A few days ago, I got this hankering for a twix bar… or more likely a hankering to create a vegan and gluten free version of the popular candy that I grew to love as a child. I distinctly remember there being three varieties offered for sale in my small midwest village grocery store: peanut butter, cookies and cream, and caramel. I always loved each one for their own uniqueness… but for some reason, the caramel variety was my favorite.
Today, I barely remember what the darned things taste like… but I get the gist: a crunchy vanilla-ish cookie, creamy caramel, and a thin chocolate coating.
Easy enough, right?
This recipe does take a little patience, finesse… and an even temper. But, it’s definitely worth a go if you too miss twix bars like I do *whether you are gluten free, vegan, or both*.
Not exactly the same, but close enough to be worth the little bit of extra effort.
(updated— the amazingly rational Kittee came through in the comments with a stellar idea to make these super easy! She had a ridiculously good suggestion to pipe on the caramel sticky filling using a piping bag and flat tip. Genius!) see * below
Vegan & Gluten Free Twixx Bars
Makes a lot… of everything (1/2 it if you’re not feeling super ambitious)… although the extra cookies do come in handy
- 1 cup vegan margarine
- 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 3/4 cup brown rice flour (the finest ground you can get)
- 3/4 cup potato starch
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 20 medjool dates, pits removed
- 2 tbsp vegan margarine
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 bags vegan chocolate chips
- double boiler
- parchment paper and/or silpat mat
Cream together margarine, vanilla extract, and sugar until smooth. In separate bowl, mix together sorghum, brown rice, potato starch, and xanthan gum.
Using an electric mixer, slowly incorporate flour mixture into sugar/margarine and mix on medium- low speed for about 2 minutes, scraping sides as needed to form a stiff dough. Press dough into a semi-flat oval and chill in fridge for an hour or so. I always just toss mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 300 °F.
Once dough has chilled, roll out gently onto parchment paper. The warmer the dough becomes the softer it will get. Roll to about 1/4 inch thick.
Use a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 1/2″ x 3 ” rectangles.
Poke a few holes in each one.
And bake for about 35 minutes in preheated oven, or until cookies are ever so slightly golden brown. This will make a lot of cookies, more than you will need for the twix recipe.
Set aside to cool (another trip back in the fridge for a few minutes can help here… but just don’t try and move the cookies while hot or they will break).
Speaking of the fragile-ness of these cookies, this will become annoying during the twix making process if you aren’t aware of it before you begin. You will break a few cookies… but this recipes makes plenty extra, so no worries!
Okay, so the next step is to make your caramel filling. Place dates, margarine, vanilla and salt into food processor, pulse with a 3 tbsp or so of water until smooth. I let mine ride for at least a minute to ensure adequate smoothness.
The next step is the trickiest part of all… but once you get the hang of it, it is sort of fun. Okay, so maybe fun is not the word. This step is a kind of a pain… sorry.
So, with the fragile cookie and the sticky caramel, the first part of assembling these things is slightly strange:
I lightly greased my hands and grabbed (you can use a spoon) about a 1/2 tbsp caramel mixture. I then ever so carefully rolled it into a small flat snake shape and placed it on top of my cookie. This is where most of my cookies broke- if you hold down the cookie and get your finger stuck to the caramel, inevitably, you will have a sad broken cookie. Try your best to keep the cookie flat and steady on your work surface and also try not to get anything stuck to that caramel to pull the cookie apart. Repeat until all caramel/and or cookies have been used. I was happy that about 15 survived…and I kept about 20 plain cookies aside just to nibble on.
*Or you can skip all of the insanity I put myself through and just pipe the caramel filling onto the cookies using a 1/2″ wide flat icing tip! This piping bag step will make assembling these MUCH easier and will make the cookies less likely to break. But they will still be fragile little shortbreads… take care while piping on that caramel. (Thanks, Kittee!)
Use a double boiler over low heat to melt your chocolate chips.
Once chocolate is super smooth, place 3/4 of the chocolate into a drizzle bag, and leave the rest in the double boiler.
Lay out a piece of parchment or silpat mat and quickly brush the surface with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Work quickly to place the cookies onto the chocolate. A thin metal spatula is a cookie saver here. Gently scoop up, and gently lay down into the melted chocolate layer.
You can skip this step, but I think it re-enforces the whole “twix” character a little more to have a chocolate bottom.
Drizzle the tops with more chocolate, and spread out gently using a silicon brush, or a lightly greased finger.
Allow to come back to room temperature to the point where the chocolate hardens. Trim of any excess chocolate (optional)… then, get your twix on.