Thick and delicious caramel crunch bars made in less than 5 minutes using simple ingredients. (No gluten, dairy or refined sugar!)
It's been a rough week. Maybe it's motherhood wearing me down. Maybe it's battling a chronic illness. Little things and big things are stressing me out.
My friends and family are going through some of the most heartbreaking times. I feel like I want to hide under a rock and also karate chop a stack of bricks, and also eat a bucket of mashed potatoes.
But instead I'm keeping myself busy in the kitchen, cranking out treats. Because that's something that makes me happy. Things are out of my control so I've gotta lay this burden down at Jesus' feet. All I can do right now is PRAY and COOK 🙂
So here you have CARAMEL CRUNCH BARS. Omg, that Bite. The texture. The crispity CRUNCH. Sometimes I crave a snack that delivers that thick texture I can sink my teeth into. And these satisfied that craving in such an EASY way!
Easy = Mix 'n Chill! The best type of recipe, right?? No food processor, and no soaking, baking, or waiting hours upon hours. Just stir together the ingredients and press into a pan. Chill for a few. That's it!
The caramel in this recipe was inspired by my recipe for Low-Carb Caramels! (One of my current favorite treats.)
It's also a super easy, whisk everything together and chill type of recipe. And the flavor is just undeniably GOOD.
You'd probably never guess these ingredients turn into caramel, but surprisingly they do!
The magic formula is cashew butter mixed with coconut oil, vanilla, salt and sweetener (in this case- maple syrup). It really does taste like caramel! *Cashew butter is KEY for the flavor you want!
We're maxin' out the caramel flavor here! These bars have caramel mixed into the bars AND drizzled on top as a GLAZE. Super YUM.
My favorite BUTTER
You don't need any traditional butter to hold these bars together and give them a delicious flavor.
These bars are held together with coconut butter! It makes them super thick, rich, and dense, which contrasts so well with the light and airy rice crispies and the soft & silky caramel drizzle on top! Such a perfect combo.
Whoever invented coconut butter, THANK YOU! I love you lol. Have you ever tried it? It reminds me of shortbread. So yummy. (And no, it doesn't taste like coconut!) 🙂
I love making my own coconut butter to save money (since the store-bought stuff can get pricey!). It's super simple to make too. (See my notes below the recipe for how.)
One bowl, and less than 5 minutes! What are you waiting for?? Get ready for CARAMEL CRUNCH!
ps. Looking for more healthy crunch bars?? These Reese's Crunch Bars are definitely one of my faves!
If you make a recipe from Pretty Pies, I wanna see! Tag me on Instagram @emily.likes.food #prettypies! 😀
Caramel Crunch Bars (Vegan, GF)
Caramel Crunch Bars
To make the bars:
- Mix together all ingredients (except cereal) in a large mixing bowl until well combined. (Melt if your ingredients are cold/hardened.)
- Fold in rice cereal.
- Press mixture firmly to a 1" thickness into a loaf pan or small baking dish lined with parchment paper.
For the glaze:
- Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl (gently melt, if needed)
- Drizzle glaze over bars.
- Freeze bars for 15 minutes or until set. Slice into 1 ½" - 2" pieces.
- Optional - sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Enjoy!
Homemade coconut butter: Blend 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut in a food processor for about 15 minutes until liquefied. Stop to scrape down the sides as needed, and/or to give your food processor a rest. Optional: use store-bought coconut butter. (Just be sure to melt and stir before use to mix in the oil!) Buy here: Pure Maple Syrup & Cashew Butter from Aldi Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil Whole Foods 365 brand Crisp Brown Rice Cereal, which is gluten-free To store: Keep tightly wrapped in an airtight container in the fridge for about 1-2 weeks, or frozen for 1 month.