Chocolate Dipped Salted Nut Roll Bars

The Minnesota State Fair is something my family talks about and looks forward to all year long. Opening its gates for 12 days, ending on Labor Day, the fair is the sweet cherry that tops our summer adventures.

If you’ve never been to the Minnesota State Fair, my friend Angela offers some good tips and humor on planning a day with your family (can you find me in her article?). There’s just one point that I disagree on. You must never skip the animal barns! But, hey, that’s advice coming from a farmgirl. Angela, who grew up in the big city, once referred to our friendship as City Mouse meets Country Mouse. And it’s so very true. I love that city girl for her bigger vision and says-it-like-she-sees-it advice. So I give her extra credit for even trying to steer her family in the direction of those sweet smelling barns.  :smile:

Our family made its annual trek to the fair last Sunday, along with 171,685 others that day. That’s about the very same number as the South Dakota State Fair’s entire attendance last year!  I’m not disrespecting my home state’s fair. Definitely not. I have way too many fond childhood memories from that fair. I am simply trying to illustrate the magnitude of Minnesota’s fair, as it boasts of the largest average daily attendance of any state fair in the United States.

You could probably already guess this from our family, but the food at the Minnesota State Fair is the highlight of our trip. Although we love visiting each and every animal barn, walking through the horticulture building to look at the latest crop art, and perusing all the gizmos and gadgets being hawked underneath the grandstand, it’s the food that provides the pace for the day.

Our favorite eats include fried pickle chips, Australian battered potatoes, apple cider freeze pops made from Minnesota apple varieties, cheese curds from the Food Building (with a cold beer from the nearby Leinie Lodge to wash them down), and the oh-so-awesome handmade salted nut rolls.

Pearson’t Salted Nut Rolls. Are you a fan of this Minnesota born candy bar? Because if you are, the fair’s version is spectacular! (My Minnesota friend, Amanda from i am baker, also made some salted nut rolls that look super tasty – check them out!)

Here’s the stand to look for at the fair.

Of course, you’ll find this treat on a stick. Tender sweet nougat dipped in caramel and then rolled in the traditional salty peanuts – OR cashews, pecans, or sliced almonds!

As if that wasn’t enough for options, you can also order yours dipped in chocolate. Oh, yes, you can!


Whenever I see a Salted Nut Roll, I think of Dad. This candy bar has always been one of his favorites. And Mom whips up a homemade bars version to satisfy that sweet and salty craving. The recipe is insanely easy.

But, of course, I had to go and complicate it…

This is my little rendition of State Fair meets Mom’s Baking:
Chocolate Dipped Salted Nut Roll Bars

If you’re a traditionalist and prefer a salted nut roll without the chocolate, I will not be offended in the least. All you’ll need are the 5 ingredients listed for the salted nut roll bars and about 15 minutes in the kitchen. Although they aren’t comprised of a center log of nougat like Pearson’s and the State Fair shack’s, this recipe’s ingredients hit the flavors and textures pretty well for being so darn easy to make. These bars are excellent, and they’re the ones you’ll find my dad enjoying at home.

However, if you’re feeling adventurous and have some time on your hands, give this dipped version a try. (Read my cheater version in the recipe below.) Yes, they are definitely more labor intensive. But they are also ridiculously fabulous.

You might even be so inclined to poke a stick in them and pretend you’re at the fair…

Chocolate Dipped Salted Nut Roll Bars

Yield: 15 to 18 chocolate dipped salted nut roll bars


for the salted nut roll bars:

  • 1 14-oz. jar lightly salted peanuts (I used lightly salted dry roasted peanuts, just because I like them alot!)
  • 1 10-oz. package peanut butter chips
  • 1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 T. butter
  • 1 10-oz. bag miniature marshmallows

for the caramel dip:

  • 1 14-oz. bag Kraft caramels
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 T. milk

for the chocolate dip:

  • 8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard.)
  • 1 tsp. shortening


for the salted nut roll bars:

First, prepare the salted nut roll bars. Spread half the peanuts in a 9'' x 13'' pan. In a medium pan over medium heat, melt the peanut butter chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Once melted, add the marshmallows and quickly fold together. The goal is to still have the marshmallows intact, so don’t stir too much as it will break them up and cause them to melt into the peanut butter mixture. Spread this over the peanuts. Then sprinkle the other half of the peanuts over the top and press in with the flat side of a spatula or large spoon. If you like the Salted Nut Roll candy bar, without chocolate, eat these just like they are. Just refrigerate to set, then cut into bars. If you want to try the caramel and chocolate dipped version, read on. (And I highly recommend that you do!)

for the caramel dip:

In a medium bowl, microwave the caramels, butter, and milk. Check and stir the mixture regularly and don’t allow the mixture to scorch. Transfer caramel to a small bowl that will allow the salted nut roll to be dipped into it sufficiently. I used a 1-cup ramekin with sides 2'' tall.

