Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars

Shortbread, caramel, pretzels, and chocolate meet to create these completely addicting salted caramel pretzel crunch bars! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Haaaaappy Friday!

There’s gotta be dessert on Friday, though I may have been eating way over my limit all week. I just got back from Phoenix last night. One of my fave spots was Citizen Public House in Scottsdale. They gave us a platter of nearly every single dessert on the menu and one of them happened to be a semifreddo peanut butter PUSH POP with chocolate brownie stuffed inside. Um, yes. Did you see that on my insta story or Snapchat? (Can’t remember which one I freaked out over that on!) And it was better than it even sounds.

Shortbread, caramel, pretzels, and chocolate meet to create these completely addicting salted caramel pretzel crunch bars! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

But since it’s the weekend and I know you’ll be baking (we’re kindred spirits), here’s a new dessert to try. I may have freaked out over these as much as the peanut butter push pop ordeal. Imagine that.

Think of these salted caramel pretzel crunch bars as a homemade twix bar but with crunchy pretzels stuffed inside. And the caramel is salted. And the chocolate is semi-sweet. And there’s sea salt on top. So really this is a homemade candy bar skyrocketing into the same top-notch delicious land that only apple pie and carrot cake reside in.

Here are the layers we’re working with:

Shortbread crust for salted caramel pretzel crunch bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The shortbread-ish crust is just like shortbread, but with an egg yolk added. The egg yolk helps prevent any sandiness texture and really helps create a solid (and soft) base for the layers on top. It’s really easy and while you’re mixing, it will be super crumbly. If you get your hands in there, it will all come together like pie crust or dough. See above left (crumbly) and right (togetherness).

You’ll press broken pretzel pieces into the top of the shortbread dough and bake for about 20 minutes. This is the only bake time for these bars. Next? The salted caramel. Easily the best part of these salty sweet bars. Have you ever tried my salted caramel sauce before? I hardly talk about it. Sense the sarcasm. I love the stuff!

The salted caramel is just sugar, butter, cream, and salt. Takes a few minutes on the stove. It’s surprisingly simple; just make sure you don’t walk away from the pan while you’re *supposed* to be stirring. Your sugar will burn, smoke, resemble tar, and set off the fire alarm. This exact scene didn’t happen in my kitchen last weekend or anything.

Salted caramel for salted caramel pretzel crunch bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Feeling these pour shots!

Chocolate for salted caramel pretzel crunch bars on sallysbakingaddiction.com

The chocolate is the easiest part. Melt it with some coconut oil on the stovetop or in the microwave. The coconut oil keeps the chocolate on the softer side so the bars are easier to cut. I like to use pure chocolate baking bars (found in the baking aisle) but chocolate chips work too– see my recipe note. You can even melt down chocolate chips with a little peanut butter to truly make this the best dessert to ever grace any of our kitchens.

The one thing about this recipe? You have to wait for each layer to cool before adding the next. Hot caramel will melt the baked crust. And melted chocolate poured on hot caramel will create a mess too. You won’t be able to spread it and the two layers will morph together. Still tasty, but not what we’re going for! All I do is place the layers in the fridge for 45 minutes as I go. Do something else around the house, come back, etc. You can even start the night before– see my make ahead tip. 🙂

Shortbread, caramel, pretzels, and chocolate meet to create these completely addicting salted caramel pretzel crunch bars! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

For clean cuts, use a super sharp knife and wipe it off with a paper towel between cuts. Slice the bars as large or small as you want. I liked a smaller bite-size version as I was testing this recipe. Because you can fit the whole thing in your mouth and grab 4 more in your hand as you exit the kitchen. This exact scene also didn’t happen last weekend or anything.

Not feeling the pretzels? Add nuts instead. I’m thinking pecans for a turtle-like dessert experience. Enjoy!

