Cookie Swap: Chocolate Caramelitas

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When it comes to holiday cookies, it’s easy to fall into a rut and make the same ones over and over again every year. I’ve been trying to challenge myself over the past couple of years to try some new recipes and I’ve been doing a pretty good job. This year, The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap seemed like a really fun way to continue challenging myself, while also getting to try some new cookies! Plus, getting 3 packages in the mail is right up my alley since i LOVE getting mail.

I spent a lot of time looking at Christmas cookie websites trying to find a fun new recipe to try and when I came across these, I immediately fell in love.

I’m a sucker for pretty much any baked good with oats in it, and I kept finding myself being drawn to recipes with pecans…which is weird, because I never buy them. I also never buy caramels. I didn’t even know they had vanilla flavored caramels. But indeed they do.

A few notes:
-The original recipe says this makes 48 bars…but unless you’re cutting them into like microscopic 1 inch squares, it does not make that many. Mine made just over 2 dozen and then I made another 1/2 batch so that I would have enough.
-I added Christmas m&ms just because they’re super festive and I love them.
-I used skim milk. I think any kind would do.
-I ran a little low on caramels on the last batch so I melted some butterscotch chips in with the caramel and it worked really well.
-LET THESE COOL COMPLETELY before trying to remove them from the pan or they will be a hot, gooey mess.

Chocolate Caramelitas

by Lindsay L

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 30 min

Keywords: bake dessert oats chocolate caramel Christmas bars

Ingredients (9×13 pan)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
  • 1  cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 8 oz vanilla caramels, unwrapped
  • 3 Tbsp skim milk
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 c m&ms
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan. Grease foil; set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, soda, and salt. Add melted butter and oil and mix until crumbly. Set aside half of the mixture for the topping. Press the other half into the bottom of prepared baking pan.

3. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine caramels and milk. Microwave on 50 percent power (medium) for 4 minutes or until caramels are melted and mixture is smooth, stirring twice.

4. Sprinkle chocolate chips, m&ms and pecans over crust in pan. Drizzle evenly with melted caramel mixture and top with reserved crumb mixture.

5. Bake for 25-30minutes or until the top is light golden brown. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use the foil to lift uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars.

*Optional: these can also be made with 1 cup butter instead of 1/2 c butter, 1/2 c oil.

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These are definitely going on the to make again list!

I sent these bars to three fabulous ladies. I hope they enjoyed them. Make sure to stop by and check out their amazing blogs:

Renee @ The Way To My Family’s Heart
Cara @ The Boys Made Me Do It
Heather @ Bake It, Create It, Love It

And here’s a look at the cookies I got!

Walnut Cookies from Melissa @ I Was Born to Cook
Peanut Butter Blossoms from Dr. Hbar- Chronicles of an Academic Foodie
Almond Joy to the Worlds from I don’t know who! There was no card inside!


Today’s workout:

I found this workout thanks to Lindsay who tweeted about how awesome it was. Without an interval timer, I decided it would be too much of a hassle to switch between my timer and the list of things I was supposed to be doing so I did reps instead of time, and knocked off the last set to make it still take 25 minutes.

This took me exactly 25 minutes. I didn’t rest between any of the moves within each set and rested no more than 30 seconds between sets. It definitely worked up a sweat and it was just bodyweight so there were no weights to worry about. I’ll be doing this one again. I want to do it the original way with timed intervals and see which way I like better.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. I did not know there were vanilla caramels either! I love the flavors in these bars and how festive they look!
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic recently posted..Delicious Dishings: Mini Cranberry-Ginger Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

  2. Your cookies (or bars?)look great and so festive. I feel terribly that someone sent you cookies and you can’t thank them, hopefully they’ll read your blog.
    Lauren Slayton recently posted..A Diet Soda a Day if the ADA has Their Way

  3. I rarely ever buy caramel things, but I do love the taste! These look awesome!!

  4. Oats, chocolate, and pecans=one of my favorite cookie combos ever! I wish I would have done this dang cookie swap! lol.
    Abby @ Abz ‘n’ Oats recently posted..Live Fit Trainer Week 4

  5. Oh my gosh those sound amazing! And I love the festive M&Ms :). I don’t usually buy caramel things, but I think I definitely would in order to make those babies.
    Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health recently posted..Stretching Series – Glutes

  6. Caramel – YUM! Glad you enjoyed my walnut cookies :)
    Melissa@IWasBornToCook recently posted..The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

  7. These were SO amazing. Like Oh. My. God. amazing. My husband bit into one and literally moaned.

    I’m so glad to have this recipe now! I’m making them tonight to take to my office Christmas party tomorrow, and I know they’ll be a huge hit!

  8. Lindsay, thanks so much for the cookies! My boys inhaled them! I guess that means they liked them :). And the Almond Joy cookies were from Jessie at I got them too and tracked her down from her return address to thank her. I loved this cookie swap!
    Renee @ The Way to My Family’s Heart recently posted..Soft Pretzel Sticks

  9. I don’t know how you could go wrong with those ingredients! Your swap partners are lucky! :)
    Claire @ Live and Love to Eat recently posted..Cookie Crazy

  10. Your cookie bars make me smile, so festive! Looks like one of your cookie swap buddies thought it was more like secret santa :-)

  11. My family loved these!! Thank you again!!
    Cara recently posted..Pecan Dreams- The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

  12. Wow the caramelitas and bars are both brilliant! And perfect for the holiday of course :) I Just saved this page lady!
    Tessa @ Amazing Asset recently posted..A Visit To The City That Never Sleeps

  13. Your cookies look delicious! My favorite are white chocolate macadamia nut :)
    Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate recently posted..Holiday Gift Guide: The Best Gifts For Runners

  14. Chocolate and caramel a match made in heaven!!
    Megan Pence recently posted..Identity Crisis Cookies – Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

  15. Oh man, these look AMAZING! I have been reading cookie posts like crazy today and I was just about to throw in the towel and then BAM! These beautiful little cookie bars waltz into my life. 😉 All of the cookies I received were AWESOME but I would loved to have received a dozen of these! :) recently posted..The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

  16. Caramelitas are one of my very favorite cookies! Love that you made them so festive with the M&Ms!

  17. Yum, they look gooey and delicious. I have a cookie swap Thursday and I haven;t decided what I’m making!
    Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles recently posted..Enlightenment Bowl

  18. I’m getting a little food picture drunk looking at all those cookies. Talk about a very merry holiday season!!
    Susan (Oliepants) recently posted..Pumpkin Scones with Spiced Glaze


  1. […] really ever eat them. To be honest, I’m not the biggest caramel fan, unless it’s in these….so I wasn’t actually sure that I was going to like this little dessert I whipped up […]

  2. […] 5. Caramelitas- I made these for a cookie swap last year and they were great! This year I decided to make them just a little bit healthier. I think they turned out just as well as the original so I’ve updated the recipe in the original post. I used 1/2 butter, 1/2 oil instead of all butter, reduced the sugar by 1/2 a cup and used 1/2 the amount of caramel. I think using the oil made the coating on the xmas m&ms spread out which made them look even more festive Next time I might try with half applesauce/half butter instead of oil to see what happens. You can find the recipe by CLICKING HERE. […]

  3. […] Carmelitas (Adapted from this recipe.) […]

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