Salted Chocolate Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Crunch Bars

Salted Chocolate Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Crunch Bars

Salted Chocolate Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Crunch Bars

My friend Justin who writes the blog Just Cook NYC* stopped eating gluten last year before the New York Food Blogger Bake Sale.

He looked great and felt much better, but it was challenging for him when it came to eating out with friends. When you go gluten-free, you’re limited by what you can eat, especially when it comes to sweets because there’s a whole lotta gluten going on.

I’ve always loved to bake. Not because I have such a sweet tooth, but because it makes people really happy. So there’s always lots of gluten in my oven. But, challenged and inspired by Justin and knowing that there’d be more people with gluten allergies at the Brooklyn Flea, where the bake sale was held, I thought let me make something for those folks.

What would be yummy? I’m not one to try and take things that have gluten and make them gluten-free. I find it much easier to take things that are and always have been gluten-free and make them delish! That way whether they’re gluten-free or not becomes irrelevant.

That’s how I came up with Salted Chocolate Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Crunch Bars.

My theory turned out to be very accurate at the bake sale. They sold out in a jiffy and they are what I’m making for this year’s New York Food Blogger Bake Sale.

Each Spring, a team of NYC food bloggers and bakers get together to bake a difference for No Kid Hungry. Help end childhood hunger by eating cake at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene tomorrow.

Proceeds will benefit No Kid Hungry, the national nonprofit organization working to end childhood hunger in the U.S. by 2015. 

*Here’s Justin’s post: One Year Gluten Free

I wondered what happens when you pour hot, homemade caramel over rice crispy treats rather than over loose crisped rice cereal. It holds the bar shape better. It’s a wonderful base for all kinds of delicious treats. Or you could just eat it as is.

Salted Chocolate Honey Roasted Peanut Caramel Crunch Bars


  • parchment paper
  • 2 sheets of rice paper
  • 10 ounces marshmallows (I use mini ones because they melt faster.)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 7 cups crisped rice cereal
  • 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate (How To Temper Chocolate)
  • 1 pound honey roasted peanuts
  • 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt
  • Caramel Recipe


  1. Prepare a half sheet pan (18” x 13” x 1”) by lining it with parchment paper so there is an overhang of paper at least 1” on all sides. Use masking tape to hold it in place.
  2. Coat the parchment paper well with cooking spray or butter. Line bottom of the sheet pan with rice paper.
  3. In a large saucepan, melt butter. With a silicone spatula in marshmallows until they are melted. Remove from heat. With an oiled wooden spoon, mix in the crisped rice cereal and stir quickly to incorporate all the cereal.
  4. Press crisped rice mixture evenly into the prepared pan being careful not to shift the rice paper. Don’t worry if the rice paper tears a little bit.
  5. Prepare caramel recipe according to instructions. Pour hot caramel over rice crispy base. Gently tap pan to make sure caramel is evenly distributed.
  6. Sprinkle the caramel evenly with honey roasted peanuts. Gently tap the pan to make sure the peanuts are sticking to the caramel and redistribute any loose peanuts being careful not to put your fingers in the hot caramel or to splash it. Cool completely.
  7. Temper the chocolate according to instructions.
  8. Drizzle half the tempered chocolate on top of the honey roasted peanuts. Gently tap the pan to make sure the chocolate sticks to the peanuts. Then drizzle with remaining chocolate. Dust chocolate evenly with salt. Cool completely.
  9. Remove bars from pan by lifting the parchment paper out of the sheet pan. Place the sheet on a cutting board. Cut it in half widthwise. Working with half of it at a time, remove parchment paper and slice into 1 inch by bars.


NOTES: Feel free to switch this recipe around. Use milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate instead of the semisweet chocolate. Use toasted walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts etc., instead of the peanuts.

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Salted Caramels

Gluten-Free, Desserts & Chocolate
I suggest you use the finest ingredients you can to make these because it adds to the “deliciousity”. That said, no one will refuse them if you use supermarket butter and cream.
Salted Caramels


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or a vanilla bean
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons flaked sea salt


  1. Prepare 9” x 9” pan by lining with parchment paper and generously spraying with cooking spray.
  2. Warm cream with the vanilla (If using a vanilla bean, split the bean in half lengthwise. Steep it in the cream. Then scrape the seeds into the cream and discard the pod) and the salt. Set it aside with a small strainer ready to pour it into the caramel syrup.
  3. Cut butter into small cubes and have it ready to be added to the caramel.
  4. Place sugar, water and corn syrup in heavy bottom saucepan (I used a 3 quart saucepan, but a 4 quart saucepan might be a little less scary) and heat it on low flame, stirring gently to melt sugar, being careful not to splash the sugar mixture around. Use a damp pastry brush to wash sugar crystals down the sides of the pan, if you see sugar clinging to the sides of the pan.
  5. Once the sugar is melted, raise heat to medium and cook the mixture until it begins to turn golden colored and then caramel colored, approximately ten minutes. BE VERY CAREFUL not to take it too far or the caramel will be burn. Take it off just before you think it’s ready. Remove from heat and add butter and strained cream. THE MIXTURE WILL BOIL FURIOUSLY—don’t be scared—it’s kind of exciting! Stir with a silicone spatula to completely mix in the butter and the cream. Return the mixture to the stove on a medium heat and carefully add the candy thermometer to the pot making sure the end of the thermometer is NOT touching the bottom of the saucepan.
  6. Bring mixture to 250°F, remove from heat and immediately pour into prepared pan.
  7. Add choice of ingredients.
  8. Cool for 20 hours. Gently remove the parchment paper and slice caramel into 1” x 1” squares. Wrap caramels in waxed paper or cellophane paper.
  9. Store in an airtight plastic container, in a cool spot.
Total time:
Yield: Makes 64 1” x 1” caramels


What I love about them is the versatility of the many ways to flavor them once you have a solid base recipe.

Chocolate: I poured tempered chocolate on the cooled caramels. You could also cut the caramels and dip them in chocolate. This is a lot more more work, but then you can sprinkle stuff on top like toasted nuts and dried fruits and caramelized crisped rice. You can also add cocoa powder to the cream to make a chocolate caramel. I did it, but I didn’t measure. I’d guess about a 1/2 cup.

Beer: Reduce a 12 oz bottle of beer down to a syrup and add it to the cream.

Sesame: Add 1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds. I used both black-and-white ones and they looked amazing. I poured the caramel on top of the sesame seeds in the prepared pan.

Cardamon: Empty six cardamom pods, grind the seeds and infuse them into the cream.