Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Salty and sweet, soft and crunchy. A jackpot of contrasting flavors and textures.

And since I’m a caramel fanatic, these are my sweet, sticky heaven.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

In case you haven’t noticed, salted caramel is pretty trendy right now, and the salty-and-sweet craze shows no signs of weakening. So I hopped on the trendy train and made these in five minutes. They’re so easy.

From a time and energy invested perspective, this recipe has an exceedingly high return on investment. One bowl, no mixer, no dough to chill, nothing to knead, and just minutes after starting, the pan is going into the oven. I wish all recipes were like this.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Make them by melting a stick of butter, stir in brown sugar, an egg, vanilla, flour, and then fold in two cups of pretzels. I crush them slightly in my hand with a gentle squeeze before folding them in. Some are more crushed than others, but I didn’t want them to look too uniform. Rustic is nice.

Transfer the batter to a lined 8-by-8-inch pan and then drizzle about one-third cup salted caramel sauce over the top in a zigzag pattern. I used Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce but any thick, dense, good-quality caramel sauce will do. Don’t use a thin, lackluster ice cream sundae topping, many of which aren’t even real caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Making your own (Dark Rum) Caramel Sauce is also an option option.

Or, rather than making Seven Minute Microwave Caramels, undercook the mixture by a couple minutes and rather than 7-minute caramels, you’ll have 5-minute caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Bake the blondies for about 30 minutes. If you’re an oven door-watcher, you’ll notice the caramel bubbles up at points during the baking process, creating big bubble-gum style bubbles. It was like Hubba-Bubba in the pan.

After removing the pan from the oven, drizzle a bit more caramel sauce over the blondies. This covers up the little bubbles that formed on the caramel sauce that occurred while baking, provides more caramel flavor intensity, and adds the element of both baked-in and freshly drizzled caramel sauce. I told you I’m a caramel fanatic.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Allow the bars to cool and for the freshly drizzled caramel to soak in for at least one hour before slicing them so you don’t have a hot, buttery, mess on your hands. Literally.

They’re dense, not at all cakey, and so buttery and rich. Brown sugar is used exclusively, which keeps them so soft and moist. The brown sugar caramelizes while baking, adding even more caramel flavor depth.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

The bars are pure comfort food and make you feel at peace while devouring one. The butter, the caramelized brown sugar, and the caramel sauce are so soothing. You just want to close your eyes while you bite in to savor all those luscious flavors and different textures.

The little bits of pretzels add crunch and texture and if I didn’t know better, I would swear they were cashews.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

I asked my husband if he liked the cashews I put in the bars and he said, “Yes, they’re great. Normally you don’t put nuts in things though.” Right, and I don’t.

And I didn’t add cashews to this recipe, but while baking, the pretzels morphed into cashew-like bits and these could have easily been called Salted Carmel Cashew Blondies.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

It’s good that this is a small batch recipe, making just 9 squares, or we’d be in trouble. My husband told me these are some of the best bars I’ve ever made. He does say that about once a month, and I don’t always take him seriously, but these were a hit with my family.

Salted caramel and salty-and-sweet may be trendy, but they’re trends I sure appreciate.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies - Soft, crunchy, chewy, salty-and-sweet. Something for everyone in these easy blondies! Recipe at averiecooks.com

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Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Salty-and-sweet, soft and crunchy. If you enjoy contrasting flavors and textures, these easy blondies are just for you. The batter comes together in 5 minutes by hand and in one bowl. Bits of pretzels are baked in and add crunch and texture to bars that are otherwise smooth, rich, dense and so moist. Salted caramel sauce is used both before and after baking, creating bars that are oozing with buttery, sticky, caramely goodness and are perfect for any caramel fanatic.

