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Pretzel-Crusted Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

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six vegan sisters salted caramel pretzel crusted cookie bars 14
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These bars have a pretzel crust that’s topped with two layers of chocolate chip cookie stuffed with gooey homemade caramel. They’re decadently sweet and salty and are guaranteed to be the talk of the party (assuming you decide to share rather than keeping them all to yourself).

Ingredients

These bars have three delicious components: a pretzel crust, chocolate chip cookie, and caramel, all made from scratch using simple vegan ingredients.

Pretzel Crust

  • crushed pretzels
  • melted vegan butter
  • light brown sugar

Cookie Dough

Caramel

  • granulated sugar
  • vegan butter
  • nondairy creamer (we prefer soy or oat)
  • pure vanilla extract
  • salt

How to make these bars

First, you’ll make a simple pretzel crust. All you need is crushed pretzels, vegan butter, and brown sugar. Once you mix up your ingredients, press the mixture down into a lined 9″x9″ pan and set aside.

Next, you’ll make some Easy Vegan Caramel Sauce. You’ll carefully melt down some granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in vegan butter, then vegan creamer. Place back over heat, continuously whisk, and allow it to bubble for about 30 seconds before removing from heat again. Stir in some vanilla and salt and voila, easy vegan caramel sauce!

Finally, you’ll make a classic chocolate chip cookie dough. This recipe is based off of our classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, which results in a soft, chewy, and chocolatey cookie bar.

To assemble, you’ll press about half of the cookie dough on top of the pretzel crust. Parbake this at 350°F for 10 minutes. Evenly pour the caramel overtop, spreading it around to cover the bottom. Take remaining pieces of cookie dough and press them flat, placing them on top of the caramel and covering as much of the caramel as possible. Top with extra chocolate chips then flaky sea salt. Bake for another 18-22 minutes, until the top is lightly golden-brown. Immediately sprinkle extra sea salt on top. Allow to cool, then slice into 16 pieces (these are pretty thick so if serving to a crowd, you may want to cut each piece in half again for 32 total pieces).

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Pretzel-Crusted Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

These bars have a pretzel crust that's topped with two layers of chocolate chip cookie stuffed with gooey homemade caramel. They're decadently sweet and salty.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 16 bars

Ingredients
  

For the pretzel crust:

  • 1 cup (100 g) crushed pretzels
  • 6 tbsp (90 ml) melted vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup (55 g) packed light brown sugar

For the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick / 56 g) vegan butter*, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) nondairy creamer, at room temperature (we prefer soy or oat)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the cookie dough:

  • 2 1/4 cups (281 g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly*)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp (5 g) cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks [169 g]) vegan butter, slightly softened*
  • 1/3 cup (73 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup (255 g) vegan chocolate chips, separated

For topping

  • Flaky sea salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F (180°C). Line a 9"×9” (23×23 cm) pan with parchment paper and set aside.

  • Make the pretzel crust: Stir together all ingredients. Press firmly into the pan. Set aside.
  • Make the caramel: Place the sugar into a saucepan over low-medium heat. Stir often, until the sugar begins to clump and melt. Continue to stir until the sugar melts completely.*
  • Remove from heat and add in the butter, whisking until combined. Add the creamer and whisk until combined.*
  • Place back over low-medium heat, continuously stirring, until it gets bubbly. Stir for another minute or so.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and salt.
  • Strain the caramel into a heat-safe bowl. Set aside for later.
  • Make the cookie dough: Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch to medium mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Add the butter, brown sugar, and sugars to a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and beat again until creamy.
  • Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until just combined.
  • Fold in 1 cup (170 g) of chocolate chips.
  • Gently press half of the cookie dough evenly on top of the crust. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • If the caramel has thickened, melt in the microwave or on the stovetop until it has a pourable consistency. Pour the caramel evenly over the parbaked cookie, spreading so that it covers the cookie. Flatten out pieces of the remaining cookie dough and evenly place on top, covering as much of the caramel as you can.
  • Top with the remaining 1/2 cup (85 g) chocolate chips and gently press in. Sprinkle sea salt on top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, until lightly golden-brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle more sea salt on top.
  • Allow to cool and slice into 16 bars.

Notes

  1. You should use vegan buttery sticks (like Earth Balance) in this recipe rather than butter out of a tub.
  2. Measure your flour using the spoon-and-level method (or by weighing) or your bars may turn out dry and crumbly.
  3. You’ll need some patience for this. Continuously stir the sugar and don’t increase the heat past medium if it’s not melting, it’ll take a few minutes before it begins to melt at all!
  4. If your sugar seizes when adding one of these ingredients, place it back over low-medium heat and continuously whisk until the ingredients combine, then continue with the next step.
Categories:
    • Radmila
    • May 11, 2022
    Reply

    So amazing! Could these be made gluten free??

    • Jenny
    • May 20, 2023
    Reply

    Will these freeze well to make ahead for a party ?

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