Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

Every month when the dining hall menu was released during college, my roommates and I circled one day on the calendar. This was a day that was not to be forgotten. This was a day that we quickly scurried to lunch giddy with anticipation. This was a day that was simply all about “the bars” – cookie perfection in the form of layers of a buttery oatmeal crust, chocolate, and caramel.

We loved the bars so much, that no matter the weather, I threw on a huge sweatshirt and stuffed my baggy sleeves with stacks of cookies carefully wrapped up in paper napkins. Yes, I stole as many as of the bars as possible out of the dining hall, and yes, I would definitely do it again given the chance. We hoarded those bars of golden caramel goodness for days and savored each and every bite.

A couple years after I graduated, I stumbled upon the recipe for the bars, which apparently are officially known as Oatmeal Carmelitas. I was beyond incredibly excited that I could have the bars whenever I wanted! For years and years afterwards, I whipped them up anytime I needed to make a dessert to impress. And now, I finally want to honor one of the recipes that inspired my love of baking – this is a decadent chocolate and dulce de leche version of one of my very favorite treats in the whole world. Britt – my favorite partner in crime, this one is for you!

Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars
Printable Recipe

3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 13.4-ounce can dulce de leche
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F. Place flour, oats, brown sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and mix well. Place butter and unsweetened chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter and chocolate are melted, stirring after 30 seconds. Mix melted butter mixture into dry ingredients until crumb forms. Reserve 1/2 cup of crumb mixture. Place remaining crumb mixture in a greased 8×8-inch pan and press down evenly. Bake crust at 350˚F for 10 minutes.

Place dulce de leche and milk in a small bowl and mix well until smooth. Evenly spread dulce de leche over partially baked crust. Top evenly with chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup chocolate crumb mixture. Bake an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Cool 1 hour at room temperature and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until filling is set. Cut into 16 bars and store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition: 309 calories, 13.0g fat, 2.5g fiber, 4.7g protein per bar
Cost: $0.40 per bar

24 Responses to Chocolate Dulce De Leche Bars

  1. You just brought a smile to my face bringing back some good college memories. We would definitely do the same with the soft pretzels they served at the end of every semester! I’m heading to my alma mater this weekend for a Board of Directors retreat and your blog post has me really looking forward to reliving some good college memories!

  2. Oh these look heavenly! They have my husband’s name written all over them. Do you get the can of Dulce de Leche in the aisle with the Mexican food? I’ve always made my own but buying a can sure sounds more appealing!

  3. omg, i can totally see you smuggling these out of the dining hall :) they look amazing, and i need one in my life. they’d make for perfect fueling tomorrow, right? :)

  4. In our dining hall you had to pay per item but if it was a one-shot deal like that, I would have stuffed every ounce of spare clothing…believe you me. These look amazing! Chocolate and dulce de leche…how fabulous.

  5. Carmelitas are my favorite bar cookies! I used to stop in at a Whole Foods for lunch, and I’d have just a small bowl of soup so I could enjoy a great, big carmelita bar for dessert. Yours look great!

  6. Thanks to all!

    Danielle – Yes, I just buy cans from the store, they’re usually among the Latin items.

    CCC – Thanks for the feature!

    Joanne – I know, such an unfair system. I didn’t eat nearly as much as the football players so I figured I was entitled to a few extra dessert bars :)

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