Salted caramel for the win!
Also: oats for the win.
And also more specifically: oats with pretzels and dates and pecans and caramel and chocolate and sea salt as a snack and dessert — um, yes. Going for the epic major win here.
If you’ve been to my house, our studio, or a workshop here recently, there is a 100% chance that I offered you a peanut butter pretzel energy bite or raw salted chocolate snack bar because I can’t stop poppin’ these easy, versatile, nutritious little snacks. I hope you’ve enjoyed this phase of overwhelming love for the snack zone, because friends? Today we level up.
About 3 days ago, I officially graduated from the basic snack obsession to a more sweet, more luscious, more snack-meets-dessert type situation that includes a similarly delicious oat and date and pretzel base, a layer of chocolate with sea salt on top, and a little golden nugget of soft salted caramel tucked away inside. GOLDEN NUGGET. SOFT SALTED CARAMEL. NO-BAKE. I cannot. Buuut I really, really can. Things are getting serious and delicious.
These little snacky-dessert winners are called No-Bake Salted Caramel Cups, and they remind me of peanut butter cups but a more interesting, sophisticated and homemade version.
The thing I love most about No-Bake Salted Caramel Cups is that there is literally never a bad time for them. I would consider this one of THE MOST universally appealing foods at any time of day. Whatever time of day you’re thinking of right now – it’s gonna work. You really just can’t go wrong.
Morning treat (hi Saturday morning looking at u), mid-morning snack treat, post-lunch sweet bite, pre OR post workout celebration, afternoon pick-me-up (just try it with a nice creamy, strong latte. I mean, UGH can you even right now?), or probably most likely in our case –> the answer to the question: what will we eat as a bed-time-ish snack while we sit on the couch and watch movies?
Answer: oat and pretzel cups with a little soft salted caramel kiss and a chocolate top hat, with a light, little touch of sea salt fairy dust for good measure.
The thing I love second most about No-Bake Salted Caramel Cups is that they are one of those you-already-have-everything-on-hand recipes, which is my ultimate goal in life and therefore one of the things I strive for with the recipes I share on POY. Our blog tagline should be: recipes that you will actually make in real life. That’s my goal.
And with our beloved oats being right at the core of this recipe, this recipe stays true to that goal.
You can mix and match and make it work with whatever you have on hand — as long as you’ve got the oats as the solid base ingredient (which you obviously do). Being that oats are nutritious, affordable, versatile, and always in the pantry, the oats are the bring-it-all-together mother of this little caramel cups ingredient family.
Mwah! Happy Friday, lovely people of the food internet.
I don’t tell you often enough how much I like you. Now have a salted caramel cup.
No-Bake Salted Caramel Cups! Oat crust with a soft salted caramel center, topped with chocolate and sea salt. Perfect for a quick snack or dessert!
- 1½ cups Quaker Rolled Oats
- 1½ cups pecan halves
- 1/2 cup pretzels
- 8 whole medjool dates, pitted
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- a pinch of coarse sea salt
- 1 cup thick caramel – could be homemade salted caramel, date caramel, or store bought caramel pieces melted into a sauce, but make sure it is a little bit salty!
- 2 cups chocolate chips, melted
- sea salt, optional, for topping
- CRUST: Pulse the oats, pecans, and pretzels in a food processor until broken down into small pieces. Add the dates, coconut oil, and sea salt and pulse until a soft dough forms. Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes to help the mixture become easier to work with.
- CARAMEL: Meanwhile, prepare the caramel and melt the chocolate.
- ASSEMBLY: When the crust mixture is firm enough, press into a muffin tin, leaving a well in the center of each. Add a tablespoon or two of caramel into each cup and top with chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt if you want. Refrigerate or freeze until hardened. Remove from muffin tins and serve (give them a little time if they’ve been frozen). Yummmmmy.
The crust for these can also be made with the Peanut Butter Pretzel Energy Bites base!
Thank you to our friends at Quaker Oats for sponsoring this post!