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 generous squares

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups mini pretzels, measured loosely and crushed slightly
about 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce, for drizzling before baking (I used Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce or make Caramel Sauce or make 5-Minute Caramel Sauce )
about 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce, for drizzling after baking
coarse sea salt or Kosher salt for sprinkling, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute.
  3. To the melted butter (allow it to cool slightly so you don't scramble the egg), add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk vigorously to combine.
  4. Add the flour and stir until just combined, taking care not to over-mix or the blondies will be tough.
  5. Fold in the pretzels (I crush them in the palm of my hand by squeezing them).
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula or offset knife.
  7. Drizzle about 1/3 cup caramel sauce over the pan in a zig-zag pattern.
  8. Bake for about 28 to 32 minutes, or until center is just set. Watch the actual blondies/dough, not the caramel sauce, because it won't fully set. A toothpick should come out mostly clean if you can find a patch of dough to test without hitting a pretzel or caramel sauce. Don't overbake; these are meant to be gooey and firm up as they cool.
  9. Immediately after removing pan from oven, drizzle about 1/4 cup caramel sauce over the top in a zig-zag pattern, following the original zig-zag pattern if possible.
  10. Optionally, sprinkle with coarse salt to play up the salty-and-sweet contrast. Allow blondies to cool completely in pan and for caramel sauce to soak in somewhat before slicing and serving, at least one hour. Blondies may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. To keep gluten-free, use your favorite gluten-free flour blend, taking care that all other ingredients used are acceptable for your dietary needs.

Related Recipes:

Browned Butter Caramel and Butterscotch Bars – Nutty and aromatic browned butter is paired with dark brown sugar, sweet butterscotch chips, and creamy caramel to create a dense, moist bar, with incredible depth of flavor. Between the butterscotch chips and the caramels, there’s some texture in these easy-to-make, buttery bars

Coconut White Chocolate Chip Blondies – A dense, rich, almost fudge-like blondie that has notes of caramel, and incorporates coconut, white, and semi-sweet chocolate. Easy, fast, and ready in under 30 minutes

Funfetti Cake Batter Blondies – Full of sprinkles, white and dark chocolate chips, soft, moist and easy. My daughter’s eyes light up when she sees these

Cookie Butter Brown Sugar Streusel Bars – Easy, fast, and combine three things I love: Cookie Butter, brown sugar, and streusel topping. They’re soft, tender and moist in the center with lots of chewiness around the edges. The streusel topping adds tons of texture

Cookie Butter Funfetti Triple Chip Bars – Not exactly a blondie but close and if there’s one sauce I love as much as caramel, it’s melted Cookie Butter

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation) – Caramels, more caramels, and plenty of chocolate and oats are combined in these gooey, sticky, sweet, and texture-rich bars

Dark Rum Caramel Sauce (gluten-free) – A step-by-step guide for easy at-home caramel sauce that can be used on everything from ice cream to apples. Can be made with or without rum, although I recommend it

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars – All the flavor and texture of peanut butter-chocolate cookies, but much faster and easier. The batter comes together in minutes by hand and in one bowl. In under 30 minutes, from start to finish, you can be eating one

Seven Minute Microwave Caramels (gluten free) – Almost too good to be true. The best caramels I’ve ever had and will be the only recipe I’ll ever use or need again

Do you like salty-and-sweet desserts? Caramel or salted caramel?

Tell me all about your favorite recipes and links welcome.

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146 Responses to “Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies”

  1. #
    51
    Cleo — April 2, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    So excited to try making these!!! Do you think I could try subbing browned butter for the melted butter? I can’t imagine browned butter being bad in anything, but I’m just wondering if it complicate them too much. I was also considering using browned butter in your Cranberry Bliss Bars (which I love).

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Browned butter would be AMAZING in these! I didn’t call for it because sometimes that scares people off from making a recipe (they think they’re going to burn it or something) but it would be fabulous in these! Go for it!

      In the Cran Bliss Bars…I would probably use melted just b/c I really want the delicate flavors of white choc and cranberry to shine rather than the nuttiness of the butter, but it’s a judgment call and you can’t go wrong either way.

      Please LMK what you end up making!

      Reply

  2. #
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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — April 2, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Salted caramel is my ultimate weakness! And I actually have a bag of pretzels just waiting to be used up!

    Reply

  3. #
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    Gerry @ Foodness Gracious — April 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    Wow, these look so good. I’m a sucker for bars and salty and sweet just do it for me :)

    Reply

  4. #
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    Cat — April 3, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Yum this looks DELISH! Will definitely be adding this to my lunch ideas. :) Can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

  5. #
    55
    Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks — April 3, 2013 at 4:03 am

    Wow! These look so good! Love the salty and sweet combo, so I definitely need to make these soon!!

    Reply

  6. #
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    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — April 3, 2013 at 5:14 am

    MMMM!! These are like the ultimate sweet/salty treat!!! Love em!

