Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Cookie Bars

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While I am technically a “millennial” I don’t identify with a lot of the qualities commonly associated with them. I don’t take selfies. Well, I should rephrase that, I very rarely take selfies and when I do it’s of me and my daughter or husband. I’m also not technologically savvy in the least and often learn about the latest tech news from my father (I realize this should be the other way around but I have accepted that it is not and never will be).


However one millennial quality that I can identify with is the expectation of instant gratification. I am not someone who can sit down and spend 30 hours quilting little tiny squares of fabric together. While I can appreciate the beauty of the art, I do not have the patience to complete it. I will spend 1-2 hours crocheting a scarf, but even that is cutting it close to my limit and I’ve got to be watching something on TV or have something going on around me. I don’t have the patience for things that take a long time. I want things done and I want them done yesterday. Even waiting for things to ship in two days from Amazon Prime can sometimes be agonizing for me.


So when I look back on my childhood and all the hours my grandma spent in the kitchen with me teaching me how to bake, and all the hours in the living room teaching me how to knit and crochet, I wonder how she had so much damn patience??!! Obviously I grew up in a different time where constant stimulation and instant gratification were not as readily available as they are today. But still, my grandma had some real patience with 8 year old me. She sparked my interest in creating (food and scarves alike) and allowed me to explore my creative side. I am thankful everyday for her patience with me in the kitchen and I sometimes have to remind myself that I need to have that same patience as I pass these traditions down to my family.


One of those traditions is our family cookie exchange. Which is actually a new tradition we are starting this year, so maybe I can’t really call it a tradition yet then…? It’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never got around to. However this year the stars have aligned–or more accurately, I remembered to ask my family if they wanted to do it before Christmas had come and gone. My little sisters are always asking to bake and love to help in the kitchen whenever they can so I will try to channel my late grandmother’s patience as we embark on this new family tradition.


If you need a new recipe for your cookie exchange this year…here you go! They are just the right amount of sweet with a hint of cinnamon, perfectly chewy with just enough oatmeal to almost seem healthy and they’ve got chunks of chewy caramel and my favorite nut in the world, toasted pecans.


Caramel Pecan Oatmeal Cookie Bars

  • Servings: 12-16 bars
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  • 1 stick butter, melted then cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup granulate sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans
  • 1 cup diced caramels


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl mix butter and both sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla and mix until well combined. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients to the large bowl of wet ingredients. Stir until just combined, then fold in oats, pecans and caramels until well distributed.

Grease an 8×8 or 9×9 pan with butter or oil (you could also use a 9×13 if you want thinner cookie bars). Transfer dough to the pan and use your hands to smoosh it into an even layer. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through and the edges start to pull away from the side. The top of the cookie bars won’t get too dark, but the bottom will brown up nicely. They will also harden as they cool giving you the perfect chewy oatmeal cookie bar. Slice into 12-16 bars and serve slightly warm.


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