These Monster Cookie Carmelitas are oatmeal cookie bars fully loaded with a peanut butter caramel, chocolate chips and miniature M&M’s for a fun twist on two classics: carmelitas and monster cookies!
I cannot believe September is this week! Although it will mean nothing in the grand scheme of, well, anything. Least of all weather-wise.
At least we’re one step closer to Christmas. Yeah, I dropped the holly jolly C-word. And I won’t apologize for it.
In the meantime, I’m cooking up all sorts of cozy recipes for fall or the prequel to fall, and those include these bad boys. Let’s just say they are one of my better harebrained ideas.
Monster Cookie Carmelitas
First, let’s break down what the heck a monster cookie carmelita is, anyway. Actually, it’s two different desserts mashed into one concept: carmelitas, which are caramel and chocolate-filled oatmeal cookie bars, and monster cookies, which are oatmeal-based cookies loaded with chocolate, peanut butter and M&M’s. Since they have similarities between them (chocolate, oats), and caramel and peanut butter go well together, I figured this would be a culinary match made in heaven.
And I was right!
The base is essentially an oatmeal cookie that we’ll bake in a square pan. You’ll throw down your first layer using half of the dough, and bake it for a little bit to set. Then you’ll add your caramel layer, which consists of caramel squares melted with a little heavy cream and with some creamy peanut butter stirred in.
Once your caramel layer is on, you’ll sprinkle on your chocolate chips and miniature M&M’s, followed by the remaining bits of cookie dough.
Bake it up, and you have these gloriously gooey bars!
Success Tips for Monster Cookie Carmelitas
- When working with caramel, things are bound to get sticky. I recommend lining your baking pan with foil or parchment and greasing the foil or parchment paper with nonstick spray to be extra cautious.
- These bars cut best when they have properly cooled and had time to sit at room temperature. I would not attempt to cut them when they are still warm, as the caramel layer is heavy and they are still kind of fragile and gooey when room temperature. You can always briefly refrigerate before cutting, but I recommend serving anything with caramel at room temperature so as not to crack a tooth.
- Bars can be kept for up to 5 days at room temperature, if stored airtight.
These bars are hearty, chocolaty, absolutely bursting with gooey goodness from the buttery caramel and peanut butter filling and are such a fun twist between two classic desserts. Now, who wants some of these Monster Cookie Carmelitas?
Monster Cookie Carmelitas
- 3/4 cup salted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 11 oz Kraft caramel bits (or caramel squares, unwrapped)
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 Tbsp creamy peanut butter (not the natural kind)
- 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup miniature M&M's, plus 2 Tbsp
- Preheat oven to 350℉. Line an 8x8 light metal square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, extending the sides of the foil or parchment paper over the edges of the pan. Spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, oats, flour, and baking soda together until well blended. Press half of the dough into the prepared pan in an even layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just barely set. Remove from oven, but keep oven on.
- While crust bakes, prepare your caramel filling. In a medium microwaveable bowl, add the caramel bits and heavy cream. Microwave on HIGH power for 30-40 second intervals, stirring until mixture is smooth and melted. Stir in the peanut butter and whisk until combined and cohesive.
- Pour the caramel filling over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with both the chocolate chips and 1/2 cup miniature M&M's. Crumble the remaining oatmeal cookie dough evenly over the caramel filling layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp miniature M&M's over the top oatmeal cookie crust.
- Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the center is light golden brown and appears set. If it jiggles slightly, that's okay; but it should not be sloshing around in the pan. Cool completely to room temperature, then you may cut into squares or refrigerate for about an hour for easier slicing. I recommend serving these at room temperature due to the caramel.
These are so unbelievably gooey and delicious.. I know you’re going to go nuts for them!
Have a super sweet day!