Caramel Pretzel Bars

Caramel Pretzel Bars

The Super Bowl means two things for me: commercials and half time.  I like football.  I like the players and their stories.  The underdog winning when you least expect it.  Learning the stories behind the game.  Hearing about the people that aren’t always at the forefront of publicity.  Having something to cheer for, along with the rest of the country, even when it seems there isn’t anything to be happy about.  I love watching the pregame shows.  I’m a FOX viewer, welcoming Curt, Terry, Howie, Michael, and Jimmy into my home every week during the season, along with my local pregame team.  They make me laugh and teach me something about a game I’m not all that familiar with.  I haven’t missed an episode of Inside the NFL in years, even as it changed hosts and networks.

Other than touchdowns and field goals, first downs and punts, I don’t know much about the game itself at all.  Off sides, holding, pass interference, it’s like another language.  When I’m watching Inside the NFL, I fast forward through the highlight segments.  The game itself kind of bores me.  But at the end of the day it’s about moments of amazing plays and winners and losers.  That fascinates me.  I’ll be the first to cheer for an amazing play.  A zero – zero tie heading into the fourth quarter?  I’ll be in the kitchen.

Caramel Pretzel Bars

Caramel Pretzel Bars

The Super Bowl is the only game I actually sit on the couch and watch.  And truthfully, I don’t really watch it.  I can’t get enough of the day long pre game coverage.  Musical performances before the game excite me.  Then the game comes on and I pick up my latest read or my phone to catch up on blog work and email.  But everything gets set aside when the commercials begin.  In a world where I fast forward through every commercial, this is the one night when I am riveted by them, occasionally rewinding to catch it again.  If I need to pause for any reason, it’s during the game I catch up.

Halftime is the best.  A performer’s best in less than fifteen minutes.  It couldn’t get better with not only Beyonce, but also a Destiny’s Child reunion this year.  I’ve seen Destiny’s Child in concert twice and know almost all their songs.  This should be a halftime show that I’ll remember forever.

Caramel Pretzel Bars

Caramel Pretzel Bars

Of course, you need a treat while you watch the game.  Sure, there needs to be savory food, but what’s a football game without dessert?  These Caramel Pretzel Bars instantly struck me as Super Bowl worthy.  A thin, yet firm brown sugar shortbread has amazing texture, some of the best I’ve found in shortbread, along with a mild sweetness.  But the topping of caramel, with its complex flavor, accented by honey, and pretzels make these the ultimate treat.  Crunchy, creamy, smooth, sweet, salty – these bars have everything.  I was really impressed by the components separately as well as together.  I have to say the stand out is the caramel.  It’s so rich and smooth, but somehow the honey flavor is really pronounced, a welcome treat.

Whether you’re watching the game, checking out the commercials, or avoiding the hoopla altogether, these bars are a treat for any day.  They’ll leave you yelling touchdown!

Caramel Pretzel Bars

Caramel Pretzel Bars

4.6 from 12 reviews
Caramel Pretzel Bars
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup (I love Blis)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 cups small pretzel twists, broken into large pieces (I used Rold Gold)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with parchment, leaving overhang to pull the bars out later.
  2. Make the crust. In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix until the ingredients are combined and the mixture is crumbly. Press into the pan firmly. Bake for 15-18 minutes until light golden brown around the edges.
  3. While the crust is baking and cooling, make the filling. In a large saucepan over medium or medium-high heat, combine butter, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Add the cream and insert a candy thermometer in the pan. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reaches 240 degrees F. Once this happens, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the pretzels immediately.
  4. Pour the pretzel-caramel mixture over the prepared crust and spread evenly over the crust. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling. Allow to cool completely in the pan. When cool, use the parchment to remove the bars from the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. Bars may stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Recipe adapted from Saveur



Sweet 2 Eat Baking

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  1. Can I just have all the food and leave out the sports?


    Good 😀

  2. very good combo sweet and salty, I really enjoyed them.

