My current obsession? These XL salted caramel chocolate bars. They are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and raw. The dates and a pinch of salt give these salted caramel bars that typical and irresistible flavor. The nutty base contains oats and different nuts and seeds. And let’s not forget about the melted chocolate dip at the end.
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Last summer, I ordered a so-called ‘’chocolate bonbons’’ in a German cafe and it reminded me of how delicious salted caramel is. When I first started making sweet vegan recipes I made caramel sauce quite regularly, but along the way I just forgot the existence of this recipe entirely.
In this recipe I’m sharing my take on salted caramel bars. I like the filling to be much thicker than a typical bar, but you are free to decide how your bars will look like. All you have to do is pick the right size of baking dish or loaf pan for you.
WHAT ARE SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE BARS?
If you have never tried salted caramel chocolate bars, you are in for a treat. The bottom layer is a base with different kinds of nuts. But seeds and oats are also delicious options to create a good base. The inside is an irresistible layer of salted caramel sauce finished with a dark chocolate coat.
In terms of flavor, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. It’s one of those crowd-pleasers. Both vegans and non-vegans, gluten-free or not gluten-free eaters will appreciate this recipe.
It’s like a healthier version of vegan Twix bars, but then with a thicker caramel layer. If you make the layer thicker (I like that), it’s almost like a Twix ice cream bar.
The main difference? These are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and free from refined sugars.
XL SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE BARS
What is better than a typical salted caramel chocolate bar? Indeed, an XL caramel chocolate bar. Sometimes more is truly more. In the German café, they made little bonbons with an extra thick caramel filling.
I loved the thicker caramel filling, but I still wanted the shape of a typical caramel bar (instead of a bonbon), so I made the bars thicker. The downside is that they melt faster since the caramel filling is high in natural sugars. But the taste is so worth it. If you want to make sure this bar will keep longer than 15 minutes out of the fridge, I suggest making it with a thinner caramel filling.
HOW TO: SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE BAR
The first step is to make the base. I use a small blender container to mix all nuts, seeds, and oats into a flour consistency. Then all you have to do is mix them in a large bowl until it becomes a dry compact base. Press this dough into a baking dish, a silicone baking mold, or a loaf pan. The bigger the surface of your baking dish, the more compact the bars will be. My loaf pan mold was narrow, so my bars are pretty thick.
The caramel filling is a mixture of dates, vanilla, almond milk, water, salt, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Spread this over the base and freeze.
Cut the bar into small cubes, thin bars, or thicker bars.
The last step is a dip in melted chocolate. After that, they are ready to be served.
CAN I USE SUBSTITUTES?
I always do my best to give substitutions for all my recipes. Of course, only when possible and only when it will not change the recipe drastically. The substitutes I have tried and can recommend you for this recipe are the following.
- I have also successfully made the base with pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds.
- Instead of walnuts, I also love to use pecans or half walnuts and half pecans.
- Oats are an easy staple ingredient, but when you don’t want to use oats or don’t have them at hand this recipe is also perfect to make with raw buckwheat, quinoa flakes, puffed quinoa, or puffed millet.
- Hazelnuts are a delicious substitute for almonds.
You could potentially also use coconut flour in this recipe to replace the nuts or the oats, but keep in mind that this will overrule the salted caramel flavor and change the recipe (in my opinion) too much.
If you don’t have coconut oil, you can use vegan butter instead. Although I love to create oil-free recipes, this is a typical recipe that requires oil to keep its form. Apple sauce or any other oil substitute will not work so well/not at all.
Any other liquid sweetener will work instead of maple syrup, but the dates can’t be replaced with any other dried fruit. This will not create a caramel taste.
I hope these substitutes will give you some room to work with the ingredients you have at hand.
HOW TO STORE SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE BARS?
After the base layer and the caramel sauce are frozen and dipped in chocolate, you can store these bars in the bottom of the refrigerator or the freezer. They will keep for five days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.
These bars are super addicting. Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you try them! I can’t wait to see your creations. Are you also making them XL with a thick caramel layer, or are you going for a thinner bar that will last longer outside of the fridge? Either way, you can’t go wrong with this crowd-pleaser.
Are you craving more sweet recipes?
Easy to make XL Salted Caramel Chocolate Bars with a nutty base, a salted caramel filling, and dipped in dark chocolate. Vegan, gluten-free, and naturally sweetened.
- 25 gr ground sunflower seeds
- 80 gr ground walnuts
- 80 gr ground oats
- 60 gr ground almonds
- 15 gr / 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 30 gr / 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 40 ml maple syrup
- 1–2 tbsp water (see notes)
- 200 gr pitted Medjool dates
- 15 gr / 1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
- 20 ml maple syrup
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract (or almond – or orange extract)
- ½ cup /125 ml almond milk
- ¼ cup / 60 ml water
- 7 oz / 200 gr vegan chocolate (85%)
First, decide the size of the bars. For chunky thick XL bars, I use a small loaf pan (21 x 7x 7 cm) and this allowed me to create 9 bars.
If you want thinner bars or squares, use a wide loaf pan. The recipe will stay the same, but since you are spreading out the base and the caramel layer the bars will be thinner. I prefer to double the caramel recipe when I use a larger loaf pan.
Mix the ingredients for the base in a large bowl with a spoon. I ground the nuts, seeds, and oats in a small blender. Once the sunflower seeds, ground walnuts, ground oats, ground almonds, coconut sugar, coconut oil, sea salt, and maple syrup are mixed add 1 tablespoon water.
I’m doing this with a spoon so that I’m able to keep an eye on the consistency. Once the base is combined, dry, and a bit sticky you are done. If the base is way too dry and doesn’t stick, add one more tablespoon of water.
Press the mixture in your loaf pan. I use a silicone mold as this makes it super easy to remove the loaf after the freezing process. If you don’t have a silicone mold line a baking tray with greaseproof paper/ parchment paper.
Make sure the base is pressed well in the loaf pan as an even layer. Use the back of a spoon or your fingers to press the base in the loaf pan.
Set aside and make the caramel filling.
In a blender add all the ingredients for the caramel filling and blend until silky smooth. Add a layer of caramel filling on top of the base in the loaf pan. Be generous if you want to create a thick bar. If you want to create a thinner bar and have caramel sauce left, keep it for later. I love adding it to my breakfast or dipping apple slices in it as a snack.
Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours or overnight.
Melt any dark vegan chocolate in the microwave or a bowl over boiling water (au bain marie)
Remove the loaf pan from the freezer and cut it into bars.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dip and cover each bar in the melted chocolate.
Place on the lined baking tray to set.
After you have covered all bars, place the bars in the fridge to further set.
- These salted caramel chocolate bars will keep five days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer.
- You can use pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds. And pecans instead of walnuts.
- Instead of oats, you can use buckwheat, quinoa flakes, puffed quinoa, or puffed millet.
- Hazelnuts are also a delicious substitute for almonds.
- If you decide to use a loaf pan (like in this recipe) with a thick caramel layer, it will melt quickly outside of the fridge. Keep that in mind if you want to serve it. If you want to make this an on-the-go snack I would use a wide baking dish.
- I double the caramel filling recipe so I can use it as a dip, spread, or oatmeal breakfast topping.
Keywords: sweet, bars, chocolate, glutenfree, salted chocolate bars
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