave for 8-10 seconds (depending on the size) to warm them up a little! It gets the caramel and the white chocolate chips the perfect softness! You’ll love it.
I haven’t tried freezing caramelitas (because honestly they don’t even last long enough to have any to freeze!), but if you’d like to, you can! Let the bars cool completely, then tightly wrap in plastic wrap and store in a ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw.
Then I suggest warming them in the microwave a tad as suggested above!
Yes! They’ll freeze just like any other bars or cookies. Let cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Freeze for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight.
Yes you can! I used store-bought caramel sauce for these to make things easier.
Yes you can, but we need them in liquid form (we need to be able to drizzle the caramel!) I would use about 30 caramel candy squares with about 1/2 cup heavy cream. Heat over medium low heat until melted and smooth. Stir constantly so things don’t burn!
No. Old-fashioned oats are bigger, so they won’t form as consistent of a dough. The smaller, quick oats, size will give you much better results!
The dough is crumbly because there aren’t any eggs. This is an eggless dessert. The softened butter helps hold the mixture together. This is why it’s important to press the dough into the bottom of the baking dish. This will help the dough stay together so it doesn’t fall apart when you pick it up.
You can, but remember, these have cinnamon in them! So if you want to opt for chocolate, I would consider removing the cinnamon from the cookie dough, using semi-sweet chocolate chips (or milk chocolate chips) instead of white and then not adding the cinnamon sugar topping.
More Cinnamon Recipes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/8 cups quick cook oats
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar - packed
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter - softened to room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups white chocolate chips - (about 16 oz)
- 14 oz jar of caramel sauce - (about 1 cup)
Cinnamon Sugar topping
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 9×9 inch square pan with parchment paper, set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, quick cook oats, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the softened butter, and using the paddle attachment mix on low speed until the dough forms. The mixture will appear crumbly and won't come together like a typical cookie dough.
- Press ¾ of the dough in the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
- While that’s in the oven, in a small bowl combine the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the white chocolate chips evenly overtop. Drizzle the caramel overtop of the white chocolate chips.
- Crumble the remaining dough over the caramel, making sure you’ve covered everything evenly. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture overtop. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before slicing and serving.