The caramel layer in these pretzel bars is a sticky kinda caramel. So if you prefer a more set caramel I'd recommend my trying my vegan butterscotch millionaires shortbread recipe, or you could just go for the caramel layer of that recipe in place of this one.

What to expect from these sweet and salty snack bars:

  • Irresistibly sweet and salty
  • Sticky, ooey-gooey, with a stretchy caramel pull
  • Similar to caramel pretzel crack bars but with a gooey caramel
  • Can be adapted as gluten-free (see the FAQ section at the end of this post)
  • Perfect for Halloween treats
  • Made with miso caramel for a sophisticated umami flavor
miso caramel millionaire shortbread bars stacked on top of each other.Pin

Ingredients for this recipe

  • All-purpose flour: Just regular all-purpose flour here folks, you can also go for a gluten-free all-purpose (see the FAQ section at the end of this post for other considerations to keep this recipe gluten-free)
  • Vegan butter: This is used to make the vegan shortbread crust as well as the caramel layer.
  • Brown sugar: I like to use soft brown sugar for this recipe as it gives a delicious flavor to the caramel.
  • Sweetened condensed coconut milk: The caramel for these pretzel bars is made with condensed milk, vegan condensed milk that is! The only brand I personally use and recommend is Nature's Charm.
  • Coconut cream: You can also use chilled thick canned coconut milk - just stick to using the thick cream from the top of the can.
  • Vanilla extract: As always, a little vanilla is recommended to bring out the sweetness and add complexity to the flavors.
  • White miso paste: This is the key ingredient for that umami flavor that creates the most delicious caramel!
  • Dark chocolate: You could also go for vegan milk chocolate here, but I tend to go with dark as the caramel layer is already quite sweet here.
  • I use these pretzels.
  • Sea salt: A touch of salt takes the caramel layer to the next level. I usually use Maldon flakes but you can also use regular sea salt or pink Himalayan salt if preferred.

ingredients for chocolate caramel pretzel bars.Pin

How to make sticky caramel pretzel bars (with step-by-step images)

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post)

Steps for making the shortbread crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly grease the base and sides of a square 8" pan with some oil or vegan butter, then line with parchment paper. In your food processor, combine the flour, vegan butter, brown sugar, salt, and water until the ingredients stick together to form a dough.
  2. Crumble the pastry into the lined pan, this helps by distributing the dough somewhat evenly before you press it down.
  3. Evenly press the dough into the base of the pan and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass.
  4. With a fork, gently prick the dough several times. Bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly browned, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Steps for making the miso caramel

  1. Add the vegan butter to a saucepan and melt over medium heat.
  2. Add in the brown sugar, condensed coconut milk, and coconut cream.
  3. Continue to heat whilst stirring. Place your candy thermometer in the caramel and heat until it reaches 120°C (248°F).
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the miso paste, vanilla, and salt. Allow the caramel to cool slightly for 5 minutes.
  5. Pour the caramel over the shortbread base and allow it to reach room temperature before transferring it to the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight).
  6. The caramel is ready once it is firm to the touch.

Assembling the caramel bars

  1. For the coating melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Stir until melted thoroughly. Use a spatula to spread it over the caramel in an even layer.
  2. Arrange the pretzels on top and place them back in the fridge for another hour.

Frequently asked questions

Can these pretzel candy bars be made gluten-free?

Yes, to keep them gluten-free make sure you opt for gluten-free all-purpose flour, gluten-free pretzels, and miso. You can also omit the miso paste if unsure. Also, go for sweetened condensed coconut milk as opposed to oat milk.

Can I make these with a firm caramel instead of a sticky caramel center?

Yes, if you would like to create a caramel layer that cuts "clean" I would recommend the caramel layer that's used in my butterscotch millionaires.

How to store caramel pretzel bars?

Store these slices in an airtight container at room temperature and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, you can freeze any unused portions and defrost as needed.

sweet and salty snack bars with pretzels.Pin

More bars and slices

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star ★★★★★ rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!

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Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bars

4.64 from 11 votes
PREP TIME: 35 mins
Chilling Time: 3 hrs
TOTAL TIME: 3 hrs 35 mins
Servings: 16
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Description

Delicious sweet and salty snack. They're sticky and gooey with a caramel pull that makes these chocolate caramel pretzel bars so satisfying to pull apart. Think millionaire shortbread traybake, that consists of layers of buttery shortbread, miso caramel, chocolate and salted pretzels. Perfect for sharing, but impossible to just eat one!

Ingredients

Base

  • 190 g (1.5 cups) all purpose flour
  • 120 g (4.23 oz) vegan butter
  • 24 g (2 tbsp) soft brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon (¼ tsp) sea salt
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) water

Caramel

  • 120 g (4.23 oz) vegan butter
  • 220 g (1 cup) soft brown sugar
  • 320 g (11.29 oz) sweetened condensed coconut milk, or sweetened condensed oat milk (not GF)
  • 60 g (0.25 cup) coconut cream
  • 35 g (2 tbsp) white miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (½ tsp) sea salt

Coating

  • 200 g (7 oz) dark chocolate
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) vegan butter
  • 60 g (0.75 cups) vegan pretzels

Instructions

Base

  • Preheat your oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly grease the base and sides of a square 8" pan with some oil or vegan butter, then line with parchment paper.
  • In your food processor, combine the flour, vegan butter, brown sugar, salt and water until the ingredients stick together to form a dough. Evenly press the dough into the base of the pan and smooth it out with a spatula or flat bottomed glass. With a fork, gently prick the dough several times.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes until slightly browned, then allow to cool to room temperature.

Caramel

  • Add the vegan butter to a saucepan and melt over a medium heat. Add in the brown sugar, condensed coconut milk and coconut cream and continue to heat whilst stirring. Place your candy thermometer in the caramel and heat until it reaches 120°C (248°F). Remove from the heat and stir in the miso paste, vanilla and salt. Allow the caramel to cool slightly for 5 minutes.
  • Pour the caramel over the shortbread base and allow it to reach room temperature before transferring to the fridge for at least 2 hours (or overnight) until it is firm to the touch.

Coating

  • For the coating melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Stir until melted thoroughly. Use a spatula to spread it over the caramel in an even layer. Arrange the pretzels on top and place back in the fridge for another hour.
  • To slice, place a sharp knife in a jug of boiling water to heat it. Wipe the knife dry and gently cut, allowing the heat from the knife to melt through the slices.

Storage

  • Store these slices in an airtight container at room temperature and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively you can freeze any unused portions and defrost as needed.

Notes

  • To make them gluten-free: Opt for a gluten-free all purpose flour, gluten-free pretzels and miso. You can also omit the miso paste if unsure. Also go for sweetened condensed coconut milk as opposed to oat milk.
  • For a firm caramel instead of sticky caramel: If you would like to create a caramel layer that cuts "clean" I would recommend the caramel layer that's used in my butterscotch millionaires.

Nutrition

Calories: 364kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 374mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 27g | Vitamin A: 646IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
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