Soft and sweet Vegan Blondie Bars drizzled with a luscious Vegan Salted Caramel sauce! Top these sugary bars with a sprinkling of flakey sea salt for extra oomph!
Vegan Blondie Bars with Salted Caramel
When I set out to make a vegan version of my blondie bars, I knew I needed to find an egg replacer that would perfectly bind the ingredients together while also giving us that chewy blondie texture without any extra grit. So I looked to my vegan brownie recipe, and I reached for the corn starch. Friends, corn starch is such an excellent egg replacer in this recipe! It binds the ingredients, lends an extra chewy texture to these bars, and, most importantly, goes undetected. In other words, these vegan blondies are just as good as any other blondie bar!
Some of the Ingredients You’ll Need + Substitutions:
Plant-based butter adds that buttery flavor we all know and love. Because we’re after this exact flavor, I don’t recommend any substitutes.
Brown sugar brings that traditional butterscotch flavor to these bars. You can use either light or dark brown sugar.
Coconut sugar is my go-to low glycemic index sweetener. It tastes less sweet than cane sugar and it’s better for you! You can use more brown sugar in its place, but that will make these bars very sweet tasting.
Corn starch mixes with water to bind these bars together. The official egg replacer in this recipe, the starch is totally necessary. You can use arrowroot starch in its place.
White granulated sugar is used to make the caramel sauce. Using a white, refined sugar helps you gauge when the caramel is done as it’s colorless until it’s ready. You can use raw sugar, but you’ll need to keep an extra eye on the boiling caramel to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Coconut cream gives the caramel creaminess and thickness. For this recipe, you want to us only the thick, scoop-able cream that sits at the top of the can. I recommend buying a can of coconut cream that contains only coconut and water. I’ve found that the creams with fillers can keep the cream from solidifying, which we don’t want for this recipe as we need the solid cream.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) plant-based butter
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 2 Tbsp warm water
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Flakey sea salt to sprinkle
Vegan Salted Caramel
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup room temp or warm water
- 1/2 cup thick coconut cream (the thick cream from a can of coconut cream)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
Make the Caramel
- In a small bowl, combine the coconut cream and vanilla extract; set aside. Prepare a work space next to your stove with a wooden spoon and folded towel or hot pad holder.
- In a medium, heavy bottom saucepan, add the granulated sugar and then the water, dispersing the water over the sugar. Very lightly swirl the pan, if need be, to soak all the sugar in the water. Place on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, without stirring or touching the mixture, and cook until sugar is amber in color - this can take up to 15-20 minutes but it will burn very quickly once color starts to form.
- Immediately remove the sugar from the heat and place on your towel. Slowly add the thick coconut cream and vanilla and gently stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture will bubble up and be very hot, so be careful! Gently stir the caramel until it stops bubbling.
- Place the caramel/saucepan back on the heat and bring mixture to a boil. Use a candy thermometer to measure the temperature. Boil just until mixture reaches 240°F-245°F (soft-ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in the salt. Pour caramel into a heat-proof bowl to cool. While it cools, make your blondies.
Make the Blondies
- Preheat your oven to 325°F and prepare an 8x8 baking dish. Spray your dish with non-stick spray and then line with parchment paper. I like to cut one long strip to cover the bottom and two sides, and then I fold the excess over the sides and trim them - that way I can use them as handles later when I pull the blondies out to slice.
- Melt your butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring it to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat. In a medium bowl, add the butter, brown sugar, and coconut sugar and mix; set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the warm water and corn starch until totally combined. Add this to your butter/sugar mixture and stir. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Add the baking powder and salt and stir. Then add the flour, mixing until well combined and no flour streaks remain. Scrape the batter (it will be thick) into your prepared baking dish, smoothing it evenly across your dish.
- Bake at 325°F for 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly browned. Allow to cool completely. Run a butter knife around the edges and use the parchment paper overhang to pull the entire blondie up and out of the dish. Use a sharp knife to slice into 12 or 16 bars.
- Drizzle cooled caramel sauce over the cooled blondie bars and immediately sprinkle with flakey sea salt! Store any leftovers in a single layer in an airtight container (do not stack the bars!).
- Bringing the caramel sauce to "soft-ball stage" is necessary as it makes sure the caramel is thick enough to stay on top on your blondies
- Allow the caramel to cool completely before transferring to a lidded jar. You can store leftover caramel in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, reheating as necessary to drizzle on whatever you like (it will thicken in the refrigerator)