    Reply

  7. #
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    Donna — April 3, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Referring to your comment about how the pretzels end up tasting like cashews…Do you imagine that one could actually substitute roasted salted cashews for the pretzels?…Or would it mangle your exquisite recipe?!…I love pretzels…but unfortunately my hubby is NOT a fan…yet he loves salted caramel and salty cashews!…Thanks for any insight!

    Reply

  8. #
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    Molly — April 3, 2013 at 5:27 am

    I can’t look at your blog without my mouth watering– thanks for the wonderful pinterest worthy recipes and great pictures of the goodies you make!

    Reply

  9. #
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    Nutmeg Nanny — April 3, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Oh my goodness, this is such a gorgeous creation! My mouth is watering right now looking at this perfect blend of flavors.

    Reply

  10. #
    60
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — April 3, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Salted caramel is one trend I will never get tired of. And I LOVE that they make only 9 bars, because that is always my big problem with dessert recipes–they make too much!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 3rd, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      Exactly! And as bloggers, we need NEW content. Not 24 pieces of the same content :)

      Reply

  11. #
    61
    Chef Amber Shea — April 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

    I can absolutely get on board with the sweet-and-salty trend, too, and these look PERFECT. They also give me a nice excuse to buy pretzels, which I usually don’t allow myself to indulge in. ;) Blondes do it best!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 3rd, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      I don’t even know how you read blogs on all your cleanses or post-cleanses! But yes, if your biggest indulgence is pretzels, I think you’re safe and can buy some :)

      Reply

  12. #
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    sally @ sallys baking addiction — April 3, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I’m literally drooling. Every single things about these is screaming “SALLY! Make me now.” I have a feeling you made these with me in mind, no? ;) Just kidding. But you know I love my sweet and salty Averie! And blondies. What a killer combination. And you know I love nuts in my baked goods (our only difference!) and the pretzels aka “cashews” sound like heaven to me. Geez girl, you are on a roll this week!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 3rd, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      These ARE so you! The whole time I was making them, I was thinking Sally would love these! I actually liked them tons (despite the pretzels turning into cashews..lol) and Scott LOVED them!

      Reply

  13. #
    63
    the 3volution of j3nn — April 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Oh, how I adore sweet and salty!! I’ve been eating GF pretzels lately and was thinking about dipping them in PB&J, but caramel sounds better. I made blondies for Dustin the other day; these outdo them by a mile! YUMMMMMM :D

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 3rd, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Oh and these are very easy to make GF. Use an general GF flour for the dough (and b/c it’s dense and in a pan, i.e. not cookies) whatever you use will be fine. And then with the GF pretzels, you’re set! Easy and GF!

      Reply

  14. #
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    Gloria @ Simply Gloria — April 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    I love caramel and pretzels! You’re such a genius, Averie! These look amazing!

    Reply

  15. #
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    Valerie — April 3, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    These blondies look insanely addicting – I really hope the salted caramel trend never, ever, ends! (The jar of caramel sauce wouldn’t last very long around me!) :D

    Reply

  16. #
    66
    Meredith — April 3, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Wow, these look amazing! I am also a big fan of the salted caramel craze, and it’s not big in Australia, so I’ve missed it! I honestly think I have to make these tonight…yes that’s it I’m headed to the store! Thanks :)

    Reply

  17. #
    67
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — April 4, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I’ll have to add that caramel sauce to my list of things to buy the next time I’m near a Trader Joes.

    Reply

  18. #
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    Bree {Skinny Mommy} — April 4, 2013 at 9:41 am

    This is my kind of dessert-sweet and salty with a hint of crunch. YUM!

    Reply

  19. #
    69
    Bessie — April 5, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    these came out so beautifully!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 5th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      I am so glad to hear that you made them and had a beautiful result! Thanks for LMK!

      Reply

  20. #
    70
    Lindsay @ VeganYumminess — April 10, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I love these, Averie. Of course, you already know that cuz you saw my blog post, but I totally forgot to leave a comment here. They are Beeeeeautiful!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 10th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Thanks Lindsay! Feel free to drop in the link here in the comments to your post b/c that way if people want a vegan version, they’ll know it’s possible!

