These Salted Caramel Chocolate Bars are healthier, vegan, gluten free AND still tastes crazy delicious! They are light, gooey and healthy!
I am all for giving your sweetheart something sweet for Valentine's Day, but why not make them a little healthier? There's something about Valentine's Day and salted caramel. They are a match made in heaven.
Maybe it reminds me of when my dad would give me those chocolates in the heart shape every year and the only one I would eat (and not spit out) was the chocolate caramel! Don't get me started on the chocolate coconut ones.... I would have to spit them out and rinse my mouth it.
Did you know that I absolutely despise coconut? The smell, taste...all of it. You know I am extremely picky!
There are so many easy to make healthy dessert recipes like these Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Tarts, No Bake Cookie Dough Bars, Almond Flour Thumbprint Cookies and these Mini Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Bites! Wouldn't they all be even yummier with Apple Chai Latte, Chamomile Latte, Low Carb Bulletproof Hot Chocolate or even some Spiked Apple Cider!
Why You Should Make These Salted Caramel Chocolate Bars
These bars are ooey-gooey and taste sinful even if they are packed with fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats. No one has to know, it'll be our secret.
And add the fact that these babies are no bake? This just got real guys. I am so excited about these. My kids loved them too. Even the picky one!
No bake desserts are perfect all year long, but especially during the summer. It's always too hot to turn the oven on. It basically heats up the whole house!
And who in their right mind would eat to heat up their house when it's 90 degrees outside? Not me.
When I was writing my first cookbook, The Everything Wheat Free Diet Cookbook, the dessert chapter was definitely the most difficult for me. Sometimes I would have to create a recipe 5 or 6 times just to get it right!
Gluten free flours can be tricky at times and you really need the perfect ratio of flour to liquid.
I also like to make these when I go to parties or get togethers because it is very allergy friendly. The only thing I haven't covered are nut allergies since there's almond flour in there. But these are perfect for vegans, celiacs (gluten free) and those with dairy allergies.
Check out this fun video which shows how easy these are to make!
- Almond flour - I use the super fine almond flour in all of my baked goods because it lends the lightest, ideal texture, especially in gluten free desserts.
- Ground flax - This contains protein, fiber and has a wonderful texture that is perfect for baked (and non baked) goods. I use this one all the time.
- Cocoa powder - Please read your ingredient labels, it should only ay 100% cocoa powder and nothing else.
- Pure maple syrup - The key here is to use 100% pure maple syrup. The taste and quality are far more superior to ones that just say "maple syrup".
- Coconut oil - I use refined coconut oil which has very little coconut taste (Yes, I know it's not a popular opinion but I don't like the taste of coconut!) The only issue is that refined coconut oil has less antioxidants and vitamins than the virgin coconut oil (as well as a higher smoke points which is good to remember for baked goods) so if you like the taste of coconut, then you can easily use virgin coconut oil.
- Unrefined sugar - This can be whatever sugar you have in the house. I like to use unrefined sugar because it's minimally processed and contains some nutrients. You can use maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, or even try a sugar free alternative such as Monk fruit.
- Coconut cream - I like to use the unsweetened coconut cream because it doesn't contain all of those unnecessary added sugars.
- Chocolate chips - I used sugar free chocolate chips in these tarts. Please read the ingredients for your sugar free chocolate chips. Many of them contain large amounts of sugar alcohols which can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. I use these sugar free chocolate chips all the time.
I personally love dark chocolate, especially with the salted caramel, but you can easily use milk chocolate if you'd like. These are so easy to make, so use what you are in the mood for or what you already have at home!
If you are like me you always have regular cocoa powder and dark chocolate cocoa powder in your house. I'm always ready to go!
This is one of the recipes that you most likely will have all of the ingredients on hand. There's nothing crazy in there. Ok, you might not have coconut cream in your house all the time, but maybe you should stock up for the future. I usually buy 6 cans at a time when I go to Trader Joe's.
This way I am ready to go whenever a salted caramel craving strikes. I always like to be prepared. And I get the salted caramel craving more often than you'd think.
Sometimes I put them in the freezer for a few minutes before I slice them to harden up a bit. It depends on how messy you want to get.
Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark from Lauren Kelly Nutrition
No Bake Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars from Joy Food Sunshine
Salted Caramel and Pecan Chocolate Tarts from Lauren Kelly Nutrition
No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars from A Big Man's World
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Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Bars
- For the crust:
- ½ cup almond flour I used Bob's Red Mill
- ¼ cup flax meal or ground flax
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil melted
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- For the caramel:
- ⅓ cup unrefined sugar
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- For the Topping:
- 10 ounces dark chocolate chips
- Place parchment paper on the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. Spray with baking spray on top of parchment paper.
