Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars [pinit] Well well well. It seems that some of us, who shall remain nameless, do not have the patience to make holiday cookies. The horror! In the oven, out of the oven. It can be a bit of a chore (admittedly one I adore and await all. year. long., but I’m not normal). But the holiday season still requires cookies. It’s a requirement! How about some gluten free oatmeal cookie chocolate caramel BAR cookies? Can you get on board with that?

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars

One pan for the whole batch! You do have to bake the bottom layer of cookies for 10 minutes before adding the dreamy chocolate caramel filling and topping with the rest of the cookie dough. Am I losing ground?

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars

You could always make the first layer ahead of time, and then take a break. Pick up again the next day?

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars

If you’re just not into making your own chocolate caramel (even though you know it’s worth it because we did it for these no bake gluten free chocolate caramel cupcakes but I’m not here to judge), this recipe would work just as well if you unwrapped a whole 14 ounce bag of soft caramels, and melted them with 2 tablespoons cream and 4 ounces chopped chocolate. But that’s a lot of little candies to unwrap.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars

However you do it, I just hope you do it. This recipe is adapted from my thick and chewy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, and that’s one of my (and your!) most favorite recipes on this whole website.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookie Chocolate Caramel Bars

Did I forget to mention that these oatmeal cookie bars freeze beautifully and are absolutely perfect for packing up and mailing clear across the country? I can be so forgetful. ;)

Like this recipe?

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 16 to 20 bars, depending upon size


1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose gluten-free flour

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar

1 cup (218 g) packed light brown sugar

3 cups (300 g) gluten free old-fashioned rolled oats

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg (60 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

2 tablespoons milk (any kind), at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups (300 g) sugar

6 tablespoons (3 fluid ounces) water

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) heavy whipping cream

2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, chopped

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9-inch square baking pan and set it aside.

  • First, make the cookie dough. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar, and whisk to combine well. Add the light brown sugar, and whisk again to combine well, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the oats, and stir to combine well. Add the butter, and mix until combined (the butter will just moisten all of the other ingredients, but the dough won’t hold together just yet). Add the egg, milk and vanilla, and mix until the dough comes together. It will be very thick. Place half of the cookie dough in the prepared baking pan, and press into an even layer. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool briefly.

  • While the bottom layer of cookies is baking in the oven, make the filling. Place the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook, undisturbed, over medium-high heat until the sugar begins to turn amber-colored around the edges and reaches about 300°F. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir to prevent the sugar from burning, and add the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble up quite a lot. Stir until the bubbling subsides. The sugar may seize up, but it will melt again. Add the chopped butter and chocolate, and stir to combine. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook undisturbed, over medium-high heat, until the mixture reaches 245°F. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.

  • Pour the chocolate caramel over the bottom layer of oatmeal cookies in the baking pan, and spread quickly into an even layer. If some of the chocolate caramel seizes up, it doesn’t matter. It will melt into an even layer again in the oven. Scatter the remaining oatmeal cookie dough evenly over the top of the chocolate caramel and press down gently and evenly. Return to the oven and bake until the top is an even, light golden brown (20 to 25 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Slice into either 16 or 20 squares before serving. These bars freeze very well, and are stable enough to be sent through the mail.



P.S. Don’t forget to order your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread! You are the wind beneath my blog wings, and I love you for it. :) If you already ordered a copy or have it in hand and are getting ready to bake, check the Resources page for help finding Expandex!

Comments are closed.

  • […] Oatmeal cookie chocolate caramel bars. […]

  • Anneke
    December 5, 2013 at 12:08 AM

    Well, as a proud member of Team Bar, I will love these! I will, however, now be reduced to making cookie flavored milkshakes for the next month, as my 11 year old daughter has a BROKEN JAW! She just woke up from her post surgery nap to ask if I will be making “liquid Christmas cookies.” Yes, baby, I will absolutely figure out a way to do that!

  • Anneke
    December 4, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    Well, as a proud member of Team Bar, I will love these! I will, however, now be reduced to making cookie flavored milkshakes for the next month, as my 11 year old daughter has a BROKEN JAW! She just woke up from her post surgery nap to ask if I will be making “liquid Christmas cookies.” Yes, baby, I will absolutely figure out a way to do that!

  • anna
    December 4, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    I always worry when i mail out cookies that theyll be nothing but stale crumbs when they arrive. I am definitely going to take your word and give these a try. They sound amazing!

  • Mare Masterson
    December 4, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    I am gaining 5 lbs just looking at these cookies!

  • Diana Draper
    December 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Hi Nicole, I just received your latest cookbook. Have all three now. My problem is that I am lactose intolerant. Is the whey protein you use lactose free? If I make the bread, could I use some active culture yoghurt and the long 5 day rise to convert the lactose in the whey protein? I find that I can have most aged cheeses, and for cottage cheese, I simply let it sit unopened in the refrig for a couple of weeks, then I can eat it without problems. How would I alter the recipes to include some yoghurt?

    Long post, sorry. I am going to try the above recipe. Thanks, Diana

    • Jennifer S.
      December 4, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      if you look at the “getting ready” post and read the first few chapters of the book – Nicole does say you can replace the whey protein powder with 2 items that are dairy free. You will not get the same results but pretty close. I recommend you hunker down and start reading the instructional chapters of the new book – they are awesome!

      • Diana Draper
        December 4, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        Yes I have read those, but would like to get good results. Also cannot tolerate beans well, so am left with rice protein. I would have to get one or the other, just thought I’d see what Nicole thinks. I’m anxious to get started.

