Oatmeal Caramelitas


This recipe is 47 years old. It was the 1967 18th Pillsbury Bake-off winning recipe, created by Erlyce Larson from Kennedy, Minnesota.

In fact, it’s quite a popular recipe, but I share it with you under protest. Well, maybe not protest, because I’ve been making them for years and years…and they are actually a favorite of mine.

So, let me be clear.
I’ve never understood the name.
…and….I’m not sure I like it.

Oatmeal Caramelita.

It’s kind of like my name.

I’ve grown accustomed throughout the years, that when I’m introduced to someone new…. We shake hands, and right at that same moment, I receive a confused look from the other person, and they say … “I’m sorry, what is your name?” … “Prudy or Pru” I’ll answer… “Prudence”. It never fails, they say my name a couple of times as if they’re trying on a pair of shoes that they’re not sure that will fit them right. Sometimes it rolls off their tongue easily… and then there are people who truly struggle.

Trudy, Judy, Purdy, and Pam. I’ve been called all of these, many, many times.

I understand that.
It’s a different name that their brain can’t wrap itself around, so the signals to the tongue get all mixed up.

So, like those people who struggle with my name, I have struggled with the Oatmeal Caramelita name. In my simple mind, it just doesn’t fit. All I want to ask is “Erlyce, my friend… what made you come up with that name?”

I mean, I know why my parents came up with my name. I was named after my beautiful grandmother, Prudence.
The fact that I don’t care for the name is truly nothing against Erlyce. She’s probably a very nice lady…and we’d probably be great friends (Well, maybe not after I’ve just rejected her cookie name publicly…I’m so sorry Erlyce) if we ever met. And like I said, the name has no impact on my admiration for the cookie bar itself. I love it.

I don’t know why I don’t like the name, I just cannot explain it. Maybe it’s because the chocolate chips and walnuts are nowhere referenced in the name. Maybe because my brain puts the “ita” with a fruity frozen drink, or a pretty girl’s name…but not an oatmeal caramel chocolate chip nut bar.

I’m sure Erlyce worked hard to come up with a name for her cookie bars.
Or maybe she didn’t. Maybe she knew instantly…
Maybe her daughter’s name is Caramelita. Or maybe her grandmother’s.

Or maybe the word caramelita sounded exotic to her.
I respect that.
I respect all of that.

Trust me. Coming from a girl with a funny name myself, I know that I don’t have much room to talk.
I don’t know….I guess that Erlyce picked that name because she loved it….and since they’ve been caramelitas for 47 years, I can’t see any other name for them. I suppose it does fit. It’s just hard to roll off my tongue.

I guess that it doesn’t really matter what they’re called…they are a delicious cookie bar…and…I’ll still continue to make them, because I love them. And truly… the oatmeal and caramel are the stars of the show.

So, I’ll just grin and bear the name… Oatmeal Caramelita… and say it a few times, hoping that my brain and tongue will finally agree….while I enjoy every last bite of them.
And today I’m sharing this recipe at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #26, where I happen to be co-hosting with Jess from Cooking is My Sport! I am so thrilled to be co-hosting with Jess. This beautiful girl is truly inspirational with all of her amazing recipes..and the stories that she shares with her recipes are always fun, but passionate at the same time. Her words show the love that she has for cooking.

A special thank you to Angie for hosting Fiesta Friday! Now here is a girl who is truly an artist when it comes to the culinary scene. Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener, is just beautiful. Not only are her recipes delicious, but they’re show stoppers… Awe inspiring.

I hope that you’ll stop by and see all of the delicious recipes that everyone has brought to the table this week!
….AND….If you are a blogger and haven’t had the chance to link up, now is the time! If you are new to this party, or even new to blogging…we welcome you to join us! It is a wonderful way to meet other blogger friends, and gain exposure and views! Please feel free to contact me, Jess, or Angie if you have any questions! We are here to help, and look forward to meeting you!!

Please be sure to link your posts to Angie’s blog, as well as my blog so that we know that you have arrived! It’s as simple as clicking on the “Click to Join” button right here…

Life is good…it’s a “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover name. What’s inside…truly…is what matters…” kind of good.


Oatmeal Caramelitas
Makes a 9×13” pan

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 – 1/4 cups butter, melted
14 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
½ cup evaporated milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, oats, baking soda, and salt. Pour in the melted butter, and stir until you have a crumbly mixture.