Cut the pan of salted nut roll into your desired size and shape pieces. Mine were about 3'' x 1-1/2'' each, mimicking the elongated candy bar shape. From a short edge of the pan, cut 1-1/2'' rows, and then cut each row into 3 pieces.

Lay a piece of parchment paper (don’t use wax paper!) on each of 2 cookie sheets or jelly roll pans.

Dip the cut bars halfway in the caramel. Use a spoon to aid your caramel covering, if needed. Let excess caramel run back into the bowl and lightly slide the bottom of the caramel dipped bar along the edge of the bowl, to help remove excess caramel. Set on parchment paper and repeat until you are done dipping in caramel. Place pan in the refrigerator to set up the caramel. Once set, if the caramel has pooled around the base of the bar, you can easily trim the caramel with a knife, if desired.

for the chocolate dip:

In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and shortening on low heat. Check and stir the mixture regularly, taking care to not let it scorch. Once the chocolate chips are a little more than halfway melted, just stir until they melt all the way. Let cool until just barely warm and transfer to another small diameter bowl or ramekin for dipping. Then dip your caramel dipped salted nut roll bars into the chocolate, leaving a bit of the caramel showing. Gently shake off any excess chocolate and lightly slide the bottom of the fully dipped bar along the edge of the bowl, to help remove excess chocolate. Set on parchment paper and repeat until you are done dipping in chocolate. Place in the refrigerator to set.

Cheater Version: If you want the added caramel and chocolate, but don’t want to go through the dipping/cooling/dipping/cooling process, I offer you this… Make a half recipe each of both the caramel dip and the chocolate dip. Then drizzle each one over the top of the pan of bars. I did this for a pan of bars and it’s an easy compromise, with considerably less work.

Salted nut roll bar recipe from Mom’s recipe box, originally from Kathy Mackner. The caramel and chocolate dipped portion of the recipe was inspired by the Salted Nut Rolls shack at the Minnesota State Fair.

 I’m linking up with the following this week:

Cheryl at TidyMom for I’m Lovin’ It (Eye Shadow and Brushes)
Allison at Alli ‘n Son for Sweet Tooth Friday (Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce)
Kim at A Well-Seasoned Life for Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Robyn at Add a Pinch for Mingle Monday 
Rachel at A Southern Fairytale for Mouthwatering Monday (Oreo Snowmen)
Gooseberry Patch for their Recipe Round-Up (Raspberry-Coconut Bars)


85 Responses to “Chocolate Dipped Salted Nut Roll Bars”

  1. #
    Star Hughes Living — September 1, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    Oh my gosh I checked your blog at the PERFECT timing!!! My goodness these look delicious!!!!!!!!

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Thanks, Star! Great to hear from you again.

  2. #
    Amanda KP — September 1, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Wow – yummy. I think these might win the next blogger bake off :) will be making these soon – and with a stick just because i hate to see the state fair go! we look forward to it all year long also!

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Amanda – guess I should have started on these a few weeks ago and competed! Great to hear from you, thanks. Have a super weekend.

  3. #
    Sara — September 2, 2011 at 6:22 am

    As we were leaving the fair Wednesday night…after savoring the salted nut roll…I was determined to find a recipe for them! Hallelujah…here you are! Thanks Farmgirl!

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Let me know what you think, Sara. So nice to hear from you!

  4. #
    marla — September 2, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Love that you added these homemade nut rolls to a stick…looks amazing!

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you so much, Marla – have a great Labor Day weekend!

  5. #
    Christina @ This Woman Cooks! — September 2, 2011 at 7:31 am

    So impressive. I love state fairs and all the treats. I really want to go to one now!

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you, Christina!

  6. #
    Becca — September 2, 2011 at 7:45 am

    I love, love, love peanuts! These nut roll bars look so tasty, I want one. And yes, fairs are always fun! I think my towns equivalent is Broomfield Days, but that only lasts a day. It’s still super fun though :)

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks, Becca – so nice to hear from you. Best wishes in your baking adventures!

  7. #
    erin @ from city to farm — September 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Yumtastic!! Nothing better than a salty sweet combo…plus, nuts and chocolate are GOOD for you, yes? :)

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:23 pm

      Nuts and chocolate are DEFINITELY good for you! Thanks, Erin – so nice to hear from you.

  8. #
    Erin @ Making Memories — September 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Yowza! These look amazing! And who doesn’t want things dipped in caramel??? That’s just.. well… wrong! Can’t wait to make these!