        • December 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

          Hi, Diana, I looked at the label for NOW Foods unflavored whey protein isolate, and it says that it has less than 1 gram of sugars per 28 gram serving. I’m not sure how sensitive you are to lactose, but that sounds about as low as you can get from a dairy product. Rice protein is not a perfect substitute for whey protein isolate, as I state in the book. If you are comfortable with that <1 gram figure I mention above, then I'd give whey protein isolate a try. I'm afraid I'm just not sure what you mean by converting the lactose, but you cannot substitute any sort of yogurt for powdered whey protein isolate.

        • Diana Draper
          December 4, 2013 at 2:09 PM

          Thanks Nicole and Donia,
          That is probably going to be OK. I’m going to try it. My idea was not to substitute, but use yogurt for an additional ingredient. I’ll try as is first. I’m even more sensitive to peas than beans so was thinking rice would be my only choice.

          The book is great, I look forward to being able to make real bread again.
          Thanks for all your hard work. Diana

        • Donia Robinson
          December 4, 2013 at 2:00 PM

          I don’t have my book yet (come on Amazon, why are you holding mine until last?), but I’ll be in the dairy-free camp. I ordered pea protein isolate. Technically peas are legumes, not beans, so maybe you might tolerate it? Best wishes and happy baking! (I can be happy for others even though I don’t have my book yet, Amazon!)

  • Jennifer S.
    December 4, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    You are way too good to these nameless peeps. But I kind of am glad you are because these look awesome and I do have caramels to use up…. gonna pop these in today! thanks girlfriend!

    • December 4, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      Aw, shucks, Jennifer. I try. ;)

    • Donia Robinson
      December 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      Hey, hey, be nice! It’s the same peep that gave the GFOAS world the idea for brownie brittle! ;) I’m – er, she’s – not all bad!

      • Anneke
        December 4, 2013 at 7:03 PM

        Who are these nameless peeps, anyway? :)

  • Donia Robinson
    December 4, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I’m such a Scrooge. Just ask my husband. This I can probably manage. Our doctor doesn’t let us do oats, though, so I generally use hemp flakes. Different taste, but same chewiness. I want you to know that I *DO* make cookies, I just grumble a lot to myself. My poor family. Here are your bitterness and rage infused cookies! ;)

    • December 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      LOL, Donia (for real). If it makes you feel any better, there are a few things that my family demands I make but that I loathe making. When I relent and make them, I make it crystal clear to the children that I have caved to their demands but that the food is made without love entirely. I still love them, but none of that love was added to the food. And I don’t know anything about hemp flakes. Will have to investigate. Sounds interesting!

      • Donia Robinson
        December 4, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        One of my daughter’s favorite foods is granola, so after diagnosis (and without oats), I had to adapt my recipe somehow. Ah, I just realized I use whole hemp, not hemp flakes. But they are a similar texture and chew to oats. They have a pretty strong aftertaste, which some people hate, so they’re not for everyone. I buy them online or occasionally find them at… you guessed it, Costco!

        • Jennifer S.
          December 4, 2013 at 1:30 PM

          all hail costco

        • Donia Robinson
          December 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

          You will become addicted fast, Jennifer…

    • Jennifer S.
      December 4, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      Can you use Trader Joe’s certified GF oats??? I would think if they are certified GF that they would be acceptable. I’m sure the Dr was trying to cover you for the cross contamination, don’t ya think?

      • Donia Robinson
        December 4, 2013 at 9:55 AM

        No, not cross-contamination. The protein in oats is a cousin to gluten, and she feels that is close enough to potentially cause issues. And it does with some celiacs. (Our doctor, her husband, and 2 of her 4 children have celiac disease, so she’s an expert!) It took 18 months just to get our daughter’s blood levels down without oats in her diet. I’m probably willing to try them at some point, but not so soon after finally getting her blood levels down.

    • Sarah M.
      December 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      Do hemp flakes work in place of oats?! I miss oatmeal cookies so badly and I react pretty strongly to oats. You may have just made my dreams come true.

      • Donia Robinson
        December 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM

        They taste entirely different, of course, but the texture is pretty similar. You should definitely try them! They might just be that chewy thing you’re looking for! ;) Oh, and I wrote flakes, but I meant just raw, whole hemp seeds. They are small, but sort of roundish rather than flat.

        Plus, we can get Nicole on board for coming up with recipes for us! Mwa ha ha! Nicole, chewy Hemp Raisin cookies??

  • Sherry L
    December 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    Nicole these look wonderful! Just yesterday I was looking for a good “oatmeal cookie bar” recipe and I could not find what I wanted. These fit the bill exactly, I am always amazed at how you seem to know just what we are going to want before we even do!!! Thank you! Since I haven’t quite mastered dairy-free caramel, I may try cocoa-tahini spread instead, I will let you know what I use and how it turns out.

    • December 4, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      Definitely report back, Sherry! Although I would imagine that you could make dairy-free caramel with canned coconut milk in place of cream (just the fat, though) and shortening in place of butter. It wouldn’t be exact, but it should work quite well!

  • Bethany
    December 4, 2013 at 8:46 AM

    Hurray for cookies! I have a version of these that I sub in protein powder for a yummy post-workout treat. The chewy oatmeal is a staple in my freezer – dried cherries and walnuts and chocolate chip…they are never far from the oven! I’m totally team cookie!

    • December 4, 2013 at 9:27 AM

      Sounds great, Bethany!

    • Jennifer S.
      December 4, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Yea for team cookie!!!!

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