Pumpkin Spice Carmelita Bars

with recipe video

Pumpkin Spice Carmelitas are a bar cookie baked with caramel and pumpkin spice chips in the middle of an oatmeal cookie crust. Whether for dinner guests, an after-school snack, or even a late-night treat, these bars are the perfect fall treat to satisfy a sweet tooth.

When it comes to pumpkin recipes, we can’t get enough of our Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, Baked Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, Gingerbread Pumpkin Bars, and of course…..Easy Pumpkin Pie!

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stack of three Pumpkin Spice Carmelita Bars

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Easy Pumpkin Spice Carmelitas

Carmelita bars have been a favorite at our house for a long time.  They start with a brown sugar oatmeal cookie-like base, which is baked then topped with caramel candies melted into heavy cream.

For these Pumpkin Spice Carmelita Bars, we replaced the traditional chocolate chips in traditional carmelitas, with Pumpkin Spice baking chips. The chips are sprinkled over the gooey caramel and the entire pan is topped with another layer of the oatmeal crust for an ooey-gooey bar that’s hard to resist. Carmelitas are super simple..hello! no mixer required holds well in your hand, and are ridiculously delicious…..so you may want to make a double batch.

I have to tell you, I think I like the pumpkin spice carmelitas even more than the chocolate!

Pumpkin Spice Carmelitas on a plate

What Do I Need To Make Carmelitas

Pumpkin Spice Carmelitas are loaded with everything you could ask for in a fall-flavored cookie bar.

  • melted butter
  • brown sugar – be sure to pack the brown sugar when measuring
  • vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour – use a spoon and lightly spoon the flour into your measuring cup
  • old-fashioned rolled oats – we prefer rolled oats for this recipe. Quick oats are finer and will make the cookie crust and topping thicker. Either will work, so use what you have or prefer.
  • salt
  • caramel candies, unwrapped – if you don’t want to unwrap the caramels, we often use Kraft Caramel Bits, they are ideal as baking pieces.
  • heavy cream
  • sea salt – if you don’t have sea salt, you can use kosher salt, or just skip it.  But sea salt is a wonderful companion to caramel! It helps balance out all the sweetness.
  • pumpkin spice baking chips – or semi-sweet chocolate chips if you want traditional carmelitas. *It looks like Nestle now makes Pumpkin Spice Baking Truffles, they should work just as well as the chips.

TIP: when making carmelitas, let them cool completely or they will just be a delicious gooey mess.  We usually make them the day before, but if you are in a big hurry, you can put them in the fridge for a few hours to cool.

3 Pumpkin Spice Carmelitas bars

How To Store Carmelitas

Completely cooled carmelitas can be stored in an airtight container on the counter or refrigerator up to 7 days (they NEVER last that long at our house!!). 

You can also freeze carmelitas by placing cooled bars in a zip-top bag or airtight container with parchment between layers. Store in the freezer for up to one month.

3 Pumpkin Spice Carmelita bars on a plate

They are way more than just a dessert cookie bar……. anything with that much oatmeal = breakfast in my book. Am I right?

More Carmelita Bar Recipes You Might Enjoy:

Twix Carmelitas recipe at Oh Sweet Basil

Caramel Chocolate Oatmeal Bars recipe from Roxana’s Home Baking

Oatmeal Carmelitas recipe from Buns in My Oven

Caramel-Chocolate Oatmeal Bars {Caramelitas!} recipe from Our Best Bites

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close up of a stack of 3 carmelita bars

 

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UPDATED September 2020. We spiffed up this post with more info. No changes to the original recipe, it’s still one of our favorites.

Pumpkin Spice Carmelita Bars

Pumpkin Spice Carmelita Bars

Yield: 9-12 squares
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Pumpkin Spice Carmelitas are an ooey-gooey fall treat that’s hard to resist. Super simple to make....hello! no mixer required and they are ridiculously delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted (that's 1.5 sticks or 12 tablespoons)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 11 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin spice baking chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 or 9-inch baking dish with enough foil to hang over the edges.  Spray foil with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Using a large bowl, whisk melted butter, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt, stir just until combined.
  3. Transfer approximately half of the dough mixture to the baking dish, use the back of a spoon or a clean hand press the dough down firmly and create an even, flat layer. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
  4. While crust is in the oven, make the caramel sauce by combining the heavy cream and caramels in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture constantly until all the caramels are melted and you have a thick sauce. (or microwave on high 4-5 minutes until creamy and smooth - stopping at 1 minute intervals, to stir.) Stir in sea salt and set side to cool.
  5. Once cookie crust is removed from oven, sprinkle pumpkin spice chips evenly over crust. Then carefully pour caramel sauce over the top, use a spatula to gently spread it to an even layer.
  6. Sprinkle remaining half of oatmeal mixture over the caramel layer.  Return dish to oven and bake for about 15 to 17 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.
  7. Allow to cool in pan to room temperature or overnight. (you can also cover and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours).  Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
  8. When ready to serve, use the foil overhang to remove carmelitas from pan. Place on a cutting board, remove foil and cut into squares. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week, or tightly wrap and freeze for several weeks.

Notes

swap out the pumpkin spice chips with semi-sweet chocolate chips for traditional carmelitas

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 333Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 365mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 3gSugar: 27gProtein: 3g

Nutrition information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, and freshness of ingredients used.

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photo collage of carmelita bars on a plate and stacked