  3. I am in love! Seriously. The combo of salty and sweet is one I can never resist.

    • I’m not always even a sweet and salty fan, but I can’t get enough of these. You would love them for sure! Thanks, Carolyn!

  4. Debbie Eccard says:

    I’m making this for Superbowl for Scott! He will love this and so will I!!!

  5. Like everyone else I think the sweet and salty combination is great. Another winner!

  6. I love the taste and the different textures. I wondered how you made the crust with such flavor…which just enhanced the filling even more. Great recipe to be working on in the kitchen, since I too won’t be watching football.

    • I love the crust too, Carol! I think some of the caramel may have seeped into the crust when it baked making it extra yummy 🙂

  7. I guess I like one or the other, but not both tastes in one bar. It was a little too sweet for me, and I like pretzels better with beer. Here’s to the Super Bowl!

    • I’m sorry to hear this wasn’t your favorite, Mike, but I’ll be sure to keep more treats coming your way 🙂

  8. I like salty pretzels and anything sweet. So this was a winner.

  9. Ahh caramel, how can anything be bad when you’re in the mix?

  10. Laura, you sound just like me when it comes to the Super Bowl, lol! And as for these Caramel Pretezel Bars, I couldn’t get over the flavor of the caramel…it was really good! And just looking at these bars, at first I was thinking, ok, it’s gonna be like a brittle, hard and crunchy. Boy was I shocked! So rich and creamy. Yum! I felt the only thing missing was some salty peanuts, lol. But, other than that these definately are Super Bowl worthy 😉

    • It was amazing how creamy that caramel was! You could definitely swap out some of the pretzels for peanuts. I just am always baking with nuts and wanted something totally different. Thanks, Kristy 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness gracious, I want that whole pan! Stat! 🙂 This is my kinda snack.

  12. Laura, if your starting to watching football and want to learn alot, try playing Fantasy Football one year. You’ll find yourself not only watching the pre-game shows, but you’ll be watching every game and every play. 🙂 That’s what started my interest in football. These Caramel Pretzel bars would be a great superbowl snack. Very good combination of sweet and salty. Thanks!

    • I’ve thought about fantasy football before, Lendon. That may be the shove I needed to give it a try next year. Glad you liked these, Lendon 🙂

  13. These were delicious, thank you!

  14. Caramel is great on anything. Great combo with a salty pretzel. No to sweet or rich. I enjoyed them nice job…

  15. OMG! These look so amazing and delicious and I should def make them for the superbowl or tomororw for me to eat while sitting on my butt all weekend : )

    • Thanks! They are good anytime, particularly for a relaxing weekend. Just be prepared to eat them all – they’re that good!

  16. Your pics are always so alluring! I want to make just about everything you post, especially these bars! Love pretzels and caramel!

    • Natalie, that means so much that you like my pics! I really struggle with photography but am always trying to improve. Pretzels and caramel may be one of my new favorite combos.

  17. Great combination of flavors, very tasty! I think this is one of your best.

  18. Oh wow these look amazing! Not sure which Saveur issue these were in (I am about 3 mos behind!) but they look soooo good. The distinctness of the layers, too; honey, caramel, the pretzels, mmm, yes!

    • Thanks, Averie! I found these online and fell in love with them since I haven’t seen a recipe like it ever. I know you’d love them!

  19. OK – these actually sound ridiculous. Caramel and pretzels together are my ultimate weakness, and add brown sugar shortbread into the mix and I’m putty. Going to get some maple syrup and pretzels tomorrow so I can eat these ASAP!

    • These are crazy good. I wasn’t sure about them, because I don’t typically like sweet and salty things, but OMG, are these amazing! Please let me know if you make them – I know you will fall in love after one bite! Thanks, Rachel!

  20. Sounds yummy.

  21. Posted these on my facebook page 🙂

  22. Oh man…I wish I had one of these right now! I’m a huge fan of the salty/sweet combo! I just pinned these babies…I have to make them! 🙂


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