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”

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    1
    Sara — April 2, 2013 at 12:28 am

    I have been looking at salted caramel recipes for months but still haven’t gotten around to try any. Your salted caramel pretzel blondies looks like a good place to start! They look delicious!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:46 am

      Well if you try them, please LMK! I know what it’s like to search and re-search for recipes. And do it some more before deciding.

      Reply

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    Jen @ Savory Simple — April 2, 2013 at 1:06 am

    My god those look good. Send me some? :D

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 1:49 am

      I wish we lived closer. Seriously, I’d be happy to donate tons!

      Reply

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    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today — April 2, 2013 at 1:17 am

    You don’t have to convince me. I discovered a salted caramels in San Francisco (I know, late) and today I had a salted caramel ice creams. More you give me, more happy I’ll be :)

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 1:49 am

      salted caramels in San Francisco <— sounds like a great trip – just that right there, automatically a wonderful time :)

      Reply

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    Liz (formerly VeggieGirl) — April 2, 2013 at 3:10 am

    Love the salty-sweet combination. Caramel and pretzels in blondies? AMAZING.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 4:26 am

      I know you’re a blondies fan! I bet you’d really like these!

      Reply

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    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — April 2, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I have been enjoying sweet and salty combinations for years, and I’m so, so glad it’s now becoming socially acceptable and commonplace. These look amazing, the caramel looks so gooey!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 4:25 am

      I know you’ve baked Doritos and potato chips into things…and I love that :)

      Reply

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    Colleen @ What's Baking in the Barbershop?! — April 2, 2013 at 4:11 am

    5 minutes of prep time?! Count me in! These sound like the perfect blondie.

    Reply

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    Ashley @ Baker by Nature — April 2, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Salted-Caramel-Pretzel-Blondies…?! Heaven help me! I would destroy these babies!

    Reply

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    tanya — April 2, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Looks sinfully delicious! I cannot wait to try your rum caramel sauce-as I am caramel crazy myself!

    Reply

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    Katy @ KatysKitchen — April 2, 2013 at 5:22 am

    I’m still undecided about salty and sweet desserts. I know they’re trendy, but my taste buds can’t seem to wrap their head around it yet! A 5 minute recipe is soooo tempting though, I love an easy treat! That’s really cool that the pretzels came out tasting like nuts.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      And you could always just skip the pretzels if you wanted to and replace with anything from toffee bits to choc chips to nothing.

      Reply

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    Erin | The Law Students Wife — April 2, 2013 at 5:38 am

    Waiting for these too cool prior to cutting sounds like the most intense self-control exercise of all time! I may need to do a little “quality testing” before I slice the whole pan ;-) Thanks for the tip on the TJ’s caramel sauce. It’s always good to know what good store-ready products are out there when you are in a rush.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Their sauce is amazing and it’s a great value, too. Some of these fancy caramel sauces are sooo pricey for a tiny jar but theirs is a win on all accounts.

      Reply

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    Cassie | Bake Your Day — April 2, 2013 at 5:51 am

    I love a good sweet and salty treat and salted caramel gets me every time. These are RIGHT up my alley!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      Of anyone I know, I think YOU would love these the most. They are soooooo you, Cassie!

      Reply

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    Tieghan — April 2, 2013 at 5:55 am

    SUch A winning combo!! I love these bars. Yum, yum, yum!

    Reply

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    katie — April 2, 2013 at 6:14 am

    oh I love the salty-sweet combo!

    Reply

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    Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen — April 2, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Salty. Sweet. LET’S EAT!!!

    Reply

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    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — April 2, 2013 at 6:26 am

    OH my goodness. Salty and sweet I can’t ask for anything more such a sucker for pretzels and caramel!

    Reply

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    Eva @ Eva Bakes — April 2, 2013 at 6:26 am

    I’m loving the one bowl recipes! And yes, I wish ALL recipes were as easy as this one!

    Reply

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — April 2, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Holy cow – these have my name all over them. I love love caramel and pretzels! One year my sister and I actually managed to get caramel melted enough to dip pretzel sticks in then coated in chocolate. In hindsight, putting them on a baking tray would have been easier, less messy.

