These Healthy Oatmeal Bars are soft & chewy with a dairy-free caramel filling topped with a buttery grain-free crumble topping. A healthy twist on carmelitas and make the perfect sweet treat. Gluten-free, refined sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan with grain-free, low carb, keto and paleo options.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang.
Make the caramel filling
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan add the coconut cream, coconut sugar and almond butter and bring to a boil. Continue to cook over medium-heat, whisking frequently until it starts to thicken up, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt and whisk until it’s thick and a caramel consistency. Set aside to cool and thicken.
Make the crust
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, almond butter, coconut sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour, chopped almonds and coconut flakes (or oats if using) baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and mix until all the ingredients are combined. You may have to use your hands to bring the mixture together - the texture should be crumbly, but come together when you press it. Add more coconut oil / almond butter if the mixture seems too dry or more flour if the mixture seems too wet.
Press a little bit more than half of the mixture on the bottom of the prepared pan and press firmly with a flat spatula or your hands. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped pecans over the crust.
Pour the caramel in the pan, spreading evenly.
Top with remaining crumble over the caramel.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 12-17 minutes, or until the edges are lightly brown.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely so the pumpkin caramel sets up. You can place the pan in the fridge to speed up the process. Once cool, cut into squares and drizzle with additional caramel if desired.