Salted Caramel Peanut Bars
These salted caramel peanut bars are easy to make, and taste like a favorite candy bar! Perfect to give away as gifts, or savor all for yourself!
If you’ve never made candy bars, these are the perfect way to ease into it! These salted caramel peanut bars use common ingredients, have easy to follow steps, and are very easy to customize!
Do you have a favorite candy bar? I honestly don’t know if I could pick just one… but one that’s definitely on the list is a Payday. That sweet/salty combination is just so mouthwatering! These salted caramel peanut pretzel bars don’t really taste exactly like a Payday… in fact, it’s hard to say exactly what candy bar they DO taste like. I guess the way that would describe it best would be to say it’s a fun mixture of a few different bars.
The base layer is a tender shortbread base, with crushed pretzels mixed in for some extra crunch, then the middle layer reminds me of the nougat in the center of a Snickers bar. The top layer reminds me of a Payday!
While these salted caramel peanut pretzel bars would be perfect to give away as gifts, (just wrap them in wax paper so the caramel doesn’t stick), you may find yourself just unable to part with them. Yep, they’re that GOOD!!
You might think that something so delicious would be hard to make, but not in this case. The hardest part is spreading the nougat layer over the shortbread/pretzel crust, as it can be a bit tough to spread without tearing the base layer. But trust me, if I can do it, so can you 🙂
I’m pretty sure that whoever you share these bars with, well, I sure hope you like them, because they’re going to be your new best friend! Or at least ask you for the recipe 😉
I like to let these bars sit at room temperature about 30 minutes before eating them, since the caramel gets reallllly hard when you refrigerate them. We definitely found that out the hard way… I think we’re STILL trying to pick pieces of caramel out of our teeth lol. For some extra decadence, try popping a bar into the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up… it’ll get super gooey and is perfect topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Do yourself a favor and try making these salted caramel peanut pretzel bars… you definitely won’t regret it!
Recipe originally published on Real Housemoms (where I’m a contributor), and republished here with permission.
Salted Caramel Peanut Bars
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup crushed pretzels
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 7oz jar marshmallow creme
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups salted cocktail peanuts
- 2 14oz bags caramel squares, unwrapped
- 5 Tbsp heavy cream, (or milk)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with heavy foil (or parchment paper), extending foil over the edges of the pan; set pan aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds, until fluffy. Add brown sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat until combined, scraping bowl occasionally if needed.
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, crushed pretzels, baking powder, and baking soda. Beat in flour mixture. If mixture gets too thick for your mixer to handle, use a wooden spoon to incorporate all the flour. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spray the bottom of a measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray and use it to pack the mixture down into that even layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned.
- While the base layer is baking, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine marshmallow creme and peanut butter. Microwave for 1 minute or until softened and slightly melted, stopping to stir after 30 seconds. Stir in powdered sugar. Spread mixture over warm crust.
- Sprinkle with salted peanuts.
- To another microwave-safe bowl, add unwrapped caramels and heavy cream. Stir to coat the caramels in cream, then microwave, 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour caramel mixture evenly over peanut layer.
- Cool in pan on wire rack. Using the foil, lift the uncut bars out of the pan. Cut into bars or into bite-sized pieces. Makes 48 bars 3.0”x0.75” in size.