These Oatmeal Cookie Bars are loaded with toppings. They’re gooey and chewy with a sweet caramel drizzle, walnuts, chocolate chips, and M&M candies for crunch. The perfect back-to-school treat!
❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: These layered bar cookies are easy to make and perfect for kids to help bake with you. They come out soft and chewy every time with plenty of decadent flavors.
How to Make Oatmeal Cookie Bars
The first step is to make the bottom layer of these oatmeal bars. You can make it with a whisk and a mixing bowl in just a few minutes. Then, when you’re pressing the dough into the baking dish, I like to use plastic wrap or the butter wrapper to press the top flat. The dough is sticky and this helps keep things clean and smooth.
If the edges of the dough are uneven, use the back of a spoon to compress them flat.
The delicious caramel in these bars is an easy shortcut. You start with caramel candies and melt them down in the microwave.
The caramel takes a while to melt, but continue to stir until the caramels are smooth and melted.
Assembling the Bars
Once you have your crust and caramel sauce ready, it’s easy to put together the oatmeal bars like an assembly line. Get your chocolate chips, walnuts and M&M’s ready, then follow this order of operations:
- Spread on the caramel, making sure to get to the edges and corners.
- Sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Gently press the chips with the palm of your hand into the caramel to secure them.
- Add the walnuts, especially focusing on any empty areas. Press gently to secure them into the caramel.
- Sprinkle on the M&M’s. Again, press gently into the caramel to secure them into place.
- Melt and then drizzle on the white chocolate. I use a piping bag for more control over where the white chocolate lands. No tip required, just snip off the end. You could also use a Ziploc baggie or a spoon.
- Finally, let this set completely. You can speed things up by putting the pan in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
The bars are easiest to cut with a warm knife. Simply run the knife blade under hot water for a minute or so. This helps cut through the chocolate and soften the caramel.
These bars are delicious but very rich, so I recommend cutting smaller squares. You can always have seconds (or thirds)!
Store leftover bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.
More Bar Cookie Recipes
Try these other delicious layered baked goods next:
- Carmelita bars a crumbly oatmeal cookie layers sandwiching a creamy caramel and chocolate chip filling
- Key Lime Coconut Cashew Bars are like two-bite key lime pies with a rich coconut twist.
- Spicy Hermit Bars taste like fall, with ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
- White Chocolate Cranberry Bars have a sweet white chocolate glaze and tart dried cranberries.
- Peanut Butter Bars from Oh Sweet Basil are the ultimate combo of chocolate and peanut butter!
Oatmeal Bar Cookies
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 package 14 ounces caramels
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup plain M&M’s
- 3 ounces white chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture. Stir in oats.
- Press into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, melt caramels and water; stir until smooth. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with the chips, nuts and M&M’s. Gently press into the caramel mixture.
- Melt white chocolate; drizzle over the top. Let stand for 5 minutes or until coating is set. Cut into bars.