Heartland Oatmeal Turtle Bars

As I was searching through my cookbooks looking for the perfect super bowl dessert, I stumbled upon this recipe for oatmeal turtle bars. There was no picture next to the recipe just a brief description.

Just from reading all of the ingredients I knew that this bar was going to be a hit with my family.  The original recipe comes from in a church cookbook from Minnesota. Minnesota is no doubt the heartland of America, hence the name Heartland Oatmeal Turtle Bars.

These bars are super addictive with their buttery oatmeal crust and chocolate caramel center.

Heartland Oatmeal Turtle Bars

Heartland Oatmeal Turtle Bars

Yield: 24 bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes


For the Oatmeal Base and Topping:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped into large pieces
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the Caramel Filling:

  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9×13 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the bars from the pan after they have baked.) Butter the parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the brown sugar and use your fingers to rub it into the flour mixture. Add the oats and stir until evenly combined. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients,  then pour in the melted butter and stir until mixture is wet and combined.
  3. Spread two-thirds of mixture across bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool slightly while you make the caramel filling.
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, melt sugar and butter together. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. (the caramel will darken). Remove pan from heat, stir in cream and vanilla extract. Sprinkle pecans and chocolate chips over cooled crust. Pour caramel mixture over pecan chocolate layer. Use an offset spatula to spread caramel evenly. Sprinkle remaining oatmeal mixture onto caramel and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  5. Let bars cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes, then place pan in the refrigerator and chill for 1 hour to firm up. Cut and serve. The bars can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 148mgCarbohydrates: 33gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 2gSugar: 21gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 3g

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