      Reply

  21. #
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    Valerie — April 23, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Loved the pretzel blondies! Ate most of the pan myself – i’m so weak :-} I liked how the crunch of the pretzels were like nuts. How did you get the pretzels on the top – did you reserve some to pat on top of the dough – cause mine were all incorporated. I used your recipe to make the caramel sauce, and seriously, that is just way too easy, too! Do you know why it might have separated into a clear liquid on the bottom and caramel on the top? Anyway, great site and great recipes!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 23rd, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      did you reserve some to pat on top of the dough = yes a couple pieces I laid loosely on top for the photogenic factor :)

      used your recipe to make the caramel sauce – good! (I have 2 recipes for it)

      Do you know why it might have separated into a clear liquid on the bottom and caramel on the top? – no, which recipe did you use and I may be able to help you more. I linked to 2 within the recipe section of the post. LMK!

      Reply

  22. #
    72
    amy — April 23, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    hi there~
    i was wondering do you think this receipe could be doubled and made in a 9×13 pan? or would that ruin the baking process for them to turn our correctly? i am making them for a large party, and using 8×8 pans i will need to make at least 6 or 8 batches. i did make one 8×8 batch. had to use dulce de leche as we don’t have a trader joe’s here in colorado (yet) and it was much thicker than i expected. but i got RAVE reviews from my friends. i can’t wait to try some of your other receipes! thanks

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 23rd, 2013 at 10:03 pm

      That Mrs. Richards or Mrs. Richardson’s? ice cream topping/caramel sauce (sold right next to the Smucker’s in most grocery stores) – that stuff will work for you too and it’s not crazy expensive. You could sprinkle some coarse salt over it, to taste, based on what you like…in case you want to try that rather than dulce de leche.

      And I totally think you could double the recipe and bake in a 9×13. If you try either the Mrs. R’s or the 9×13 pan, LMK how it works!

      Reply

  23. #
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    Mama B @ My Edible Journey — May 3, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Those pretzel blondies look wonderful. I am going to add them to my list of things to make for church snack and other events. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

  24. #
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    Dianne — May 6, 2013 at 7:50 am

    I tried this recipe and I don’t think I can ever make it again!! I couldn’t stay out of them and they are waayyy too addictive!

    Reply

  25. #
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    Taylor — May 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

    My SIL loves salted caramel (as do I), so I knew these would be a perfect addition to the baby shower luncheon I was hosting for her. I followed your recipe to a T, and they turned out perfectly! My weekend was a busy one of travelling, so as I was making these at 1 in the morning, I was entirely thankful that they were a one bowl recipe!

    The only thing that I did differently, is that I knew that I was going to cut them into 16 smaller bars, so I placed 16 small pretzels in rows and columns on the blondies after I took them out of the oven. I SLIGHTLY pressed them into the completed blondie, and then I drizzed the rest of the salted caramel sauce on them.

    They were a HUGE hit, and unfortunately, I was didn’t have any leftovers. =) Many people asked me for the recipe. These are definitely a fast and easy dessert I plan to make often. Thank you!!!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 6th, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      So glad they were a huge hit and that people were asking for the recipe! That’s wonderful! And 16 bars with 16 small pretzels in the middle of each square, cute idea! Thanks for LMK you tried these!

      Reply

  26. #
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    Joanna @ the knitlit twit — July 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    We don’t have a TJ’s in Austin yet, but I made these last week with caramel made from microwaved sweetened condensed milk and they were delicious!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — July 23rd, 2013 at 6:56 pm

      So glad to hear you loved these and that you made due with another version for caramel sauce – way to go! Thanks for coming back to tell me you made these!

      Reply

  27. #
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    Melissa Klotz — August 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I loooveee pretzels combined with sweet stuff. And I also love blondies, so these souond like a homerun!

    Reply

  28. #
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    Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar — March 6, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Wow! These look wonderful. The salty and sweet combo is definitely a favorite of mine! Love it, pinned! :)

    Reply

  29. #
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    Shannon — June 26, 2014 at 5:07 am

    I’m on a caramel kick right now. And it’s summer…. bad timing for swim suit season. I’ll have to make these soon. Just made a trip to TJ’s and bought the caramel sauce (because it was calling my name). I may add mini chocolate chips.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — June 26th, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      They’d be great with mini choc chips and I always have at least 2 of those jars of TJs caramel on hand for ‘emergencies’ :) Hope you enjoy the bars!

      Reply

      • Shannon replied: — June 27th, 2014 at 9:21 am

        2 jars on hand? No way could I have 2 jars around. I love this stuff too much. :)

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