Unnamed Yum bars

Last week on one of my occasional [ha] visits to Starbucks, I noticed they had new mini treats. Cake pops! Red velvet whoopee pies! Two-bite cupcakes! And this little bit of heaven they called Salted caramel chocolate bites.
I bought one. And it was great.
I was thinking about it long after the last crumb was gone and the tiny [and adorable] box it came in was empty.
Usually when I want to remake something in my own kitchen, I analyze it. Many times I’ve been in a restaurant and Brad has declared, “Make me this!” I sit and stare at the color. Analyze the textures. And taste the flavors.
This was not one of those moments. I inhaled this thing. So when I was still thinking about it days later, I knew I was going to have to reproduce this thing from hazy memories.
It started with a shortbread crust. Had a layer of nuts, walnuts I believe. Followed by a swirl of chocolate and caramel. There were tiny bits of salt flecking the top.
I started out by toasting my walnuts, about 1 ½ cups. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. This just gives the nuts a nice flavor.


I ended up altering the shortbread recipe I found to be gluten free. Not because I’m eating gluten free anymore, but because I wanted to be able to share with Kerri and I had previously made some g-free cookies using these ingredients and they had a lovely flavor.
¾ cup unsalted butter softened and cut into small pieces.
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup quinoa flake
1/2 cup brown rice flour
½ cup soy flour
(all of these last three ingredients could be subbed for 2 cups all purpose flour, that’s how the original recipe had it.)
*It also called for 1 tsp of salt, but I left it out because of the salted caramel.

Place all the ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until combined. This is especially necessary if using the quinoa flake. Line a 13x9 pan with foil. Press the dough into the bottom, cover evenly. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

While baking, mix 1 can sweetened condensed milk with 3 cups chocolate chips. I almost exclusively use ghiradelli chocolates, usually a mix of semi-sweet and 60% cocoa. That’s what I used in this. Heat in a double bowler. Once melted and completely combined, add 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla. (When I tweeted that this was ‘basically fudge in a crust,’ I wasn’t lying.

There is a wonderful product that I love, caramel bits! They used to only show up around Halloween and Christmas, but now I find them year round. They’re great. No more unwrapping a million caramels.

Place caramels in microwave safe bowl, add a few tablespoons of water and heat at thirty second increments until completely melted. I added a teaspoon of sea salt to this. (regular salt would work too, add slowly and taste, especially if you’ve never played with salted caramel.) I used about ¾ of my bag. So probably a little over a cup. I should have measured. I’m sorry. If you want more caramel, melt more, if less, use less. This is about what you like.

The goal is to have the crust done before the chocolate is finished. When the crust finishes, take it out of the oven and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Top with chocolate. Try to push the chocolate down into the crust using the back of a spoon. I think the Starbucks version used a ‘runnier’ chocolate, not thick like my fudge, because my chocolate separated from my crust.

Pour the caramel over the top of the chocolate. I swirled it together a bit with my spoon and made large divots in the chocolate to hold yummy pools of caramel.

For more fun and flavor, I topped all of this with mini chocolate chips and a light sprinkle of sea salt.

I’ve always been intrigued by salt and chocolate. The two flavors are so delicious together. Ever noticed how much more chocolate flavor you get from a chocolate chip cookie that has salt in it? Yum.

So there it is, a delicious, unnamed, knock-off Starbucks dessert. If you don’t feel like making it, I strongly encourage you to grab one from Starbucks. Mine isn’t quite the same, but they’re both divine.

¾ cup unsalted butter softened and cut into small pieces.
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup quinoa flake*
1/2 cup brown rice flour*
½ cup soy flour*
(*or 2 cups all purpose flour)

1½ cup walnuts

Chocolate layer:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
3 cups chocolate chips
1 ½ tsp vanilla

1 cup caramel bits
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sea salt

Toast chopped walnuts at 350 for 10 minutes. Pulse all crust ingredients in food processor. Press into 9x13 pan lined with foil. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Top with walnuts, Melt chocolate with SCM, add vanilla at the end. Melt caramels with water, add salt to taste. Top walnuts with chocolate and caramel. Garnish with mini chocolate chips and sea salt if desired. 


  1. These are possibly the best things I have ever eaten. Yum, indeed!!

  2. Those look amazing!! I'm impressed you were able to dream up the recipe from your memory of what they tasted like!
    Ohhh man, I had my first experience with the chocolate cookie/salt combo when I made the World Peace Cookies. So so so so good!

  3. ohmyword, where do i sign up to be your taste tester?

  4. Sounds deeeelicious! I just started doing some gluten free cooking, gotta give these a try.