This recipe started with a single sweet craving for caramel. I wanted it silky and coating apples as soon as the first days of fall hit. I wanted it chewy, lightly salted, and wrapped in little wax papers. Then, I wanted it gushing out between layers of chocolate. That's when I gave in.
There is nothing like Halloween to get your sweet tooth going. I used to be a total sucker for those sugary fruit-flavored candies you would fill pillow cases with as a kid, but now I'm more for anything chocolate (which you might already know, just from perusing the dessert section of this site). Visions of chocolate layers is probably what ultimately did me in with that caramel craving.
A word of warning: this caramel is ooey-gooey. Like, if you plan on taking the whole batch of bars out of the pan at once, make sure you have a plate or napkins handy. That ooey-gooey deliciousness can get a little sticky! But see all of those caramelly drips? They are what make this so sinfully good. Exactly what you'll want to dig into when you sit down to watch a scary movie tonight, or what you'll want to munch on between answering the door for trick-or-treaters.
But they're also not a Halloween exclusive--if you ask me, caramel and chocolate fit well with just about any holiday you name, even if that holiday is I-just-freakin-want-a-treat-right-now day. (Note: they are really good on those days. I know, because I had a few recently.)
Serves: 20 | Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
For the Crust:
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup butter For the Caramel:
- 1 can (14 ounce) coconut milk
- 1/2 cup mild flavored honey
- Pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla For the top:
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 20 whole pecans
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or flake sea salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a 9x9 glass baking dish with parchment paper.
- Then, make the crust. In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry crust ingredients and whisk to minimize clumps. Then, in a small bowl, melt honey and butter. Pour melted butter and honey into dry mixture and stir with a spatula until a crumbly dough forms. It should stick together when you squeeze it between your pointer finger and thumb. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared 9x9 pan in an even layer. Then, bake for 8-9 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- Next, make the caramel. Add coconut milk and honey to a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Bring to a gentle boil. While the stove heats, pour cold water into a medium side bowl or glass and set near by. Cook caramel at a gentle boil, and stir constantly, until it reaches the soft ball stage. Then, remove from heat, and stir in vanilla, butter and salt. Allow caramel to cool 5 minutes.
- Once the caramel has cooled for about 5 minutes (careful, it will still be a bit warm), pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup caramel over the crust, and spread into an ever layer. Place in fridge to allow caramel to set further.
- While caramel sets, make the chocolate topping: heat chocolate chips and butter in the microwave for 30 seconds, and stir, and then heat again for 30 seconds, repeating process until chocolate is smooth and no chips remain (You can also do this in a double boiler). Working quickly, remove caramel bars from fridge, and drizzle chocolate over top (see note below). Spread in an even layer using a spatula. While chocolate is still setting, arrange pecans on top and sprinkle with salt. Return to fridge until chocolate has set (about 10 minutes), and then slice into 20 rectangles to serve.
- Note: if your caramel is a bit runny, you can place it in the freezer to help it set more before you add the chocolate. When you do add the chocolate, the cold caramel will make it set even quicker, so work in small batches, spreading on part of the chocolate at once.