No-Bake Crispy Caramel Squares

No-Bake Crispy Caramel Squares

It’s not easy to find recipes that combine super healthy ingredients and a decadent, delicious flavor! These no-bake crispy caramel squares from the Clean Desserts cookbook by Karielyn Tillmann are a perfect on-the-go snack and the best after-dinner treat. Let’s dive into the delightful process of preparing these sweet vegan creations!

No-Bake Delight!

This recipe is fantastic for so many reasons. Using very few clean ingredients, we can make a healthy and nutritious treat without even using an oven! Yup! No baking required here. So convenient!

So what exactly do we need to whip these bars up? As the main ingredients, we have Medjool dates, which give it the caramel flavor and incredible sweetness, the creamy and beloved peanut butter which makes them rich and sticky, rice crispies to give it texture and crunch, and finally, coconut oil to bring it all together.  

Crispy Caramel Squares

Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword Caramel bars, Caramel Squares, Healthy Squares, Peanut Butter Bars, Vegan Treat
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 10 minutes
Servings 7 bars
Author Karielyn Tillman

Ingredients

For the peanut butter crispy layer:

  • 3 cups of brown rice cereal crispies unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

For the caramel layer:

  • 1 cup of medjool dates
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

For the chocolate topping:

  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Instructions

Prepare the peanut butter crispy layer:

  1. Prepare an 8 × 8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Add all ingredients for the peanut butter crispy layer to a food processor and process until the cereal is broken down into small pieces and everything is well combined, taking care to not over process.

  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread it evenly on the bottom of the dish. Place an extra piece of parchment paper on top of the peanut butter crispy mixture and press it down very tight and compact. Set aside.

Prepare the caramel layer:

  1. Add all ingredients for the caramel layer to a food processor and process until the dates are broken down into small pieces and everything is well combined.

  2. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and spread it evenly over the top of the peanut butter crispy layer.

Prepare the chocolate topping:

  1. Add all ingredients for the chocolate topping to a small saucepan and melt on lowest heat, stirring until it is completely melted and smooth, taking care to not let it burn.

  2. Pour the chocolate topping evenly over the top of the caramel layer.

Assembly:

  1. Place the baking dish in the freezer overnight, or until the squares are firm.

  2. Remove the baking dish from the freezer and cut it into 16 squares or 8 large bars.

Recipe Notes

Store in an air-tight container in the freezer or refrigerator until ready to serve, because the squares will get soft if left out at room temperature.

Dreamy & Gooey Medjool Dates!

When you attempt to prepare no-bake (or raw) sweet vegan recipes, you’ll probably need some dates. But which dates are the best? There are several varieties of dates, like the dayri, deglet noor and the famous Medjool. Let’s start by saying that they are ALL incredibly delicious on their own, not all are soft and squishy enough to work well in recipes like this.

The king dates will always be the Medjool variety! It’s caramel consistency, and softness makes them such a heavenly treat but also so perfect for baking. But even these vary in quality and texture. If they’ve had their pits removed or have been sitting on shelves for ages, they dry out and will lose their soft and pliable consistency. The fresher, the better!

If you’ve been wondering how to make the easiest vegan caramel (or dulce de leche), then Medjool dates will show up big time. Add a cup of soft, fresh dates plus a bit of water and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to your blender or food processor and blend until creamy.  This is so good! I’ve used it to make vegan snickers or even as the filling for a vegan banoffee pie. Please try it! 

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Can I Make The Crispy Caramel Squares if I Have a Nut Allergy?

Absolutely! Even if this recipe calls for peanut butter you can make substitutions in order to make it allergy-friendly. Instead of the nut butter, you can use sunflower butter (also known as sun butter). It’s super yummy and it will not change the consistency of the bars. 

You can also try pumpkin seed butter which is full of important nutrients like zinc and magnesium. If you can’t find any of these alternatives you can always try to make your own! Buy some sunflower or pumpkin seeds in bulk and process them until you get a creamy butter consistency. Pretty awesome! 

About The Cookbook!

The Clean Desserts cookbook is truly a gem for those with gluten intolerances or those looking for healthy and clean sweet alternatives. It’s full of amazingly delicious recipes that require absolutely no baking! It’s definitely one of those must-have vegan cookbooks. If you have a friend with a gluten sensitivity then this would be such a great gift! 

The author, Karielyn Tillmann, has a huge selection of guilt-free indulgences on her blog The Healthy Family & Home and has found a passion for creating unprocessed clean vegan recipes. 

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Need More Easy Vegan Snack Ideas? 

Excerpted from Clean Desserts: Delicious No-Bake Vegan & Gluten-Free Cookies, Bars, Balls, and More, with permission from Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. Copyright 2019 by Karielyn Tillman. Photographs by Karielyn Tillman. This article contains affiliate links, and shopping through these links supports World of Vegan.

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