These no-bake vegan caramel crumble bars are a mashup of this recipe and this recipe. They're packed with whole grains, healthy fats, vitamin e, and fiber. Not too shabby for a sweet, dessert-appropriate treat, huh? Of course, if you've got sweet teeth like me, then perhaps these bars will occasionally teeter into breakfast-appropriate territory as well. No matter the time of day, they're sure to please and satisfy.
There are three layers to these dreamy caramel treats:
A no-bake, graham-cracker-esque almond butter + oat crust.
A fuss-free five-minute vegan caramel layer.
A sweet and savory almond butter crumble topping.
Each layer comes together easily and fairly effortlessly. So much so that the only truly tough part about making these bars is watching the clock tick down as they chill in the freezer.
To make the no-bake almond butter + oat crust, you'll start by adding rolled oats and raw almonds to a food processor.
Give them a 30- to 60-second whirl around the food processor until they're ground into a coarse meal like so...
Then, add the remaining crust ingredients—a flax egg, sticky Medjool dates, natural almond butter, a bit of coconut sugar, sea salt—and process for a minute, or until the mixture begins to build up against the walls of the food processor.
The mixture should be sticky enough to hold together when pressed yet dry enough that it easily crumbles apart when gently challenged to do so.
Once the crust mixture is ready, press it into the bottom of a 9 × 9-inch pan. You really want to compact it into an even layer, so take your time with this step. Then, transfer the pan to the freezer for 20 minutes to firm and set the crust.
While the crust chills, prepare the caramel layer by whisking together a bit of almond butter, pure maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and sea salt over medium-low heat until smooth and glossy. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to chill and get to work on the crumble layer.
To make the crumble layer, you'll start by processing raw almonds until ground into a fine meal. Then, transfer the almond meal and all remaining crumble ingredients—oats, almond butter, coconut sugar, sea salt—to a mixing bowl, and use a fork to mash into small- to medium-size crumbles.
Then, my favorite part: pour the caramel over the crust, tilting the pan back-and-forth to evenly coat, and sprinkle with the crumble. Return the pan to the freezer for one hour to set and firm.
Trust me when I say that it's a long and slightly painful wait but a worthwhile one indeed.
Deep, patient breaths. Ahhhh.
Once you've endured the lengthy chill time, carefully lift the bar from the pan, slice into 16 squares, and enjoy.
These bars are sweet, buttery, rich, and satisfying with a delectable sink-your-teeth in caramel layer. I most often nosh on these vegan caramel crumble bars for dessert but would be remiss to dismiss the idea of enjoying them for breakfast.
For ultra dense, slightly chewy bars, store them in the freezer for up to two weeks (this is how I prefer them). For softer, melt-in-your-mouth, nearly fudgy bars, store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Since the caramel layer softens at room temperature, it's best to keep these bars chilled until just before serving, so keep this in mind if you're bringing these beauties to a party or sharing with a crowd.
Vegan Caramel Crumble Bars
No-Bake Almond Butter + Oat Crust
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons filtered water
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup raw almonds
- ½ cup pitted and packed soft, sticky Medjool dates (about 6–7 large dates)
- ½ cup natural, unsalted almond butter (thoroughly stirred before measuring)
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 recipe 5-Minute Vegan Caramel
Almond Butter Crumble Topping
- ⅓ cup raw almonds
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons natural almond butter
- ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
For the No-Bake Almond Butter + Oat Crust
- Line a 9x9-inch square pan with parchment paper or use a 9x9-inch silicon pan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
- Add the rolled oats and almonds to a food processor and process for 15 seconds, or until a coarse meal forms.
- Then, add the flaxseed mixture, dates, almond butter, coconut sugar, and sea salt, and process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture begins to hold its form against the wall of the food processor, stopping to scrape down the sides and/or pulse to ensure even processing. You want it to be crumbly yet sticky—it should hold together when pressed between your fingers but easily crumble back to its original form. If your crust mixture isn't sticking together when pressed, add more pitted dates, 1 at a time, until it holds together when pressed.
- Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to firmly press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Then, use the back of a large metal spatula to press and compact into a smooth, even surface.
- Freeze for 20 minutes to set.
For the Caramel Filling
- Meanwhile, prepare the caramel sauce.
- Transfer to the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly. Set aside.
For the Almond Butter Crumble Topping
- While the caramel is cooling, prepare the crumble topping.
- Add the almonds to a food processor and process for 1 minute or until ground into a fine meal.
- Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and add the rolled oats, coconut sugar, almond butter, and sea salt. Use the back of a spoon to mash the almond butter into the other ingredients until thoroughly combined, or until you have small- to medium-size crumbles.
- Pour the caramel sauce over the crust and tilt the pan back and forth to smooth into an even layer.
- Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the surface and use a spatula to gently press the topping down to compact it a bit. Freeze for 1 hour to thoroughly set.
- Grasp the sides of the parchment paper* and carefully lift the entire bar out of the pan. Place on a cutting board and slice into 16 bars.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. (For ultra dense, slightly chewy bars, store them in the freezer for up to two weeks (this is how I prefer them). For softer, melt-in-your-mouth, nearly fudgy bars, store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.**)