Shortbread, caramel, pretzels, and chocolate meet to create these completely addicting salted caramel pretzel crunch bars! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars

Ingredients:

  • 10 Tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 Tbsp or 145g) unsalted butter, slightly soft (see important note!)1
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons (141g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) salted caramel sauce (the full recipe)
  • 1 cup (50-60g) chopped pretzels
  • 6 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or 1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips)2
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • optional: sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy - about 1 minute. Add the flour, sugar, salt, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and beat on high speed for 2 minutes until crumbly. Get your hands in there to make the dough come together. Press tightly into prepared pan. Press pretzel pieces evenly on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding the caramel (I stick it in the refrigerator to speed this up).
  3. Prepare caramel and wait for it to cool until it slightly thickens. Pour/spoon over crust. Allow to cool and set completely before topping with chocolate. Again, I stick it in the refrigerator to speed it up.
  4. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave in 15 second increments, stopping and stirring until completely melted. Pour over cooled caramel. Top with sea salt. Stick in the refrigerator to cool completely.
  5. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Make ahead tip: There are many ways to start ahead on this recipe. You can prepare and bake the crust through step 2 a day or 2 ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator until ready for the caramel. You can also prepare the caramel a day or 2 ahead of time. Warm it just until it is spreadable (but not totally liquid), then pour over crust and allow to set. Continue with step 4. Prepared bars can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then bring to room temperature before enjoying.

Recipe Notes:

  1. Butter that is too soft could ruin the crust. I always let butter sit out of the refrigerator for only about 10 minutes when making this crust. It's still a little firm and cold, but that is what you want for a shortbread-like crust.
  2. If using chocolate chips in the chocolate layer, melt down with 1 teaspoon of oil so it thins out and is easy to pour and spread. Careful melting in the microwave. Stop every 15 seconds to stir until melted. You can even melt it down with 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter for an extra dose of delicious.

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Here are some items I used to make today’s recipe.

KitchenAid Hand Mixer | Glass Baking Dish | Aluminum Square Pan | Glass Mixing Bowls | Stainless Steel Saucepan | Copper Saucepan

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for my referral at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Shortbread, caramel, pretzels, and chocolate meet to create these completely addicting salted caramel pretzel crunch bars! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

103 comments

  1. sometimes classic combos are the best

  2. Be still my heart.. these bars are everything! I think the caramel layer just might be my favorite.

  3. I’m going to have to make these and bring them to work. I love salted caramel so this is definitely my type of snack!

  4. Ohhhh….! Considering my blog is called Bacon Butter Bliss, and the base of this is shortbread which equals butter, butter and butter, AND it has caramel, AND chocolate, AND salt, this is right up my alley! On my list of goodies to make!

  5. I’m glad you had a good trip! The bars look so incredible! I wonder how they would be with Flipz, those chocolate-covered pretzels! Maybe that would be too much 😉 (not!) Your photographs of the layers are fabulous 🙂

  6. Wow. I mean, wow. You saved the best for Friday! The layer of salted caramel has me doing happy dances in my head. And the salt on top. And the everything. Heck yeah to adding PB to the chocolate!

  7. Sally, your site always cheers me up. You are just so positive about everything , I love your recipes and love reading what you post on your amazing site. Thank you so much you are a big motivation for me . Ive known about your site since 2013, but was never able to comment as I didn’t have an e -mail . Always stay the same and I hope you stay amazing. Thank you for always cheering this girl up . Keep doing what you do ad never let anything in life let you down. God bless x

  8. Had major nom envy whilst reading through this post! Loving the photos!

    Rebecca
    xx

    http://www.peppermintdolly.com

  9. Oh my goodness, that pour shot though. 😉 Pecans would be an amazing addition to this for a turtle-like experience as you said. So glad you had a great time in Phoenix! 🙂

  10. Twit bars are my favorite!  And add pretzels, yum.  I like to eat twix bars layer by layer for some reason, but I would easily enjoy all the layers at once with these.  As always Sally, I can’t wait to try these. 🙂

  11. Chocolate, caramel, shortbread… salty and sweet??! These look too good. Can’t wait to try them!

  12. OMG Sally, these look amazing! Like just like twix candy bars which are one of my favourites. I have to try these and I agree they’d be amazing with nuts like almonds or pecans. I was looking for an extra, smaller dessert to make and serve at Thanksgiving this weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving – already Monday?? HOW) – and every dessert is always overshadowed by pumpkin pie, but if I make these, I think for once something else may overshadow the pie! If I use pecans, I have all the ingredients on hand to make these too. Let you know how it goes, but what chance is there I’m NOT going to love them? Have a great weekend, Sally 🙂

    • I love pumpkin pie but I truly think these would outshine it! Even at Thanksgiving. Did you end up making them for today?

