Two-Layer Salted Pecan Bars

This classic dessert comes from local dietitian, food journalist and author Carolyn O’Neil’s latest work, “The Slim Down South Cookbook.” She has given these bars a trendy twist with a sprinkle of kosher salt – a simple addition that can upgrade a variety of sweet treats to a new level of tasty. Plus, at less than 170 calories per bar and a total prep time of less than an hour, this will give you an easy, guilt-free treat to enjoy while your kids dive into their Halloween candy.



Vegetable cooking spray

1½ cups finely crushed pretzel sticks

½ cup butter, melted

3 tbsp. sugar

1 large egg white

2 tbsp. fat-free milk

40 caramels

1 tsp. vanilla extract

¾ cup finely chopped pecans

¼ tsp. sea salt


Preheat oven to 375°. Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides. Coat foil with cooking spray.

Stir together crushed pretzels, melted butter, sugar and egg white. Press mixture on bottom of pan. Bake at 375° for 11 minutes.

While crust is baking, combine milk and caramels in a medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until caramels melt. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Remove crust from oven. Pour caramel mixture over hot crust. Sprinkle with pecans and salt.

Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Chill at least 30 minutes. Lift mixture from pan, using foil sides as handles. Cut into 20 bars. Store in refrigerator up to one week.


-          Courtesy of “The Slim Down South Cookbook” author Carolyn O’Neil,

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