Salted Pecan Caramel Sundae: Gluten Free & Vegan

Just as penicillin was a happy accident, so too were these sundaes!

Just as penicillin was a happy accident, so too were these sundaes!

On this blog, I post my culinary successes.  Things that taste delicious, photograph at least decently, and turn out just as I had planned them.  I’ll admit, though, some things aren’t as seamless as I’d hope for.  Yesterday, for instance, I was faced with one unmitigated disaster after another in my quest to develop my latest gluten free and vegan treat.

First, I had the idea for caramel popcorn.  I’ve made a classic version countless times, and figured I’d make just a couple of simple swaps for a gorgeous vegan caramel corn.  Once the caramel was done, I poured some over my popcorn.  Within about 30 seconds, the popcorn had dissolved into the sauce.  Apparently, the sauce was a tad too liquidy for caramel corn.  Unmitigated disaster number one.

So, I had this delicious caramel sauce, but nothing to do with it.  Then I remembered the salted caramel pecan pie bars I made for my Thanksgiving dinner.  But I was lazy, and didn’t feel like having to clean my mixer.  An oatmeal crust!  Yes!  It’ll be perfect!  And tasty they were.  But bars they were not.  Again, this caramel sauce was super liquidy, and it saturated the crust.  Unmitigated disaster number two.

I was undeterred, though.  All of these ingredients are delicious, dammit!  Something must work out!  And then it dawned on me – an ice cream sundae!  Unfortunately, that would negate the veganness of the entire endeavor.  Frozen banana whip it was!  You could, of course use regular ice cream, or one of many vegan options readily available (I’m partial to the coconut milk variety).  But I had a container of the chocolate frozen banana whip in my freezer anyway, and I had a feeling that my dessert would, finally, come together.

And I have to admit, after all of the frustration I faced in making it, I was thrilled with the result.  The salted pecan caramel topping was reminiscent of those wet nuts that are ubiquitously untouched on the sundae bar.  Only these are fantastic.  Sweet and salty all in one awesome package.  And while it’s not what I had in mind, it’s still decadent and festive.  They certainly didn’t come out as bars (although, I will not judge if you sit there and eat the sticky mess with your fingers like I may have…), but they are delicious nonetheless.

Am I the only one to have days like this in the kitchen?  Please share your own culinary mishaps and the ways you worked around them, and make me feel a tad better about myself!

Salted Caramel Oatmeal Pecan Bars
Salted Pecan Ice Cream Topping
Based on

Ingredientspecan topping 3


  • ½ cup quick oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp flaxseed, dissolved in 1 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp canola oil


  • ½ – 1/3 cup roasted pecan halves
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (vegan if necessary)
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce (recipe follows)


  1. Line a 4×4 baking dish with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine all ingredients for the crust in a small bowl, and mix together (I used my hands). Press into prepared pan.
  3. Spread pecans evenly over crust. Spread the chocolate chips evenly over that. Drizzle caramel sauce over top.
  4. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Let set for a few hours before trying to cut.
  5. When they don’t cut because they are saturated with your awesome vegan caramel sauce, crumble up over ice cream and pretend that’s what you were trying to make from the start.

Caramel Sauce


  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup warm almond milk (I used light vanilla)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Combine sugar and water in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Over medium low heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved into the water. Raise the heat to medium, and allow to boil until it turns a deep amber color.
  2. Remove from heat, and SLOWLY stir in almond milk. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble and steam violently. Stir in remaining ingredients and allow to cool.

2 thoughts on “Salted Pecan Caramel Sundae: Gluten Free & Vegan

  1. Is banana whip frozen banana and cocoa powder mixed together? These look delicious!
    And don’t worry, everyone has mishaps in the kitchen. They may not be fun, but eventually something yummy comes from it!
    Once I made chocolate mousse with avocado, but it was DISGUSTING. I added a ton of cinnamon and it (eventually) tasted okay. It ended up as a frosting on chocolate cupcakes! Waste not, want not!


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