    Reply

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    lisaiscooking — April 2, 2013 at 6:35 am

    These blondies sound fabulous! My favorite things, all in one place.

    Reply

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    Paula — April 2, 2013 at 6:54 am

    Those caramel puddles on top are to die for (and the shots of the inside of the bar are just as mouth watering)! I make my own salted caramel mochas and love most anything sweet and salty. I found another good flavor combo at TJ’s–their cookie butter filled dark chocolate bar. That would be easy to make at home (and even better with your cookie butter)!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      I purposefully don’t buy their cookie butter filled dark chocolate bar…I could make it but really, just too tempting :) And these bars were so fun to shoot. Some recipes I hate very picture I take; but with these, all that caramel was just so fun to play with!

      Reply

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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — April 2, 2013 at 7:35 am

    These bars are so you, Averie! Blondies with double caramel! Pinned!

    Reply

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    Meghan @ Cake 'n' Knife — April 2, 2013 at 7:51 am

    These look SO incredible! I can’t wait to try them out!

    Reply

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    Abbe@This is How I Cook — April 2, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I can see why they’d be a hit with your family. They’d be a hit with anyone’s family!

    Reply

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — April 2, 2013 at 8:15 am

    These look soooo good Averie!! Love!

    Reply

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    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — April 2, 2013 at 8:29 am

    I hear one bowl and I am already running to the kitchen. Not having a dishwasher makes you appreciate recipes with little clean up. And these blondies have the sweet and salty going on that I cant resist!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      I do have a dishwasher but don’t ever wash my stand mixer stuff or any of my nice kitchen equipment in the DW b/c it just degrades it so much faster so I hand wash so I like one-bowl recipes too :)

      Reply

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    marcie@flavorthemoments — April 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

    These look fabulous! Chewy, salty, sweet, and crunchy…who could ask for anything more?

    Reply

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — April 2, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Seriously drooling over these bars… that combo of salted caramel and pretzels is perfection!

    Reply

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    Jackie @ The Beeroness — April 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

    I LOVE caramel, and the salty pretzels: perfection.

    Reply

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    CateyLou — April 2, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I love the sweet and salty combo, I hope the trend doesn’t die! These remind me of a chocolate peanute butter pretzel bar that I made a few weeks ago! Can’t wait to try this recipe

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      The bars sounds great and I love the crumb cake you just made. Crumb cakes are another fave of mine!

      Reply

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    Ari @ Ari's Menu — April 2, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Ummmm, this might be my favorite thing you’ve ever made. I am in so much love. Sweet & salty is my very favorite, plus the crunchy and soft textures working together? Uggghhh, I want to eat these until I’m in a total sugar coma, then eat more.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      They’re not even that sweet..I mean, yes, of course they are but a piece of bday cake with frosting is way sweeter so no worries about a sugar coma :)

      Reply

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    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — April 2, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Woah. Woah. WOAH. These are SERIOUSLY after my own heart. I’m really crushing on all things sweet and salty in one bite these days, and I also love the combination of soft and crunchy at the same time. Fantastic dessert bars, Averie!

    P.S. Top Secret Confession: Blondies are way preferred over brownies in my household!

    P.P.S. I can’t WAIT to see the new design that Lindsay mentioned the other day!!!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      You would LOVE these! They are music to your ears, knowing what you tend to gravitate toward!

      Reply

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    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — April 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

    How did you know that I have a ginormous bag of pretzels that I wasn’t sure what to do with? These look FABULOUS. They will be happening in my kitchen this week!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Don’t wait for the weekend! They take literally 5 mins to whip up! Unless you have an event or something :)

      Reply

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    Jess — April 2, 2013 at 11:01 am

    These look so chewy and delicious- I`m amazed that you can come up with so many beautiful new recipes :)

    Some Snapshots Blog
    Jess

    Reply

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    Nancy @ gottagetbaked — April 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Averie, I’d push over my own grandmother right now to get to a pan of these. Ohmahgaw they look so good. I love the salty sweet combo. I made a layer of pretzel-potato-chip-caramel for a chocolate cake a few months ago and I could’ve eaten a giant bowlful of just the salty sweet caramel mixture. It’s a party in the mouth, that’s for sure. I can’t wait to try these bars.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Your pretzel-potato-chip-caramel sounds great! And on cake no less. Normally I see the salty-sweet with bars or cookies sometimes but cake sounds so unique and fab!