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks, Erin. That caramel really brings it all together. So delicious!

  9. #
    Something Swanky — September 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    Following you on twitter and facebook! I’d love a follow back on GFC when you get a chance to swing by my blog!

    I LOVE this idea– it looks delicious. And I’m uber-impressed that you made the salted caramel nut roll from scratch! Kudos to you :)

    I’d love for you to link up to my Sweet Treats Party & Giveaway this weekend! Hope to see you there :)

    Sweet Treats Thursday {thu-sun}

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks so much! Nice to hear from you, Ashton.

  10. #
    Katie — September 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I’m not sure who would like these better without chocolate because they look absolutely fantastic dipped! My state fair growing up (in Michigan) didn’t sell these, but I wish they would have!

    • farmgirl replied on September 2nd, 2011 at 5:30 pm

      Hi, Katie – thank you so much. It’s always nice to hear from you.

  11. #
    Paula — September 3, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Headed out with the grand-kids today to attend our local town fair. It’s country and it’s fun but nothing on the scale of your state fairs! However, the animal barns are always one of the favourite places the kids like to visit. We don’t have these delicious looking treats at our fairs so it’s great that you shared your *upgraded* version. Maybe I’ll will try to make some, if they turn out maybe I’ll rent a booth and sell them at our local fair next year. LOL :)
    Great post Brenda!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      I hope you had fun at the fair with your grandkids. Did you scope out the perfect spot for your booth next year? I KNOW you would be a hit with your beautiful cookies!

  12. #
    KittyM — September 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

    ooh my mouth is watering reading this post! I’ve never seen this recipe in the UK before but I have spotted all of the ingredients for sale on Amazon so I must try it one day! Kitty x

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:39 pm

      Fun to hear from you, Kitty! It’s so hard to think about these ingredients not being easily accessible (horrors!!) – I do hope you’re able to make these some day!

  13. #
    Sarah E. — September 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    This is so exciting :D I grew up in MN and when I moved to Tennessee it took me months to find Payday Bars which are like Nut Rolls (although I think Nut Rolls are a lot better).

    Can’t wait to make these! They look so so good :)

    Stopping by from Sweet Tooth Friday!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      I always thought everyone knew about Salted Nut Rolls and could pick one up whenever they pleased, and am just starting to realize it isn’t so. This recipe for the basic bars is so easy to make (the dipping part obviously takes more effort) – I hope you enjoy them.

  14. #
    Jackie — September 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    These look like pure perfection.

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:43 pm

      Thanks, Jackie!

  15. #
    Kim McCallie — September 3, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I love everything about these! They look delicious! I’m definitely putting these on my to-do list for my holiday treat baskets. I love them! I’d like to invite you to share your recipe on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Thank you so much, Kim. What a great idea for holiday treats!!

  16. #
    Mama J — September 3, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    My favorite candy bar! I cannot wait to try these. Just beautiful!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you – I hope you like them!

  17. #
    Allison @ Alli n Son — September 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Mmmmmmm, I can practically taste them. I’ve never been to the MN. Maybe next year, it sounds like a lot of fun.

    Thanks for stopping by sweet tooth Friday!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      The MN State Fair is definitely worth crossing the border for, Allison! :)

  18. #
    Amanda — September 4, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Brenda… this recipe is wonderful!!! I have yet to make it to the fair. Isnt that crazy?? Sending you lots of love and blessings today!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      I almost can’t believe you haven’t been to the fair – you NEED to get there! I can feel your love – always so nice to hear from you, Amanda.

  19. #
    TidyMom — September 4, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Brenda these sound fantastic!!!

    Thanks so much for linking up to my party! I featured your post in my wrap up

    Have a great holiday weekend.

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks bunches, Cheryl – always lovely to hear from you. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  20. #
    Jennifer — September 4, 2011 at 11:28 am

    oh, yum! i love nuts and i remember this candy from my childhood. i live in germany and there is nothing like this anywhere – but now i have this on my to-do list!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      I do hope you can find the ingredients for these bars. So nice to hear from you, Jennifer!

  21. #
    Julie — September 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    What a gorgeous little treat, I’ll remember these for the next kids picnic!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks, Julie!

  22. #
    Sasha @ The Procrastobaker — September 4, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Ive never heard of a nut roll! im guessing they arnt a big thing here in the UK, oh how we are missing out it seems :) these look absolutely divine, so so inventive and i am SO going to be trying them out hopefully sooner rather than later!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Sasha – I’m realizing, since posting this, that the Salted Nut Roll is a very Midwestern US thing. I do hope you can find the ingredients to make this. They’re super simple, chewy, crunchy, and delicious!

