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Chocolate Caramel Marshmallow Bars {Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free}

chocolate caramel marshmallow bars

The following is a guest post written by one of new favorite bloggers, Suzanne Perazzini of Strands of My Life. Suzanne lives a life many of us would envy. She and her family live in New Zealand, but she is a world traveler. Her recipes are crafted with love, always beautifully photographed, and surprisingly simple for looking so lovely. Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing!

This recipe consists of three of the favorite sweet foods of many people – marshmallow, caramel and chocolate cake. I have layered them to create a visual feast as well as a delight for the palate.

All three layers are gluten, grain, dairy, nut and refined sugar-free. It is easy enough today to find grain-free sweet treats but many of them are based on large quantities of nuts in the form of flour or meal. A lot of people don’t tolerate nuts well so this treat is also for them.

Chocolate Caramel Marshmallow Bars

The Players

For the base:

For the caramel:

For the marshmallow:

The How To

For the base:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.

2. Grease a 17.5 x 27.5cm/7” x 11” baking tin then line it with 2 rectangular pieces of greaseproof paper. This is so you can lift the bars out of the tin when it has cooked, so overlap the pieces and leave 5cm at either side which will be your ‘handles’.

3. Chop chocolate into the top of a double boiler and add the coconut oil.

4. Place over simmering water and melt. Add the vanilla and remove from the heat then quickly stir the egg yolks into the chocolate.

5. Beat egg whites in a bowl until stiff but not dry.

6. Beat in the stevia a little at a time until stiff peaks form.

7. Stir 2-3 tbsp of meringue into the chocolate then gradually fold the chocolate into the meringue.

8. Turn into the baking tin and bake for 30 mins.

9. Remove from the oven and let stand until cooled.

For the caramel:

1. Dissolve the gelatin in a little very hot water.

2. Place the oil and honey in a saucepan and bring to the boil.

3. Boil until it reaches the soft ball stage. (Drop a little into a glass of cold water and see if it forms a ball of set caramel).

4. Remove immediately from the heat.

5. Add the cream slowly so it doesn’t splatter.

6. Beat until the caramel is smooth.

7. Add the dissolved gelatin and beat again to incorporate it.

8. Place in the fridge to cool then pour over the base.

9. Place in the fridge to set.

For the marshmallow:

1. Place the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the water (heated) in a bowl and stir to dissolve.

2. Pour the other 1/2 cup of water into a saucepan with the other ingredients.

3. Bring the mixture to the boil and continue to boil until it reaches 240°F/115°C.

4. Remove from the heat.

5. Using egg beaters or a stand mixer, pour the boiled mixture into the bowl containing the gelatin and beat the mixture until it becomes thick (this takes a while).

6. Turn off the mixer and pour or spoon the marshmallow onto the set caramel.

7. Smooth out the top and set in the fridge.

8. Once set, cut into squares with a sharp knife which has been dipped in boiling water. Re-dip it often so the marshmallow doesn’t stick.

Meet Suzanne

chocolate caramel marshmallow barsI am Suzanne Perazzini – the writer, recipe developer and photographer of the blog, Strands of My Life.

Cooking and taking photographs is an escape into a private world of sensory perception and creation.

I live with my husband and son in New Zealand in a house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I am a published author, an incorrigible traveller and lover of all things beautiful. Strands of My Life is a blog about my food journey towards great health.

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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32 Responses to Chocolate Caramel Marshmallow Bars {Grain-Free, Nut-Free, Dairy-Free}
  1. Mali Korsten
    June 5, 2013 | 2:47 pm

    These look amazing! Now I just need to buy a candy thermometer…

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 6, 2013 | 1:07 am

      Thanks, Mali. I bought a thermometer at the local kitchen store for less than $10. It’s not a great one but it does the job.

  2. Lindsey
    June 5, 2013 | 5:25 pm

    As soon as I saw this post, I was so excited to make these bars! I had everything the recipe called for in my pantry/fridge, and I set away to get started. The only part of this recipe that worked was the chocolate layer. The caramel never thickened (despite using a candy thermometer and gelatin), and the “marshmallow” topping wasn’t even usable. It tasted good, but became so thick and stretchy in my mixer. It never fluffed up like marshmallows I have made in the past. This recipe says to add the gelatin and all into the pot to cook; the recipe I use dissolves the gelatin separately and incorporates it all when the honey/water is transferred to the mixer. What I was left with today was a creamy colored blob of nothing that I could use for anything. Could you troubleshoot here?

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 6, 2013 | 1:06 am

      Lindsey, I am very sorry the recipe didn’t work for you. As you can see in the photo, it worked for me. In fact, I have made both the caramel and marshmallow several times in different dishes. The caramel will thicken a bit on the stove and then set completely in the fridge because of the gelatin. I am not sure why your marshmallow didn’t work. I love marshmallow and it is one of my favourite recipes. This is another recipe I made with the marshmallow and as you can see in the photo, it is really high and very set. Again I am really sorry it didn’t work for you.

