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Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares Recipe

Imagine the perfect blend of rich, sweet, and slightly salty flavors in a dessert that's both crunchy and gooey. That's what you'll get with these Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares. This is a dessert that's sure to satisfy any sweet tooth and wow your guests at your next gathering.

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Most of the ingredients in this recipe are likely already in your pantry. However, you might need to pick up a few items, such as sweetened condensed milk and individually wrapped caramels. These can be found in the baking aisle of most supermarkets. Don't forget to check the candy aisle or section for the individually wrapped caramels.

Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares Ingredients

All purpose flour: This is the foundation of your squares and will give them their structure.

Butter: This will provide a rich, buttery flavor to your crust.

Brown sugar: It will add a deep, molasses-like sweetness to your crust.

Pecans: These add a delightful crunch to your dessert.

Coconut: This will give a tropical twist to your squares.

Sweetened condensed milk: This ingredient will provide a creamy, sweet base for your caramel layer.

Individually wrapped caramels: These will be melted down to create the rich caramel layer.

Milk: A little bit of milk will help smooth out the caramel.

Chocolate chips: These will be sprinkled on top for the ultimate chocolatey finish.

One reader, Lainey Bryson says:

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This sweet chocolate caramel squares recipe is a game-changer! The combination of rich chocolate, gooey caramel, and crunchy pecans is simply divine. It's easy to make and always a hit at parties. I love how the flavors blend together perfectly. It's a definite crowd-pleaser!

Lainey Bryson

Techniques Required for Making Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares

Preheat oven: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) before starting the recipe.

Mix crust: Combine the flour, butter, and brown sugar in a bowl until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press this mixture into a 9x13-inch baking dish.

Bake crust: Bake the crust in the preheated oven until it is lightly browned, for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Layer pecans and coconut: Sprinkle the pecans and coconut over the baked crust.

Pour sweetened condensed milk: Evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk over the pecans and coconut.

Bake again: Bake the mixture in the preheated oven until it is set, for about 25 to 30 minutes.

Prepare caramel sauce: Heat the caramels and milk together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth, for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour caramel sauce: Once smooth, pour the caramel sauce over the baked sweetened condensed milk layer.

Sprinkle chocolate chips: Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel layer.

Cool and cut: Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting them into squares.

How To Make Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares

Satisfy your sweet tooth with these chocolate caramel squares. A decadent treat sprinkled with pecans and coconut for an added crunch.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 1cupall purpose flour
  • ½cupbutter,softened
  • ½cupbrown sugar
  • 2cupspecans,chopped
  • 1cupcoconut,flaked
  • 14ozsweetened condensed milk
  • 11ozindividually wrapped caramels,such as Hershey’s®, unwrapped
  • 2tbspmilk
  • 1cupchocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Mix flour, butter, and brown sugar together in a bowl; press into a 9×13-inch baking dish.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven until crust is lightly browned for 12 to 15 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle pecans and coconut over crust. Pour sweetened condensed milk over pecans and coconut.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until set for 25 to 30 minutes.

  6. Heat caramels and milk together in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour caramel sauce over baked sweetened condensed milk.

  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over caramel. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 283.49kcal
  • Fat: 15.65g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.54g
  • Trans Fat: 0.17g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5.02g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.47g
  • Carbohydrates: 34.04g
  • Fiber: 1.48g
  • Sugar: 26.89g
  • Protein: 3.84g
  • Cholesterol: 18.22mg
  • Sodium: 61.86mg
  • Calcium: 87.80mg
  • Potassium: 147.23mg
  • Iron: 0.72mg
  • Vitamin A: 46.97µg
  • Vitamin C: 0.74mg

Helpful Technique Tips for Making Chocolate Caramel Squares

When making the caramel sauce, ensure you stir it constantly to prevent it from burning. Caramel can easily overcook and turn bitter if not watched carefully. Also, when pouring the caramel sauce over the baked sweetened condensed milk, do it slowly and evenly to ensure that every piece gets a good amount of caramel.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Chocolate Caramel Squares

Plan: Before starting the recipe, gather all the ingredients and equipment needed to avoid any last-minute rush.

Organize: Arrange the ingredients in the order they are used in the recipe to streamline the cooking process.

Multitask: While the crust is baking, prepare the caramel sauce to save time and utilize the oven efficiently.

Substitute: If you're short on time, consider using store-bought caramel sauce instead of making it from scratch.

Chill: Place the bars in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process before cutting them into squares.

Clean: Tidy up the kitchen as you wait for the bars to cool, minimizing post-cooking cleanup time.

Substitute Ingredients For Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares Recipe

  • all purpose flour - Substitute with gluten-free all purpose flour: This substitute is suitable for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. It provides a similar texture and structure to traditional flour.

  • butter - Substitute with coconut oil: Coconut oil can be used as a dairy-free alternative to butter, and it adds a subtle coconut flavor to the recipe.