      Reply

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    Marie @ Little Kitchie — April 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Oh yum! I love the crunch and salty sweet of these!

    Reply

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    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl — April 2, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    These look fantastic, and I would never guess that the recipe would contain so few ingredients! Sweet and salty desserts get me every time! ;)

    Reply

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    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — April 2, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    This is probably THE BEST way to improve upon Blondies! Salted Caramel & Pretzels! Salty. Sweet. Heaven. xo

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      After making a jillion versions, it was time for salty n sweet!

      Reply

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    vanillasugarblog — April 2, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Girl you have all the major foodie groups covered in this brownie!LOL!!

    Reply

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    Nikki Howser — April 2, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Oh.my.heaven. these look utterly delicious! I am definitely making these, and will have to check out your caramel recipes too!

    Reply

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    Ashley — April 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    The whole salted anything idea always seemed weird to me … until I finally tried it a few months ago. Oh goodness gracious am I hooked haha These sound amazing … and I love Trader Joe’s fleur de sel caramel sauce… and now I wish I had some (and these bars) right now!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Glad you’re on board – with both the S&S and the caramel sauce!

      Reply

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    Laura Dembowski — April 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I love blondies and caramel and pretzels so these are screaming my name. I’m also super curious to see the big caramel bubbles in the oven :)

    Reply

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    Liz — April 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    These look amazing Averie! Love the addition of pretzels and you can never go wrong with caramel sauce! Can’t wait to try them :)

    Reply

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    Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen — April 2, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Mm you had me at the first line! Sweet, salty, crunchy, soft!! These bars look gorgeous and I love the salted caramel baked in and drizzled on top!!

    Reply

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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — April 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Seriously, I could drink that salted caramel straight from the jar. My mouth is watering – these blondies are made for me. And I’m totally an oven watcher. And an oven peeker, even worse!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 8:27 pm

      And as a blogger, you want to make sure that if there’s something weird that happens, that you can document it. I’ve had plenty of cakes and breads do crazy things in the oven that you’d never expect but (usually) turn out just fine in the end.

      Reply

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    joan — April 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Ohhh, I could so eat one, or two, of these right now.

    Reply

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    Heather @ French Press — April 2, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    sweet and salty are my favorite treats – and pretzels with caramel…YUM!

    Reply

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    Betsy — April 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I’m having a crazy day. I’m pretty sure one of those pretzel blondies would make it all better!

    Reply

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    Michele Sparrow — April 2, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Oooh. Rustic AND hubba bubba in the pan! These look so delicious. I love how Scotts tells you so frequently that “these are the best bars you’ve ever made.” That is so great. Salty and sweet is such a delicious combo. I love how easy these are, too. Definitely going to try these out!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      If you make them for the boys, LMK how the field report goes!

      Reply

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    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — April 2, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    Sweet salty deliciousness!!

    Reply

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    Rachel @ Bakerita — April 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Mmm I usually don’t love blondies because they’re typically cakey, but these look so dense and fudgy and yummy! Caramel and pretzels together are my weakness, so clearly I need to try these. How convenient I just bought a jar of that caramel sauce! :) Pinned!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      Cakey comes from leavening agents, IMO. Either baking soda/powder and I use neither so they stay dense and ‘fudgdy’ like a brownie would!

      Reply

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    Jaclyn — April 2, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    These look perfect Averie! I love this blondie, pretzel, caramel combo you created!

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — April 2nd, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      Thanks, Jaclyn! I wish we could taste-test each other’s desserts. You have so many things I want to try!

      Reply

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