Combos Pretzel and Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Bars
Salty ‘n sweet combinations taste especially good in the heat when I crack a sweat just brushing my teeth.
It’s a good thing that I’ve been replenishing my sodium stores with these.
These salty ‘n sweet, peanut buttery, caramely, crunchy little bars have hit the replenishment spot.
They have so many of my favorite elements rolled into one, there’s tons of texture, and they’re no-bake.
They’re as easy as making homemade caramel sauce in the microwave, infusing it with peanut butter, and then pouring the salted caramel over two of my favorite ingredients: cereal and pretzels.
Corn Pops happened to be in stock and on store shelves here in Aruba (never know what you’re going to get from one day to the next) and then I saw the Combos while I was in the checkout line and knew I had to do something with them. Either separately or together and I opted for together.
Does anyone else want to admit to trying to open up Combos like an Oreo, and rather than licking off frosting, licking off cheese? Okay, I’ll admit to that but probably shouldn’t.
Corn Pops and Combos. That screams either childhood memories of foods that only Grandma would give me or cold cereal and pretzels for dinner in my dorm room.
You could probably make these bars in a dorm room as long as you have a microwave and since all the other ingredients, for better or worse, are shelf stable for about 9 years, you’d be the most popular student on your floor.
They’re a little bit too easy to make, actually.
Everything tastes better with a copious chocolate drizzle and I not only need to replenish my sodium stores, but also my chocolate stores, daily.
Chocolate has a way of balancing sweet food and balancing salty food. It complements caramel, and it brings out the best in peanut butter. Heck, chocolate always brings out the best in me.
As the bars set up and cool in the pan, the salted caramel and peanut butter sauce sinks to the bottom and when you flip one over, you can really see what kind of treat you’re in for.
Isn’t that just a sticky, glistening, beautiful mess?
When biting through the layers, from the crunchy ‘n sweet Pops to the crunchy ‘n salty Combos to the firm chocolate, you’ll be in texture heaven, especially if you love crunchy foods and enjoy lots of texture going on like I do.
The soft, gooey, slightly salty caramel and peanut butter sauce envelops the cereal and pretzels and serves to glues the bars together and is definitely worth getting sticky hands for. That’s what napkins are for.
Combos Pretzel and Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Bars (no-bake)
Makes one 8-by-8-inch pan, about 9 squares
3 cups Corn Pops cereal
2 cup Combos pretzels (one 7-ounce bag, I used Cheddar Cheese flavor)
1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted for drizzling
Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a large microwave-safe mixing bowl, add the peanut butter, corn syrup, sugars, and microwave on high power to melt, about 30 seconds. Stop and stir to combine and heat in 10-second bursts until mixture has melted and can be stirred smooth. Add vanilla, salt, and stir to combine. Add the cereal, Combos, and stir to coat. Pour the mixture into prepared pan and smooth it with a spatula; set aside.
In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and heat on high power to melt, about 1 minute. Stop and stir to combine. Heat in 10-second bursts until chips have melted and can be stirred smooth. Drizzle chocolate over the bars with a spoon. Place pan in the freezer for 1 hour to allow bars to set up, or allow them to set up at room temperature for at least two hours, before slicing and serving. Bars will keep in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to one week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Some of my favorite salty ‘n sweet recipes:
Cinnamon Sugar Chocolate Pretzels (no-bake, vegan, GF)
Candy Corn Cookie Dough Pretzel Bites (no-bake)
Buttery Toasted Captain Crunchies (Vegan & GF options)
Peanut Butter Chex Mix, aka “Puppy Chow” (vegan, GF)
Do you like salty ‘n sweet combos?
I definitely have more of a sweet tooth than a salty palate, but here in Aruba and cracking a sweat doing nothing, salty foods taste extra good. And of course, gooey desserts with caramel and peanut butter don’t hurt.
If you have any easy, salty ‘n sweet, or just plain good snacky recipes, feel free to link them up.
Thanks for the Capresso 12-Cup Stainless Steel Coffee Maker Giveaway entries
Thanks for the Capresso 12-Cup Coffee Maker Giveaway entries