Press half of the crust mixture into the baking dish into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from oven. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts over the baked crust.

While the dough is baking, combine the evaporated milk and caramels in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir the mixture constantly until all the caramels are melted into a thick sauce. Let sit at room temperature until the crust comes out of the oven. It doesn’t have to cool completely!
Pour the caramel sauce over the chocolate chips and nuts. I usually pour it in rows, so that it covers the whole top. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to spread it with a spatula…the caramel will melt and it will end up spreading!

Sprinkle the remaining dough over the caramel, so that it covers the whole top.

Bake until the top is golden brown, about another 15 minutes or so. Remove from oven, and let cool completely.

Cut into squares. These can be kept at room temperature if you like them softer…or in the refrigerator if you like them a little on the harder side. Personally, I like them at room temperature!


131 thoughts on “Oatmeal Caramelitas

  1. I have to agree with you, I can’t wrap my tongue around that word. I’m glad I’m alone because I’ve been saying “caramelita” over and over trying to figure it out, it just doesn’t roll off the tongue does it? But despite that these do look wonderful, the name can be forgiven I think.
    Also, I love the name Prudence 🙂

    • Yep, that’s what I think too. I’m not a fan of the name, although someone else had mentioned that there were called “Las Caramelita’s” who used to sell baked good to raise money. It kind of makes sense now! Thank you so much…it was a rough name to grow up with, but I can’t see me being named any other name at this point in my life.. ❤

    • Thank you so much Ashley Kate! They’re a pretty good cookie bar, and even if you don’t make desserts all that often, it’s a great quick dessert to bring to a party. I did stop by your blog! It’s an awesome blog, and I look forward to getting to know you. ❤ Thanks so much for stopping by, I'm so happy you did!

  2. Great post! I was kind of wondering about the name ERlyce… My best friend in college was named Prudence, so I’m familiar with the name. Although she was always Prudence. Love these bars, no matter what they’re called!

    • Haha! I wondered about her name too… 🙂 Definite family name, wouldn’t you say? I have a cousin Prudence, who goes by Prudence. A lot of my friends call me Prudence. I really have a lot of variation with my name from my friends. They’re really great bars, an old favorite! Thank you so much Mimi.. ❤

  3. This recipe gave me pause. I can see someone pointing the finger at me and going “She is older than Oatmeal Caramelitas!” OUCH!

    I agree with you, it is an unfortunate name. But one of the reasons I go by Sally here in the US is so that my name doesn’t scare Americans away “Salete” – too hard to explain, spell, pronounce. I can understand that.

    this is an amazing recipe, no matter the name. I think it is a heavy contender for my next round of sharing the sweets in the department 😉

  4. Hi Prudy, first of all I love the name Prudence, I think it is wonderful, and these bars are great, will be making these for myself this week-end.

  5. Love love love this post, Prudy! And I don’t find your name funny or dificult at all 🙂 I think it’s a beautiful name 🙂 I do get the confusing with the carmelita however :p
    These bars look absolutely great! Happy Fiesta Friday!

  6. You are the king of the sweet treats I’m craving for… Did you read in my mind (and in my sweet tooth) when you made this INCREDIBLYAMAZING bars? I guess so. Look amazing Prudy, even the name is yummy… caramelitas, I love the sound it makes! Hope you had fun co-hosting!

  7. They look incredible…and coming from a girl 😉 named Margo (amongst all the Stephanies, Dianes, Kellys, etc. during those middle school years)…I get it! I can’t wait to try the Oatmeal Carmelitas…and like my name…I think they will grow on me! 😉

  8. I can only imagine the teeth sinking satisfaction one gleans from this recipe. And I loved the connective tongue-brain process you described in some people’s reaction to your lovely name. So cute.

  9. The recipe does not say when to add the brown sugar. I added it to the “crust” and they are in the oven. Hoping that was right!

    • Oh my goodness… Thank you Rachel! I will add that to the recipe. You are absolutely correct… Add it to the butter and oats! You know, you proofread, and then proofread again… And I swear the obvious never shows up!! I appreciate you mentioning that.. 🙂

  10. Oh man, these look SO GOOD!!! I feel like i used to have a recipe somewhere like this but don’t know where it went so I’m marking this down for sure 🙂

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