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.

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Heartland Oatmeal Turtle Bars

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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


  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.

Yields: 24 bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 22 minutes

Source: Baked: New Frontiers In Baking

Have you checked out my 25 Super Bowl Recipes for Super Bowl XLVI?    Click Here for desserts, dips, main dishes and desserts! 😀 

Super Bowl 46 in Indianapolis, Indiana

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16 Responses to Heartland Oatmeal Turtle Bars

  1. I love oatmeal cookies with pecans, so I am sure these bars would be high on my list! Add chocolate and caramel too? These would be hard for me to resist eating the whole pan. Guess I’ll have to put them on the only make in small batches list. 😉

  2. Michael Ann says:

    I think these look incredible. Just the kind of thing I love. My family will love it too. Have to go buy some butter, I ran out!

  3. These look amazing! How can you go wrong with oats, chocolate and caramel?

  4. Hey, I live in Minnesota! And these look fabulous! I have learned that Minnesota is the land of the bar cookies. Seriously. And church cookbooks are wonderful sources for such things! Must try these…

  5. ChgoJohn says:

    Would that more things in life would come with a chocolate center. That must be what heaven is like!

  6. turtle anything makes me excited , add some oatmeal to the mix and create a bar – – I’m bouncing off the walls!!

  7. Kris says:

    I made these tonight for my boys swim team! Love that I have 12 WILLING tasters… I used dark chocolate chips instead and they loved them! Next try ~ pizza stuffed pretzels!

  8. This super bowl dessert is going to be super hit in my house! They definitely won’t last very long! Super delicious post

  9. Lauren says:

    These look fantastic! I like the oatmeal — it’s a different twist.

  10. These look super addicting and delicious!

  11. KimB says:

    They do look yummy! And perfect hand held dessert!!!

  12. Sylvia says:

    Just made these bars, they are wonderful, and could be addicting. I love your posts,
    Thank You for all the recipes you share, and all the time it takes to do it.

  13. Oatmeal bars with caramel filling…they sound amazing.

  14. These look great. I’m glad I subscribed to your blog. Cheers!

  15. Sylvia says:

    These bars are wonderful, made them today for my neighbors, they were a big hit, thanks for
    the wonderful recipes you put on your site, I also tried the orange pound cake with ricotta
    cheese, delicious, lovely citrus flavor.

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