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
Popcorn balls are one of those things that never EVER cross my mind to make or even eat. I have no idea why. Even though I’m not a huge fan of eating fistfulls of popcorn, I absolutely love popcorn when it is slathered in buttery flavored sugar and shaped into a sphere! I also love that they are sweet and salty and will make you totally sick if you eat too many. :)
Plus, these things are friggin cute. Seriously… they are so easy, but you can make them look like you spent hours making them- and because of this, they make the perfect “bring along to someone else’s party” food.
Yay for caramels! I love love love caramels, but this is pretty much the only time of year I ever really make them. They are so ridiculously easy, though, that I think I should start making these all year long.
And so should you! These are ooey and gooey and have the perfect hint of cardamom… guaranteed to please.
With any candy-making, it helps to have a candy-thermometer… but for caramels, one really comes in handy. There is about a 20 minute (don’t quote me on that, because I have never actually timed it) cooking time where you don’t stir. During that time you just wait for the candy to reach the proper temperature or the proper “firm-ball” stage. So, making the caramels is easy. But, there is a lot of standing at the stove… and waiting.
If it has been a while since you have had a good caramel, or the vegan versions are just too inconvenient to purchase… just make your own! It is totally worth it. I honestly prefer these caramels to any of the store bought, non-vegan versions I remember as a kid. These are actually a veganized version of the caramels I made pre-vegan days…. and guess what? They taste exactly the same.
They are the perfect silky, but sticky, texture. And they have a nice, shall I say, “Earth Balance-y” flavor. These things are absolutely divine….