- Mix all of the ingredients together to make the crust.
- Press crust onto bottom of the pan. Place in the refrigerator while you make the caramel.
- Mix all the ingredients for the caramel together in a small saucepan over a low heat.
- Stir continuously while it thickens, about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour caramel ontop of chocolate crust.
- Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or in a sauce pan over low heat. Pour on top of caramel sauce.
- Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour to harden.
- Cut into 9 bars. Eat immediately and store leftovers in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
I love how gooey these are! We all flipped out over how delicious they are. I had to hide some in the freezer to not eat them all at once!
I am so glad you like them! I like to freeze them too!
Incredible! Delicious & a huge hit with kids. Such a creative way to make caramel and I can’t believe how great it taste. This is a life saving recipe for kids with food allergies . Thank you! ????
Yay! So happy you and the kids loved them, Alexis! xoxo
Lane & Holly @ With Two Spoons
These look amazing! Can't wait to try them!
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes
These look out of this world! Printing the recipe!
These look absolutely incredible!
Is there a way I can make these without coconut? My sister gets allergic reactions to coconut. It looks really yummy though!!
Hi Jessica. If you don't want it to be vegan, you can try regular heavy cream or half and half instead of coconut cream however, I have not tried this! Please come back and let me know how it came out? Thanks for stopping by!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed
Looks amazing! I love no bake treats. These are so tempting! Must make soon…
I followed the recipe to the T, and they taste amazing, but they never firmed up quite right - not enough to served as bars.
Hi Allie! I've placed mine the refrigerator and even freezer for 15 minutes just to harden a bit. Hope that helps!
I made these for a potluck and they went over very well! The crust was a little sticky and I was able to press it most of the way to the edges. Next time, I'll keep a little extra coconut oil out to coat my fingers. I didn't find flax so I used crushed hemp seeds, which are highly nutritious. How did you get the caramel to be so brown and gooey? I cooked it for quite a bit longer than 3-4 minutes and on a little higher heat, but it didn't help much (it was like a layer of white sweetness--still good, but didn't taste like caramel to me). The melted chocolate was very smooth on top, unlike your photo. How did yours come out looking so "bumpy"? All in all, these were delicious and I'd make them again.
Hi Lisa! I am glad you liked them! Maybe mine looked bumpy because of the way I poured it in? I am not sure, but I am happy they tasted good!
Can I use all purpose flour instead of the almond and flax meal and we don't have coconut cream, regular coconut milk would work?
Hi Vivian! I am not exactly sure being that I haven't tried it this way, but I bet you can try condensed milk instead of coconut cream? I bet you can try AP flour as well. Please come back and let me know how it comes out! Thanks!
Hi Lauren, I see several no bake deserts I want to try. How can I get calorie facts?
Hi Patti, I just added nutrition information, thank you!
Ok, I am making these right now and I am having trouble with the crust?!? Are the measurements out? There is no way that the crust could line the bottom of a 9x9 pan and in fact I am can't even spread it thin enough for my 8x8? Help!?
Hi Susie! The crust is relatively thin but it did spread on my 9 x 9 pan. Maybe try a loaf pan? Let me know how they turn out!
OK, so wetting my fingers I managed to press the crust almost out to the edges of my 8x8 pan. Close enough!
My caramel layer also had difficulties, but I think that may have been due to my coconut cream. Where I live some of the options are limited... so my coconut cream came was not in a tetra pack like the one you linked to. It was in a little box with a plastic bag inside and it was quite solid, the instructions said to warm it up to liquify it. Anyway, my sugar/coconut cream/salt layer was in the pot... VERY dry even after a fair while of being on the stove. So I felt like I needed to add some liquid. I added a bit of coconut oil and water and it turned into more what I was expecting it to be and it did slowly dry up a bit like your instructions said (after about 5-8 minutes?) However it never did turn brown, and when I spread it over the cold crust it firmed up even more and became quite thick! Lol!
So I added the chocolate layer, no problem 🙂 and chilled it. We just ate some for our dessert and although ours is definitely not caramel like (a bit more like a nanaimo bar) it is still quite yummy!
I am glad you liked it Susie! Yes, vegan caramel is different than milk based caramel 🙂
OMG. I can't get over how incredibly wonderful these bars look. Seriously amazing.
Thanks so much Kellie!!
C'mon now girl, look how ooey and gooey these are. I just want to reach in my screen and grab one, or ten. You make healthy look good. And you know that means a lot coming from this girl.
Hope we get to see each other this year. I'm starting to map out my conference hopping schedule.
You are so sweet Kim! I am DYING to hang with you again! XO
Amanda @ The Kitcheneer
I am loving these lightened up treats! I too am a fan of dark chocolate!
Good taste Amanda 😉