Easy Espresso Oatmeal Carmelita Bars

Amy Manes
by Amy Manes
16 bars
40 min

These easy espresso oatmeal carmelita bars are a nod back to my favorite go-to snack in college – carmelita bars from Whole Foods! If you’ve ever had one then you know how ooey, gooey, and oh-so-satisfying they are! My version is loaded with oats, chocolate, and espresso powder. Drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top and you have yourself one yummy study snack! I like to use Stonewall Kitchen’s Salted Caramel Sauce, but definitely feel free to make your own at home! It’s great to make a batch of these to have on hand for busy weeks when you’re needing a sweet treat pick-me-up!

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I don’t know if you’ve ever had the carmelita bars from Whole Foods, but OH MY. They are delicious! In college, my roommate and I would ride our bikes on over to the local Whole Foods to grab a package of these delicious treats – as a reward for all of our hard studying, of course!

The other day, I was missing those gooey, chocolately carmelita bars and decided to make my own version! These easy espresso oatmeal carmelita bars are just what I needed. They are loaded with chocolate, oats, and espresso powder and topped with a generous helping of salted caramel sauce. They’re super easy to make and will satisfy any sweets craving you have. So come on! Let’s make these easy carmeltia bars!

How to Make Espresso Oatmeal Carmelita Bars

I love these carmelita bars because they are just so easy to whip up in a flash! They’d make a great after-school snack or treat when you have visitors. Who doesn’t like a gooey, chocolatey, caramel espresso cookie bar?!

You likely already have the ingredients that you need for these in your pantry, and the great thing is that you can substitute where you need to on these as long as you stick to the basic recipe! Here are a few ingredients that I think make these extra special though:

  • Quick oats vs. rolled oats – this recipe calls for 1 cup of quick oats. The reason for this is that quick oats have a finer texture and will be able to stick together like dough. Rolled oats would also work just fine if that’s all you have on hand! Just know that your carmelita bars may have more of an “oat-like” texture.
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – I think that using a less sweet chocolate in these espresso oat carmelita bars really takes them to the next level! Between the brown sugar and carmel sauce topping, these are quite sweet. So semi-sweet chocolate chips are what I’d recommend here.
  • Carmel sauce – I’ve seen recipes for carmelita bars that call for carmel squares to be mixed in. I find that this sometimes makes the final product too hard once they cool. So for this recipe, I opted to top my bars with Stonewall Kitchen’s Sea Salt Caramel Sauce. It’s soooo good! And it’s super easy – no need to make your own caramel sauce! Definitely feel free if you want to, but I wanted easy-peasy for these bars. And really, any old caramel sauce from the grocery store would do. I just love the sweet and salty flavors of Stonewall’s caramel sauce!
  • Espresso powder – I definitley wouldn’t reccomend leaving this part out. I mean, these are ESPRESSO carmelita bars after all! I really like this brand of espresso powder that you can find at most grocery stores or on Amazon. A good substitute would be instant coffee if you can’t find espresso powder, but I’d definitely get a bottle of this stuff if you make my recipes! I love using espresso powder in most of my chocolate recipes (and I have a lot of chocolate recipes on the blog!)

I hope that you enjoy these easy espresso oatmeal carmelita bars! They really are great for any time of year and any occasion.

As always, be sure to tag me in your photos on Instagram if you make my recipe! I love to see what you are baking.

Easy Espresso Oatmeal Carmelita Bars
Recipe details
  • 16  bars
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup store bought or homemade caramel sauce

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper, with the edges of the parchment paper hanging off the sides for easy removal of the bars.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, espresso powder, salt, baking soda, and melted butter. Mix until combined and the mixture is crumbly.
Press half of the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then let cool for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and pecans evenly over the crust. Drizzle caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and pecans (you may need to heat your caramel sauce up to drizzle depending on how thick it is). Sprinkle remaining oat crumble mixture over the top.
Return bars to oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the bars are set and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
  • Bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Amy Manes
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  • Lynn Lynn on Mar 30, 2022

    These look fantastic. What brand of espresso powder do you recommend, as you mentioned your favorite, but didn’t list the name. Thank you!