      • Lindsey
        June 6, 2013 | 10:41 am

        In the Urban Poser marshamallow recipe, she does not add the gelatin to the saucepan. She keeps it in the mixing bowl and adds the hot water/honey mixture to it after the hot water/honey has reached soft ball stage. In your recipe above, you say to add everything, including the gelatin, to the sauce pan for heating. In your linked Chocolate Marshmallow Slice recipe, you follow UP’s recipe exactly. This recipe differs.

        • Lindsey
          June 6, 2013 | 10:43 am

          I have made Urban Poser’s marshmallows many times, all successfully. I was confused with this recipe because all the ingredients/measurements were the same, but the process differed. Perhaps the gelatin should not be boiled with the water/honey.

          • Suzanne Perazzini
            June 6, 2013 | 2:34 pm

            I have tried it both ways and both work. The gelatin needs to be dissolved and it does so in the honey/water mixture. Its purpose is the set the marshmallow which it does in either case. It doesn’t seem to interfer with it reaching the soft ball stage. I used to make a marshmallow recipe with sugar which had them all in together too. I know I have made this several times including this past weekend for the photo shoot but you have me wondering why yours didin’t work. I will try again this weekend and see if any potential issues arise as I do it.

  3. susie
    June 5, 2013 | 7:16 pm

    these look amazing! can’t wait to try these for a special occasion! wondering if I can substitute raw honey or maple syrup for the stevia??

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 6, 2013 | 12:59 am

      Coconut sugar would be a good substitute. If you want to try honey or maple syrup, perhaps reduce the coconut oil a little because of the extra liquid added.

  4. john@kitchenriffs
    June 6, 2013 | 11:29 am

    Great looking recipe! I love Suzanne’s blog – so many creative and original recipes! Like this – terrific looking dessert. Thanks so much.

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 6, 2013 | 2:36 pm

      Thanks, John. I know you don’t have a sweet tooth and these really are quite sweet even though they don’t contain refined sugar.

  5. Julia |
    June 6, 2013 | 2:18 pm

    Gorgeous three-layer bars! Unbelievable that they are gluten, grain, dairy, nut and refined sugar-free!

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 7, 2013 | 3:29 am

      Hi Julia, I would never have believed it was possible to make such sweet treats before I did my research. We get so used to traditional baked goods but there are so many other ways to bake.

  6. Kim Beaulieu
    June 6, 2013 | 6:48 pm

    These are seriously gorgeous. I could eat a million of them Which considering they are healthy is totally okay right.

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 7, 2013 | 3:26 am

      That’s right, Kim. Tuck in and eat as many as you like. LOL.

  7. Dara
    June 6, 2013 | 7:34 pm

    These bars are genius! What a creative dessert.

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 7, 2013 | 3:32 am

      Thanks, Dara. I love creating new combinations of sweet treats. The creativity is the fun part – as well as eating the results, of course.

  8. Janelle
    June 6, 2013 | 9:34 pm

    Woah! I would definitely love to try this! I love chocolate as much as the next girl but finding healthy recipes to do with it feels just awesome every single time! Thanks for this!

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 7, 2013 | 3:36 am

      Chocolate doesn’t have to be unhealthy. It’s the high levels of corn syrup that are often added that makes it unhealthy. A girl can’t live without chocolate.

  9. Louise
    June 7, 2013 | 1:30 am

    This is the recipe that I am looking for. Dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free! Amazing find. Thanks

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 7, 2013 | 2:51 pm

      I have plenty of recipes in my cookbook and on my blog which are grain, dairy, nut and refined sugar-free. I don’t believe we have to do without treats just because we have food intolerances or preferences.

  10. Jennifer @ Sweet Plantains
    June 7, 2013 | 10:33 am

    Wow – these are gorgeous! I hope I’m not too weird for getting so excited when I saw all those coconut products and grass-fed gelatin in a dessert recipe ;)

  11. Hannah J
    June 7, 2013 | 10:45 am

    These look so good. I have to try to make these!

    Check out my blog at:

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 7, 2013 | 2:52 pm

      Good luck and I hope you enjoy the process as well as the result.

  12. Nicole
    June 7, 2013 | 11:33 am

    The Caramel ingredients call for coconut milk but the instructions say to add “cream”. Do you just use the coconut cream at the top of the can or a whole cup of coconut milk?

    • Suzanne Perazzini
      June 7, 2013 | 2:56 pm

      Good question, Nicole. I always let my coconut rest in the fridge so the cream rises and thickens and then scoop out the thickest part at the top to make up the cupful. You might have to add a little of the thinner liquid as well if necessary to make up the cup. I hope that helps.

  13. Analynn
    July 18, 2013 | 4:08 pm

    Where did you find these magic chocolate chips that contain no nuts, gluten, or SUGAR? They don’t exist!

    • Kristen
      July 18, 2013 | 4:19 pm

      There’s a link to them in the recipe. They are dairy-free, soy-free, and refined sugar free. Obviously, there’s still sugar in them since it’s candy, but it’s not refined sugar.

  14. Heather
    September 17, 2013 | 2:21 pm

    Coconut = nut…it’s not very honest to describe this recipe as nut free.

    • Kristen
      September 17, 2013 | 2:42 pm

      Coconuts aren’t nuts. They are palm fruits. They are perfectly safe for people with tree nut allergies.

  15. Maggie
    December 27, 2013 | 10:25 pm

    what would you use in place of the Stevia…

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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