Any time I see the words “salted caramel” my senses perk up. There is just something about that sweet and salty contrast that is just so alluring. So when this No Bake Salted Caramel Bars recipe came onto my radar, I was immediately drawn in. And to my pleasant surprise, this recipe is not only dairy-free, it’s also paleo-friendly, vegan and plant-based, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, and low sugar. It’s a perfect “healthy” treat for so many dietary needs.
No Bake Salted Caramel Bars are Paleo, Plant-Based, and Low Sugar
This No Bake Salted Caramel Bars recipe is a sample from the book Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks―While Burning Fat Overnight by Joel Marion.
Joel’s book includes more than 70 recipes, but to be clear, not all are dairy-free. He does use some dairy in the form of cheese and a couple other ingredients. But the desserts are primarily dairy free, and if you like the premise of this book, the dairy in it is relatively easy to substitute. He doesn’t seem to rely heavily on dairy ingredients.
In his book, Joel debunks popular diet myths, including the one that says you shouldn’t eat before bed. In fact, he says these No Bake Salted Caramel Bars are a perfectly healthy way to satisfy a nighttime sweet tooth.
Special Diet Notes: No Bake Salted Caramel Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, paleo, and refined sugar-free.
- 2½ cups raw pecans
- 8 pitted dates, soaked in hot water 10 minutes then drained
- 2 tablespoons blanched almond flour
- 1 teaspoon coconut flour
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup granular zero-calorie, natural sweetener
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup coconut palm sugar
- ½ cup granular zero-calorie, natural sweetener
- 2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups stevia-sweetened chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- Coconut oil, for parchment
- ⅓ cup dry roasted macadamia nuts, chopped
- Coarse sea salt
- To make cookie layer: Place large skillet over medium heat. Spread pecans over skillet and toast, stirring often, 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove from heat.
- Transfer toasted pecans to food processor and pulse until fine. Add dates, almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, sweetener and coconut oil; pulse until dough forms.
- To make caramel layer: In skillet over medium heat, combine coconut palm sugar, sweetener, coconut milk, coconut oil, sea salt and vanilla extract; bring to boil. Once boiling, decrease heat to low and cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove skillet from heat; whisk in baking soda. Return pan to low heat and cook 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove caramel from heat and let cool and thicken 5 minutes.
- To make chocolate layer: In double boiler, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil. Stir until mixture is smooth then remove from heat.
- To assemble salted caramel bars: Line bottom and sides of 9-by-9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving some hanging over sides. Lightly rub parchment paper with coconut oil.
- Press cookie dough into bottom of pan to create even layer. Place in freezer 5 minutes to harden.
- Pour caramel over cookie layer and spread to coat evenly. Place in freezer 5 minutes. Pour chocolate over caramel and spread to cover evenly. Sprinkle with macadamia nuts and coarse salt. Place in freezer 10 minutes until chocolate sets.
- Use overhanging parchment paper to ease set mixture out of pan. Transfer to cutting board and slice into bite-size bars.