Making Tuesday a little more special and sweet with these Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars. These easy homemade oatmeal cookie bars with chocolate chunks and a warm gooey “caramel” like center are the perfect way to bring something delicious to the average weekday. They’re made with a mix of pantry ingredients…oats, flour, butter, maple, vanilla, and a reduced amount of sugar. Most importantly, everyone LOVES these bars…they’re easy to make, difficult to mess up…and they always turn out GREAT!

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars | halfbakedharvest.com

So, originally these were going to be last Friday’s dessert, but then at the last minute, I panicked and convinced myself that no-one would care about oatmeal bars. NO ONE. So I switched things up…and I LOVE the caramel cake I created so much. Like so much, it’s one of my favorite cakes. I’m so happy I came up with it.

But the funny thing? I sent the oatmeal bars I had made home for my family to enjoy. The next morning, all I heard about from every last person currently staying at their house was just how delicious they were.

I mean, I knew they were good, but I have to say I was a little shocked. Someone even said that these bars are their new favorite dessert. Sooo, I clearly needed to rethink my stance on these bars. And now? With pretty photos and a very ooey-gooey dessert bar to share…I AM EXCITED.

I think it was all meant to play out this way. We got cake on Friday, which was perfect. And easy, sweet oatmeal bars on Tuesday, which feels very right to me.

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars | halfbakedharvest.com

The Back Story

My mom would often bake up oatmeal cookies. These bars totally remind me of something she’d bake up on Friday nights. They feel very “old school”, just like Friday’s cake and I’m loving it.

The idea is based on the dessert bars known as Carmelitas…oatmeal bars with chocolate chips and caramel in the center. I don’t love, love caramel. Especially the overly sugary store-bought candies. So instead of using real caramel, I used my trusty maple-based “caramel” sauce. It’s just as good but much less sugary. And to be honest? We think it’s better than real caramel.

So I put my maple-based caramel in the middle of the oatmeal bars and created my own version of Carmelitas.

Not only are these really easy to make, but they’re a true delight. Especially if you have the privilege of enjoying one warm, right out of the oven. DELICIOUS.

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars | halfbakedharvest.com

Here are the simple details.

This recipe requires just one bowl, a pot, and a couple of spoons. It’s completely no-fuss. Start to finish these will take less than an hour. You can’t mess these bars up. They’re that easy and they always turn out great.

In your mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Now, add all of the wet ingredients. Mix away until you have a crumbly dough. Stir in plenty of dark chocolate chunks, then press about half the dough into a baking dish. Bake for a bit to help the bottom layer set.

While that layer is baking, make the gooey layer. I use maple for sweetness, butter for creaminess, and a pinch of salt to create a silky, smooth, sweet, and salty sauce. As soon as the bottom layer has finished baking, pour over the gooey sauce, then crumble on the remaining dough.

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars | halfbakedharvest.com

Now finish the baking…

Smell the wonderfulness? Do you see the melty chocolate?

I know that nothing is perfect, but these bars are pretty close. Every bite is just perfectly sweet, chocolatey, and very gooey. When you eat them a little warm, they’re truly addicting. Fair warning…the salt on top really does keep you going back for seconds and thirds.

What I love about these sweet bars is that they’re so easy to make. They require no chilling and truly take almost no time at all. AND…I usually have these ingredients on hand. So when it’s Friday night and the urge for a deliciously warm chocolatey treat comes on? These bars are easy to mix up and deliciously satisfy the urge.

They’re great for all these cold, cold snowy days many of us have been having! This is very cheesy of me to say, but they’ll really warm you right up!

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other easy winter desserts? Here are some favorites.

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Healthier Baked Hot Chocolate Doughnuts

5 Minute Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread Mug Cake

Lastly, if you make these Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 12 bars
Calories Per Serving: 336 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Gooey Caramel

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8x8 inch square baking dish with parchment paper. 
    2. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until the dough is moist and all the ingredients are combined. The dough will be crumbly. Mix in the chocolate chunks. Press half of the dough evenly into the bottom of a prepared baking dish. Bake 10 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, make the "caramel". In a medium pot, melt together the butter, brown sugar, and maple over medium heat. Gently boil, stirring constantly until thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in a pinch of salt.
    4. Remove the bars from the oven and pour the caramel over top. Crumble on the remaining oatmeal dough. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool completely, then cut into bars...or eat them while warm and gooey with a sprinkle of sea salt on top.

Gooey Chocolate Oatmeal Bars | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These are amazing!! I had everything on hand and threw together quickly. I am thinking next batch I will experiment and add bourbon to the caramel sauce and maybe some pecans?!?!? Love HBH recipes.

    1. Hey Amy,
      Happy Sunday!! I am thrilled this recipe was enjoyed. Thanks so much for giving it a go! xxTieghan

  2. Question: How should these be stored and for how long (not that I think they will last long, haha, but in case I want to make them a day or more ahead for an event)?

    1. Hey Colleen,
      I store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 1 week. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  3. Fantastic, but Tieghan’s claim in the first paragraph that the sugar is reduced is beyond INACCURATE! A total of 1 cup and a quarter of brown sugar plus another quarter cup of maple syrup IS BEYOND OVER the TOP, regarding sugars. Add 2 entire sticks of butter to this recipe and you have the fixings for a real old fashioned heart attack. DEElicious, but please be honest, as these are TRULY fattening, calorie dense, unhealthy dessert bars for special occasions, NOT random Tuesday nights.

  4. Yum! Question, can I omit the Carmel (sounds delicious though) and bake all the dough at once for 25-30min? Thx!

    1. Hey Carrisa,
      Yes, that will work just fine. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    Holy hell these bars were delicious, Tieghan!!! 🙂 I’m a big fan of your work, your detailed instructions + your postings. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hey Leah,
      I am so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Made recipe as written. I did use butter instead of coconut oil. These bars turned out perfect. So perfect in fact, that my 17 year old son said they tasted like heaven! 🙂

    1. Hey Debbie,
      So so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try!! xxTieghan

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