  23. #
    Cathy Wiechert — September 4, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Wow do these look good! My husband wants me to replicate the sweet corn ice cream, but he hasn’t seen this. :) Payday candy bars were my favorite until I discovered the Nut Roll here in Minnesota. Great post!

  24. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — September 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Oh my those look intensely good!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 7:07 pm

      Thanks, Sylvie. They really are crazy good. I had so much fun making them, too – I was very sticky!

  25. #
    Barefeet In The Kitchen — September 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Ooooooh My Goodness. These sound amazing!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

      Thanks, Mary – nice to hear from you!

  26. #
    Mom — September 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Dad says he can taste them just by looking at them. Yum!

    • farmgirl replied on September 4th, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Hatti was just saying today that she wished she could have just one more. I told her I put a few in the freezer for when you visit in a couple weeks. There’s one with Dad’s name on it. :)

  27. #
    Mrs Happy Homemaker — September 4, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    This is going on my gotta try list most definitely – pinned it too! I would love it if you linked it up at my blog party, Makin’ You Crave Monday, over at!

  28. #
    Kirstin — September 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Wow…YUM!!! I used to love the nut rolls that you buy at the store…I’m sure I’d totally love these!!

    • farmgirl replied on September 5th, 2011 at 8:47 pm

      Thanks, Kirsten. The salted nut roll bars are fabulous on their own, but dipped in caramel & chocolate…oh my!

  29. #
    owen pickert — September 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    that looks so good i wish i was there right now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • farmgirl replied on September 5th, 2011 at 8:49 pm

      Hi, Owen – I wish you were here, too! I saved some in the freezer for Grandpa & Grandma K., because Grandpa LOVES salted nut rolls!

  30. #
    carolinaheartstrings — September 6, 2011 at 8:05 am

    This looks so yummy. It is almost State Fair time in the Carolinas and we always have yummy things like this too. Yours looks terrific. Come visit us this week. We have some wonderful apple recipes.

    • farmgirl replied on September 6th, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      So nice to hear from you – thanks! Have fun at the fair!!

  31. #
    LoveFeast Table — September 6, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Yum! My favorite thing at the MN State Fair this year was watching The Prairie Home Companion Show w/ Garrison Keillor and treat-wise I’d have to say I’m a good old fashion cotton candy lover! ~Chris Ann

    • farmgirl replied on September 6th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks – wonderful to hear from you, Chris Ann! (And…oh my gosh, people…check out the velvet pumpkins in LoveFeast Table’s shop – they’re GORGEOUS!!)

  32. #
    naomi — September 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    These look so tasty and I love how easy they are to make!

    • farmgirl replied on September 6th, 2011 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks, Naomi!!

  33. #
    Kristen — September 6, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I am totally going to make this… have never seen them at the fair but I love a Pay Day type candy bar! Yum!

    • farmgirl replied on September 6th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      They’re addictive, watch out! :)

  34. #
    Maria — September 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    These look amazing!!! Love!

    • farmgirl replied on September 6th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

      Thanks much, Maria!

  35. #
    Trisha — September 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    My word, these look great!

  36. #
    Angie @ Bigbearswife — September 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    perfect snack!!!

  37. #
    Minnesota Prairie Roots — September 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I am so going to try this recipe. My husband loves salted nut rolls and so do I. Thank you for sharing.

  38. #
    Kim McCallie — September 10, 2011 at 6:11 am

    Hello! Just stopping by to let you know that your recipe was one of the top recipes last week on Sweet Indulgences Sunday. Hope you’ll join us again this week.

    • farmgirl replied on September 11th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks, Kim!!

  39. #
    Robin @ Simply Southern Baking — September 10, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Oh yum!!! These are making my mouth water early in the morning!

  40. #
    viv(re) — September 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    oh, that looks all kinds of good!

    • farmgirl replied on September 11th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you, Viv – hope you’re having a great weekend!

  41. #
    Kelli Worley — September 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    OMG! These look amazing! I can’t wait to try this :) This will make a great addition to my Christmas cookie tins this year! Thank you so much for sharing~Kelli

  42. #
    Dennis — November 1, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    a friend of mine makes these salted nut roll bars every year for Christmas, they are freaking awesome!!

  43. #
    Rene — September 24, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Oh my gosh! My son will be 17 next week. He saw me reading this and said they look very good. Guess what mama will be surprising her big baby boy at his party with some of these? —->This mama right here, that’s who!!! I cannot thank you enough!

  44. #
    Erin — December 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    I made these (cut smaller) for my Christmas cookie tray and used a lollipop stick (shorter). They were a big hit! Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Brenda replied on January 1st, 2015 at 9:08 pm

      I love your rendition – FUN! Hope you had a very merry Christmas. Happy New Year to all of you!


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