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Carmelita Brownies

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1-1/2 (11 ounce) bags caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 (18 ounce) boxes brownie mixes
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Carmelita Brownies

Brownies + Oatmeal Carmelitas = the best bar cookie mashup ever!

  • Serves 16
  • Easy

About This Recipe

Have you ever said something that you thought was a sophisticated answer to a question, but it wasn’t? Bear with me. There’s a story behind these Carmelita Brownies.

I have always had a raging sweet tooth. One now legendary family story about me is when we drove to California one Christmas vacation when I was about 16. My mom and I had made tons of Christmas cookies to take with us. We were driving a station wagon, which may seem like an offhand remark, but plays a major role in this legend.

So with five of us, my parents were in the front seat, and my two sisters and I took turns sitting in the back seat and in this little space in the “way back,” as we called it, amidst all the luggage.

I loved the “way back” spot because it was private and I could read in peace.

Now, during one of my stints in the “way back” I discovered that the Christmas cookies were in a package right next to me.


I ate all of them.


All of them.

I don’t really remember much of that vacation, but it’s safe to say I wasn’t very popular.

And yet, I remained 120 pounds.

Go figure.

So, the thing I said I thought was sophisticated and wasn’t? Someone asked me if I liked dill or sweet pickles. I said sweet just because I thought it was more sophisticated. And that person said, “well, that figures. You have the biggest sweet tooth of anyone I have ever known.”

Which brings me to this recipe.

Oatmeal Carmelitas are, quite honestly, the best bar cookie in the world. Because of my raging sweet tooth, I could eat a whole pan. I haven’t, but I could.

But I thought I could make them better. So this recipe was born. It’s the Oatmeal Carmelita chocolate chips, caramel, and oatmeal streusel topping on a brownie. Drooling? You should be. These bars are to die.

Enough talking. Go make them.

Just don’t eat them all in the back of a station wagon.

Tips for the best Carmelita Brownies:

  • As always, measure the flour correctly. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level off with the back of a knife.
  • Mix the streusel mixture just until it’s crumbly. Don’t overman or it will be tough.
  • Caramels used to be sold in a 14-ounce package; the package size is now 11 ounces. So for the recipe to be correct, you have to use more than one package. Don’t substitute bottled caramel sauce for the melted caramels.

Why this recipe works:

  • Oatmeal Carmelitas is one of the best bar cookies ever. Combine them with chewy and fudgy brownies for a spectacular treat.
  • The brownies are partially baked before the caramel and streusel are added, otherwise they would sink into the brownies.
  • I always use Kraft caramels because they are reliably good.

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Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 13" x 9" baking pan with nonstick baking spray containing flour.


Combine the unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 3 minutes. Remove the stir until smooth.


Now combine the brownie mix, water, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix for 50 strokes. Spread in prepared pan. Bake for 27 minutes.


While the brownies are baking, combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix well.


Add the melted butter and mix until crumbly.


When the 27 minutes are up, take the brownies out of the oven. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips.


Pour the caramel carefully and evenly over the chocolate chips. Take your time.


Then sprinkle the oatmeal streusel mixture over all.


Return the pan to the oven and bake for another 18 minutes - no more.


Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack. Store covered at room temperature for as long as they last - should be about a day or two.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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