  • brown sugar - Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar has a similar flavor profile to brown sugar and can be used as a 1:1 replacement. It also has a lower glycemic index.

  • pecans - Substitute with walnuts: Walnuts have a similar rich, nutty flavor and crunchy texture, making them a suitable substitute for pecans in this recipe.

  • coconut - Substitute with oats: Oats can add a similar chewy texture and nutty flavor to the squares, providing a wholesome alternative to coconut.

  • sweetened condensed milk - Substitute with coconut milk: Coconut milk can be used as a dairy-free alternative to sweetened condensed milk, providing a creamy texture and a hint of coconut flavor.

  • individually wrapped caramels - Substitute with homemade caramel sauce: A homemade caramel sauce can be used as a substitute, providing a rich, gooey caramel layer for the squares.

  • milk - Substitute with almond milk: Almond milk can be used as a dairy-free alternative to milk, adding a subtle nutty flavor to the recipe.

  • chocolate chips - Substitute with cacao nibs: Cacao nibs can be used as a healthier alternative to chocolate chips, providing a rich, chocolatey flavor and added crunch to the squares.

Presentation Ideas for Chocolate Caramel Squares

  1. Elevate the plating: Arrange the sweet chocolate caramel squares in a visually appealing manner on a pristine white plate, ensuring each layer is showcased beautifully.

  2. Garnish with finesse: Sprinkle finely chopped pecans and coconut on the plate to add a touch of elegance and texture to the dish.

  3. Drizzle with caramel artistry: Create a delicate caramel drizzle around the edges of the plate using a piping bag, adding a touch of sophistication to the presentation.

  4. Dust with cocoa powder: Lightly dust the plate with cocoa powder to enhance the visual appeal and add a hint of rich chocolate aroma to the dish.

  5. Accompany with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream: Serve the sweet chocolate caramel squares with a quenelle of vanilla bean ice cream to provide a contrasting temperature and flavor profile.

Essential Tools for Making Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares

  • Oven: Used for baking and roasting food items.
  • Mixing bowl: Used for combining ingredients and mixing batters or doughs.
  • 9x13-inch baking dish: Used for baking and cooking casseroles, brownies, and other dishes.
  • Small saucepan: Used for heating and melting ingredients, and making sauces and caramel.

Storing and Freezing Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares

  • Allow the sweet chocolate caramel squares to cool completely before storing them. This will ensure that the caramel and chocolate layers set properly and don't become too soft or sticky.

  • Once cooled, cut the sweet chocolate caramel squares into your desired size and shape.

  • Place the cut squares in an airtight container, separating each layer with a piece of parchment paper or wax paper to prevent them from sticking together.

  • Store the container in a cool, dry place at room temperature for up to 5 days. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator, as this may cause the chocolate and caramel to become too hard and lose their smooth texture.

  • If you want to freeze the sweet chocolate caramel squares, wrap each square individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, ensuring a tight seal to prevent freezer burn.

  • Place the wrapped squares in a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.

  • Label the container or bag with the date and contents for easy reference.

  • Freeze the sweet chocolate caramel squares for up to 2 months.

  • To thaw, remove the desired number of squares from the freezer and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour, or until they reach your preferred texture and consistency.

How To Reheat Leftover Chocolate Caramel Squares

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the leftover sweet chocolate caramel squares on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Heat them in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until they are warm and the chocolate chips start to melt slightly. This method will help restore the gooey texture of the caramel and the crunch of the pecans.

  • If you prefer a quicker reheating method, you can use your microwave. Place a single serving of the sweet chocolate caramel squares on a microwave-safe plate and heat it for 15-20 seconds. Check the temperature and repeat the process if needed, but be careful not to overheat, as the caramel can become too hot and burn your mouth.

  • For a crispy crust, you can reheat the sweet chocolate caramel squares in a skillet. Melt a small amount of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Place the squares in the skillet and heat them for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until they are warm and the crust is crispy. This method will give you a delightful contrast between the crispy crust and the soft, gooey filling.

  • If you want to enjoy your leftover sweet chocolate caramel squares with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, you can reheat them in the oven or microwave and then serve them warm with a generous scoop of ice cream on top. The combination of warm, gooey caramel and cold, creamy ice cream is simply irresistible.

Interesting Facts About Chocolate Caramel Squares

The sweet chocolate caramel squares recipe is a delightful treat that combines the rich flavors of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. These decadent squares are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth and are great for sharing with friends and family. They are a popular choice for potlucks, bake sales, and holiday gatherings. The combination of buttery crust, gooey caramel, and chocolate chips creates a mouthwatering dessert that is sure to be a hit. Whether you're a fan of sweet treats or simply enjoy baking, these sweet chocolate caramel squares are a must-try!

Is Making Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares at Home Cost-Effective?

The cost-effectiveness of this sweet chocolate caramel squares recipe largely depends on the availability and prices of the ingredients. Pecans and caramels can be expensive, impacting the overall cost. However, the yield of the recipe and the satisfaction it brings can justify the expense. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people may range from $15 to $20. The indulgent nature of this dessert makes it a delightful treat for special occasions, earning a solid 8 out of 10 rating for its taste and appeal.

