Homemade Twix Bars
When I say homemade Twix bars, I do so only because I want you to have a frame of reference. These are infinitely better for a few reasons: 1) The caramel to cookie ratio is skewed further in favor of a luscious homemade caramel based not only on the standard milk, sugar and butter, but also on sweetened condensed milk and golden syrup. 2) The cookie base is an easy press-in affair of butter, wonderful butter. 3) And the whole thing is spread lightly with bittersweet chocolate that gives easily to the teeth before they meet a bit of carmelly resistance.
And homemade Twix bars seem to endlessly reinvent themselves. Straight from the refrigerator, they are solid and chewy, the carmel yielding only as you work it around a little. Left out on a platter they become meltingly soft, even gooey. They fill the mouth rather than fight it. I like them both ways, but am perhaps a bit more addicted when they are room temperature. If you decide to give them a try, you'll have plenty to decide for yourself.
Homemade Twix Bars
From Sherry Yard's Desserts by the Yard
For the Shortbread
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter (5 1/2 ounces), softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 tablespoons ground rice
With a rack in the lowest portion of the oven, preheat to 350. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray, line with parchment paper, then spray the paper.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for about 2 minutes. It should be fluffy. Gradually add in the flour and the rice until the dough comes together.
Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pan and continue to bake for another 8 minutes. The shortbread should be a deep golden brown. Cool on a rack to room temperature, still in the pan.
For the Caramel
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, syrup, water and lemon juice. Wet the sides of the pan with a little water if any of the ingredients have crept up. Cover the saucepan and cook it over medium heat for 4 minutes.
Remove the lid, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Do not stir. The mixture will bubble, and if sugar appears on the sides of the pan, brush them back down with a wet pastry brush. The bubbles will continue to get larger.
In the meantime, bring the heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Return to the sugar mixture, which will turn golden brown after 5 or 6 minutes. With a candy thermometer, make sure the mixture has reached 300, then remove the pan from the heat and let it rest for 1 minutes, until the bubbles subside. Whisk in the heavy cream off the heat and whisk in the condensed milk. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth
Return the saucepan to medium heat and stir constantly until the caramel reaches 240. Pour over the shortbread and allow to set.
For the Chocolate
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
In a double boiler or in the microwave set on half strength, melt the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Pour evenly over the caramel and let sit at room temperature or in the refrigerator until set.
Slice and serve.
* Ms. Yard uses this technique for making caramel (I assume) to avoid having to stand over the stove stirring the entire time. Milk burns easily, which is why it's added at the end and why the stirring occurs after it's added. If you're careless like I was and dump all of the ingredients together at the same time, all is not lost, but you will have to stir the entire time, until the mixture reaches the 240 mark.
* For some reason, I didn't find bittersweet chocolate and used semisweet instead. No harm done.
* UPDATE: For ground rice, simply put dry rice into a food processor and grind away until you have a fine powder. Then pass through a sieve to get any chunks out, process one more time, and measure out 2 tablespoons. Ground rice is NOT the same thing as rice flour, so don't substitute.