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I got the idea for homemade twix bars one fall when I had way too much extra caramel sauce from our caramel apples. That's saying a lot too because I've always been a caramel sauce kind of girl, far more than chocolate sauce.
I was sitting around nursing my baby and thought about how one of the candy bars I broke up with when going vegan has a nice layer of caramel in it. I've haven't had a recreation of it yet, and I realized that it would actually be really simple to make. And so was born my vegan Twix....
Anyone and everyone you make this for will have to pat you on the back for this deliciousness. The candy bars are absolutely ridiculous, and seriously very simple. It's just a shortbread cookie sliced into thin rectangles with a layer of caramel and dipped in chocolate. They're just the right amount of crunchy and gooey and perfectly sweet and satisfying.
I used Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipe for shortbread from Vegan Cookies Take Over the Cookie Jar. I have to admit I completely forgot the vanilla extract in the recipe and they were still fantastic. I think there are no more than 5 ingredients in the recipe (especially if you leave one out), but there are a few keys.
One thing to keep in mind is that when you're baking shortbread, the dough appears a bit flaky and crumbly. That's what you want; dough that looks similar to this...
I pressed everything into a square brownie pan and then dabbed the top with my whisk, which has tiny balls on the end. This helps to keep the shortbread from rising in weird spots and baking unevenly, and it also gives a bit of authenticity to the Twixyness of the recipe. Remember those little holes on the candy bar?
Once the shortbread was baked, I cut it into slivers the size of the candy bars. I got about 36 pieces out of the one shortbread recipe, but you could make King size bars or minis just as easily.
I carefully removed the shortbread slivers for my homemade Twix bars from the cake pan and positioned them near my assembly station.
I used my vegan caramel sauce recipe for these goodies. After making caramel apples, I poured the leftover caramel into a baking pan on a silpat liner and stuck it in the fridge. It sat there for about a week before I came up with the idea for this dessert and it was just fine. You'll see a few peanuts that made their way into the caramel from my last project.
The next step is to slice strips of caramel and place them on top of the shortbread cookies. Because the caramel had plenty of time to cool in the fridge, this was nowhere near as messy as you might imagine. It was actually really easy.
Last order of business is to coat everything in chocolate. I was working on this over the course of the day when I had free moments, so after putting the caramel on the shortbread, I stuck the plate in the fridge for a few hours. This turned out to be a key move because it made them nice and firm and less likely to break apart when covering them with chocolate.
I melted one package of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave. If you prefer to use a double boiler, that's a more professional way to make candy. I just put it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then remove it and stir, then give it one more 30 second jaunt and stir again until it's nice and smooth.
You can drop each candy bar directly into the chocolate mixture and use a spoon to coat it, or you can use a spoon to frost the bars with chocolate. I chose the second option because I only wanted to do a few at a time and didn't cover the whole batch at once. I think dropping them in would have given the homemade Twix bars a smoother appearance.
After they were coated in chocolate I let them cool off and harden up on the countertop. If you want to jumpstart the process, you can put them in the fridge for a few minutes until they're solid. (I also ate one when it was still liquid chocolate and while it was so yummy, it doesn't feel like eating a Twix bar at all, so proceed at your own risk.)
You can freeze them at any step along the process; either just naked shortbread cookies, shortbread with caramel strips on tip, or the full candy bar itself. I even froze some extra caramel for future homemade Twix bars.
I mean, seriously.... How good does that look?