      • Oh I totally forget to comment. Yup I made them yesterday for anyone who didn’t like pie (how are they related to me)? Got two thumbs up, and of course, I tried a little. They tasted kind of like twix bars, but with extra crunch. We loved them and I think I’ll be making them come Christmas too 🙂

  13. Adorable!  Later this week I’ll post something for Halloween involving pretzels and chocolate, but I think your bars would be sooooo good for a Halloween get together too

    As Michelle said – chocolate, caramel, shortbread…   cannot beat that combo!

  14. These look absolutely delicious! I love anything caramel, definitely adding this to the recipes-to-try folder!

  15. I like this, but could you do a healthier spin on it? Could we use almond flour instead of white flour and coconut sugar instead of refined sugar? 

    • Hi Nadia! I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure the crust could be altered. I wouldn’t make any changes to the homemade caramel though. Candy doesn’t leave any room for substitutions. It’s picky!

  16. DEFINITELY making these! These look amazing, and I can already almost taste them now! 😉

  17. Hi Sally! I was excited last night at your teaser for this recipe! to save time, do you think it would work to use jarred caramel sauce?

    • As long as it’s true thick caramel and not caramel topping, I’m sure it could work. But the homemade salted caramel takes 5 minutes on the stove and can cool down as the crust cools down. In case you want to try it! I promise it’s quick and easy.

  18. So very odd – just yesterday someone was eating a Twix w/dark chocolate and I thought it looked delicious. Today, you give me the means to make my own and to be able to share with that Twix lover. Thank you Sally! These look fab. Oh, and doable for even those less experienced in the baking arena. 🙂

  19. These look like a winner!!! Love sweet and salty.
    Quick candy idea…tastes a lot like a Take Five Candy.

    Square grid like pretzels work best. Lay out on cookie sheet. Spread a small dollop of peanut butter on the top. Drizzle caramel – homemade is obviously the best but melted caramels with a little evaporated milk works too. Make certain it is not super hot. Chill.
    When ready dip in chocolate of your choice. This year I think I will sprinkle with a bit of salt.
    NUMMO!!!

  20. These look so amazing!!

  21. Omg, imagine this with peanut butter shortbread! It would be to die for!

  22. Sally, these look amazing- I wish I could reach into frame and pick one up right now. Chocolate, pretzels, shortbread, salted caramel – all of my favourite ingredients – thank you for sharing!

  23. I AM baking a bunch this weekend – and adding this to my list! My family is happily taste-testing the goodies I’ve been baking (and guess what?! My youngest actually ate and LOVED your oatmeal raisin cookies! OMG those are to die for!) – I have actually been “smart” and am putting a few in the freezer to save for later…..Happy weekend baking! I plan on it!

  24. We live in the UK and when my daughter saw these she exclaimed “millionaire’s shortbread!”. It’s a very similar – actually almost identical – baked treat with shortbread, caramel and a chocolate top. No pretzels – we don’t get too many pretzels in England – but they look a very intriguing addition. Did you base the recipe on millionaire’s shortbread?

    • I’ve only seen millionaire’s shortbread around the internet but have never tasted it! I was definitely missing out until now.

  25. These make me think of the best candy bar ever: Take 5 bars. I will try these for sure, and then once again with the addition of peanut butter as you suggested! 

  26. What a fun way to combine the salty/sweet! I’m saving these to make for our church’s fall bake sale =)

  27. So excited you made these. I always secretly wished you would recreate the Twix bar. And I knew that one day you would. I will guaranteed be making this. Have a great wknd.

  28. These look AMAZING!!

  29. These look seriously amazing! Sweet and salty is my weakness, so I love the addition of the pretzels!

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