Are Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares Healthy or Unhealthy?

This sweet chocolate caramel squares recipe is undeniably delicious, but it's far from healthy. The main ingredients - butter, brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, caramels, and chocolate chips - are all high in sugar and fat. While pecans and coconut offer some nutritional benefits, they're overshadowed by the less wholesome components. Consuming these squares regularly could contribute to weight gain, increased risk of heart disease, and other health issues associated with excessive sugar and fat intake.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Replace some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or almond flour for added fiber and nutrients
  • Reduce the amount of butter and replace a portion with Greek yogurt or mashed avocado
  • Use unsweetened coconut instead of sweetened to cut down on added sugar
  • Opt for a lower-fat sweetened condensed milk or make your own using low-fat milk and a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup
  • Choose dark chocolate chips with a high cocoa content (70% or above) for more antioxidants and less sugar
  • Decrease the overall amount of caramel and chocolate topping to minimize the sugar and fat content
  • Incorporate additional nutrient-dense ingredients, such as dried fruits, seeds, or a sprinkle of cinnamon for added flavor and health benefits

Editor's Opinion on Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares

This sweet chocolate caramel squares recipe is a delightful combination of rich flavors and textures. The buttery crust provides a perfect base for the sweet and gooey caramel, while the pecans and coconut add a delightful crunch. The addition of chocolate chips brings a decadent touch to the squares. The recipe is well-balanced and offers a satisfying indulgence for those with a sweet tooth.

Enhance Your Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Grilled Asparagus: Try serving with a side of grilled asparagus drizzled with balsamic glaze for a savory and tangy contrast to the sweet chocolate caramel squares.
Honey Glazed Carrots: For a touch of sweetness, pair the dessert with honey glazed carrots for a delightful balance of flavors.
Berry Salad: A refreshing berry salad with a hint of citrus would complement the richness of the chocolate caramel squares perfectly.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Roasted Brussels sprouts with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese would add a savory element to the dessert spread.

Similar Recipes to Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is perfect for a cozy night in. Packed with tender beef, potatoes, and carrots, it's a comforting meal that will warm you up from the inside out.
Zesty Lemon Chicken: This zesty lemon chicken recipe is bursting with flavor. The tangy marinade infuses the chicken with a bright, citrusy taste that pairs perfectly with a side of roasted vegetables.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: Indulge in a bowl of creamy tomato basil soup, made with ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and a touch of cream. This comforting soup is the perfect way to start a meal or enjoy on its own.

Appetizers and Main Courses to Serve with Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: For a delicious and savory appetizer, try creating stuffed mushrooms filled with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. These bite-sized treats are perfect for any gathering and will leave your guests wanting more.
Caprese Skewers: Impress your guests with these elegant and refreshing caprese skewers. Layer cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves on skewers, then drizzle with balsamic glaze for a simple yet sophisticated appetizer option.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Creamy and indulgent, this dish features tender chicken and al dente pasta smothered in a rich, garlicky Alfredo sauce. It's a classic comfort food that never fails to satisfy.
Beef Stroganoff: Tender strips of beef, sautéed mushrooms, and onions in a savory, creamy sauce, served over a bed of buttery egg noodles. This hearty and flavorful dish is a timeless favorite.

Why trust this Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares Recipe:

This recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, featuring a perfect balance of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. The combination of these ingredients creates a symphony of flavors and textures that will satisfy any sweet tooth. With a tried and tested method, this recipe ensures foolproof results every time. The use of sweetened condensed milk and caramels guarantees a rich and indulgent taste, while the addition of coconut adds a delightful tropical twist. Trust in this recipe to deliver a decadent and irresistible treat that will leave everyone craving for more.

Want to share your experience making these delightful Sweet Chocolate Caramel Squares or discuss variations on the recipe? Join the conversation in the Baking and Desserts forum!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of nut instead of pecans?
Yes, you can definitely use a different type of nut if you prefer. Walnuts or almonds would be great alternatives to pecans in this recipe.
Can I use unsweetened coconut instead of sweetened coconut?
Yes, you can use unsweetened coconut if you prefer a less sweet flavor. It will still provide a nice texture and flavor to the squares.
Can I use homemade caramel sauce instead of the individually wrapped caramels?
Absolutely! If you have homemade caramel sauce on hand, feel free to use it instead of the individually wrapped caramels. Just ensure that it's a pourable consistency.
Can I add a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the caramel layer for a salted caramel flavor?
That's a fantastic idea! Adding a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the caramel layer would definitely give the squares a delicious sweet and salty contrast.
Can I store these squares at room temperature or do they need to be refrigerated?
You can store these squares at room temperature in an airtight container for several days. If you prefer a firmer texture, you can also refrigerate them. Just be sure to let them come to room temperature before serving for the best flavor and texture.

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