These Carmelitas are one of the ultimate cookie bar recipes! Two layers of oatmeal cookie dough sandwich layers of both rich chocolate chips and luxurious caramel, and then everything bakes together into heavenly decadence. These cookie bars are dangerously delicious!
1/2tsp (scant)flaky sea salt,such as Maldon (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking dish (and optionally line with sheets of parchment paper if you'd prefer to lift bars out to cut, then butter parchment).
Pour cream over caramels in a microwave safe bowl, heat mixture on HIGH power in 30 second intervals, stirring well after each interval until melted and smooth (alternately you can combine the two ingredients in a saucepan and melt over low heat), set aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda and table salt.
Place butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat butter in microwave until melted. Stir vanilla extract into melted butter then pour mixture over dry ingredients. Using a fork, stir well to evenly coat.
Press half of the oat mixture evenly into the bottom of prepared baking dish (layer will be thin) then bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips into an even layer over baked cookie crust, then pour caramel mixture evenly over chocolate chip layer.
Sprinkle optional flaky sea salt evenly over caramel layer (if using), then sprinkle top evenly with remaining oat mixture.
Bake in preheated oven 16 - 20 minutes until lightly golden. Cool completely on a wire rack (it will take a few hours. To speed up the cooling you can chill in refrigerator).
Store in an airtight container in a single layer in refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.
You can't substitute instant or steel cut oats for the old fashioned oats. They won't give you the same texture!