A no-bake soft and chewy granola bar dipped in chocolate and infused with salted caramel!
There’s no season I love more than Fall. The crisp, cool air, the beautiful hues of orange, red and yellow leaves that surround you, and not to mention, the wonderful FLAVORS of Fall! Pumpkin…apple…cinnamon…nutmeg…caramel!!! Ah! I LOVE FALL!!!
While Fall (or Autumn, whatever you prefer to call it) doesn’t officially start until September 23rd (’cause Google says so), it doesn’t mean we can’t start lighting our Pumpkin Pecan Waffle scented candles (Yes, they do exist! Check out Bath & Body Works!), wear cute flannel shirts, leggings and Ugg boots, or bake anything and everything with the words Pumpkin Spice, Salted Caramel, and Apple Cider in the title.
So to kick off the start (or SOON to start) of Fall, I decided to make…..brr brr brr!
Chocolate Dipped Salted Caramel Granola Bars!
How can you not be in love with every word in this title?
Let me say it again…Chocolate…Dipped…Salted…Caramel…Granola bars, people!
I absolutely love the sweet and salty combo when you combine chocolate, caramel, and salt! If you’ve ever tried and fallen in love with those Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels from Trader Joe’s, you know what I mean!
Granola bars are one of my favorite grab-and-go snacks, so I figured, why not incorporate one of my favorite candies into a sweet and salty, ooey chewy granola bar? Genius!
These bars were bomb! Because I used a combination of Rice Krispies cereal and quick-cooking oats, the bars didn’t end up jaw-breakingly chewy. They were perfectly soft and chewy, just like the Quaker oatmeal bars you buy at the store! Yet without all of those manufactured artificial additives, of course!
And the sweet and salty combo of the salt with the caramel and the chocolate was bombtastic! (How many times can I use the word, bomb, without sounding suspicious to the NSA?)
And don’t forget the almonds! Their nutty crunch added a nice contrast to the chewiness of the oats as well as the richness of the chocolate and salted caramel! Can you say, YUMMMMM?!
Not only is there NO BUTTER and NO OIL involved in this recipe (Yes, it’s healthy! Kind of…), but there’s NO OVEN involved either! That’s right, NO-BAKE! Probably one of the only times when three No’s in a sentence is actually a good thing.
This recipe does require you to make caramel, which can seem intimidating, but it’s really not as bad/hard as you may think. Just remember two things:
1. After the caramel has turned a yellowish color (usually about 6 minutes in), it doesn’t take long at all for it to darken to it’s desired amber color, so be sure to keep a CLOSE EYE on it the whole time. Low and slow is the way to go, bro! Or sis…
2. No matter how tempting it is, DO NOT try to taste (or touch) the caramel right after you’ve made it. It may not look hot once you’ve added the milk, but trust me, it is! I’ve had a few blockhead experiences in my life and unfortunately, trying to taste boiling hot caramel is one of them (face palm).
If you have those two things down, you’re covered! Now get to making these Chocolate Dipped Salted Caramel Granola Bars before Fall is over!
- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
- 3/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Grease an 8x8 inch square dish with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, cereal, and almonds. Set aside.
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan. Carefully pour the sugar into the center of the saucepan, trying not to let any touch the sides of the pan. Gently swirl (NOT stir) the pan around until all of the sugar is moistened. Cook sugar over medium high heat for 7-8 minutes until it reaches a light amber color. Mine started turning a light yellow at 6 minutes. Turn heat down to medium low and continue cooking until caramel reaches a medium-dark amber color, gently swirling (again NOT stirring) pan to ensure even caramelization. Remove from heat.
- Whisk the milk into the caramel. Just a little warning, caramel will sizzle and bubble up as you stir the milk in, so be careful! Once the bubbling has slowed down, whisk in the salt and vanilla.
- Pour caramel over oat mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly coated. Immediately pour mixture into greased dish. Spray some extra cooking spray onto your hands and firmly press mixture into an even layer.
- Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, melt chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth.
- Remove the granola bars by loosening the edges with a knife and then flipping it out onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars.
- Dip each bar into the melted chocolate*, then finish with a sprinkling of kosher salt. Refrigerate bars until chocolate has set. Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap, if desired, and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- *If you're not getting the desired coverage of chocolate by dipping, it might be easier to use a rubber spatula, knife, or spoon to scoop a bit of chocolate onto the bar and then spreading it across the top of each bar.