Bake or Break

Salty Cashew-Caramel Bars

Every once in a while, we all need a ridiculously gooey, messy, amazingly delicious dessert. This one certainly qualifies.

These bars are layer upon layer of good stuff. It all starts with a simple crust that benefits in a salty way from crushed pretzels. Then, there’s a layer of gooey caramel. That’s then topped off with cashews, chocolate, and a sprinkling of coarse salt. It’s sweet and salty heaven!

Salty Cashew Caramel Bars are a wonderful sweet and salty treat full of chocolate, caramel, and cashews.

It’s been a while since I made something this fantastically gooey. Even at room temperature, the caramel is plenty soft and gooey. You can up the ante by heating the bars slightly before serving. Just be sure you eat these with friends, as you’re likely not only to make a mess but also to make some embarrassing yummy sounds while you eat them.

While these are perfectly delicious just as they are, you could go all out and serve the bars with a big scoop of ice cream. What a wonderful sweet ending to a meal!

Salty Cashew-Caramel Bars

Yield 24 2-inch bars
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Salty Cashew-Caramel Bars


  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely crushed pretzels
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 11 ounces soft caramels, unwrapped
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chunks
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt*


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9"x 13" baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, pretzels, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and mix well.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until almost combined. Stir in oats.
  5. Reserve 1 cup of mixture for topping.
  6. Transfer remaining mixture to prepared pan and press evenly.
  7. Place condensed milk and caramels in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium-low heat until caramels have melted and mixture is smooth.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over oat mixture in pan. Spread evenly.
  9. Sprinkle cashews, chocolates, and sea salt over caramel. Drop reserved oat mixture over the bars.
  10. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until bars are light brown.
  11. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use the edges of the foil lining to lift the bars out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.


*I used the larger amount because I used unsalted cashews. Adjust to your own tastes.

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    7 Comments on “Salty Cashew-Caramel Bars”

  1. These bars are totally calling my name!! Yum!

  2. OMG! All of my favorites in one bar. Pinning!

  3. That caramel oozing out. Whoa. I’m sold.

  4. I made these last weekend and everyone loved them. Not too sweet actually, which was great! The caramel layer didn’t really set and I can see that, now, in your pictures. I’m wondering whether the condensed milk could be cut back a bit? But, then, there would be left over from a full can and what to do with that? Thai tea? 😉 Thanks for another great recipe, Jennifer!

  5. Although this recipe sounds delicious, I think that the baking time is way off. The base, with all the oats mixed in, is very heavy and takes more than 30 minutes to bake through. I have a new oven and set time and temp. correctly, so I was disappointed that this recipe with quite expensive ingredients left me without correct instructions.

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