These Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie Bars with Pretzel Crust combine your favorite fall pie filling baked on top of a pretzel oat crust, topped with a layer of vegan caramel, and then sprinkled with sea salt for your new favorite gluten-free pumpkin dessert!
Ok, ok… so pumpkin pie is already a winner of a dessert on its own. BUT, my friends… I’m going to take pumpkin pie to a whole new level and I think you’re going to love it! These Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie Bars are highly addicting and 100% worthy of sharing a spot on the Thanksgiving dessert table this year.
If you’re a salty-sweet combo lover, this dessert is going to rock your world! It’s the best combination of salty gluten-free pretzels, combined with the sweet, perfectly spiced pumpkin pie filling, topped with another layer of my naturally sweetened vegan caramel sauce, and another layer of salty to finish it off.
5-minute homemade salted caramel, on top of pumpkin pie, on top of a bed of ground up gluten-free pretzels and oats #swooning. The only downside to this dessert is that you have to let it set up overnight, but that only elevates the anticipation, right?!
If you’re not planning on enjoying the entire dessert the same day, you may want to leave some of the squares unsalted as after a little while it soaks in the caramel layer (still delish, just a suggestion). You can choose to pick up the squares and eat with your hands… but be prepared to do some finger licking… or you can eat with a fork, like you would traditional pumpkin pie. Either way? Delicious.
They are really easy to make too, just takes a little more time to bake and chill- but so does regular ol’ pumpkin pie too. Good things (like salted caramel pumpkin pie bars) come to those who wait 😉 You just blend the pretzels and oats together into fine crumbs, combine with plant butter, tapioca/brown rice syrup, and cinnamon. Press that into an 8×8 baking pan, then pour in the easy homemade pumpkin pie filling mix, and top with a layer of my vegan caramel. Then chill, slice and sprinkle with salt!
- 3 cups gluten-free pretzels
- 1 cup gluten-free quick oats
- 1/2 cup vegan/plant butter
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon tapioca syrup/brown rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Filling
- 1 can pure pumpkin puree
- 1 can coconut milk, solid part only
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 cup sugar (may sub with coconut or maple sugar)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons vegan/plant butter (may sub with coconut oil instead if you wish)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda, optional to give it a more caramel color
- 2 tablespoons oat milk (or other creamier plant milk like cashew or coconut)
- flaked sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, using small binder clips to help hold the paper sides down.
- To make the crust, in a food processor, pulse the pretzels and oats into semi-fine crumbs. Add the butter and tapioca/brown rice syrup and cinnamon and pulse until the mixture holds together when pinched. Press the dough into an 8-inch square baking pan.
- To make the pumpkin pie filling, add all of the filling ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Alternatively, you can add all of the filling ingredients to a blender and blend until combined. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the crust and use a spatula to spread the pumpkin filling evenly and smooth out the top. Gently tap the baking pan on the counter to ensure the top is flat and even. Bake for 40 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, the edges might look done and the middle may still look wobbly, that's ok, it will set up as it cools.
- Next, make the caramel topping. In a small saucepan, melt the plant butter/coconut oil over high heat. Once melted, whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla and pinch of salt. Next, whisk in the nut/seed butter, whisking continuously until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in the baking soda (if using) and plant milk until it's smooth and silky like caramel sauce!
- Allow everything to cool for about 10-15 minutes and then pour the caramel sauce over the pumpkin layer, tilting the baking pan to spread the caramel sauce over the entire layer evenly.
- Place the baking pan in the fridge and allow the dessert to set up overnight. Cut into squares, garnish with sea salt flakes and pretzels if desired. Keep this stored in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 2 days.