Time consuming? Moderate
First and foremost, happy New Year! I know I've been a little MIA recently, so sorry everyone :/ I hope everyone had a good holiday season and lots of successful baking. I'm still eating Christmas cookies, ha! I've been a little baked out recently - I did make some cupcakes for New Year's and some cookies for a meeting at work. I think I'm resting up until I bake my birthday cake for a party this weekend! It's gonna be a chocolate heart attack - everything a birthday cake should be. But that'll be for a later post ;)
But anyways, onto the good stuff...onto the Twix bars!
A friend of my husbands got his US citizenship not too long ago and had a party to celebrate. I wasn't thinking about bringing anything because we lent his family folding tables, chairs, and cornhole bags. But of course, day of, I changed my mind and wanted to bring a dessert. I mean, I'm always looking for a crowd to bake for. I had to forgo showering and getting ready for the party, writing progress reports for my job, and writing an IEP to get this done. But ooooooh my they are totally worth it.
The homemade shortbread has ground rice (not rice flour) to make it extra crispy. The homemade caramel is freaking amazing and will probably be my go-to caramel recipe from now on. The chocolate on top is only enhanced by a sprinkling of sea salt. I love when everything in a recipe is homemade.
This recipe is easier done one component at a time, but if push comes to shove, you can easily make the caramel and shortbread simultaneously, but I wouldn't recommend it because it's pretty easy to lose track of checking the candy thermometer on the caramel.
yields a 13x9 inch pan
11 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground rice (process in a spice grinder or coffee grinder, sift threw a fine mesh sieve to remove chunks)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
12 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
+ sea salt to garnish.
1. Make the caramel first, it'll need to cool some anyways. Before you start, check your candy thermometer: boil water and make sure that the candy thermometer reads 212 degrees when the water boils. If it starts boiling at 202 degrees, then you'll know to subtract 10 degrees from all the temperatures mentioned. And vice versa.
2. Combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Turn on the heat, and don't stir again. It will start to bubble. When it starts to turn golden brown, stick in your candy thermometer and continue to boil until it hits 300 degrees. Remove from heat and wait for the boiling to stop (less than a minute). Add cream and whisk to combine - be careful because it will bubble up and steam a lot. Add sweetened condensed milk (you'll have 6 extra ounces of the S/C milk, I'll explain later how this didn't go to waste) and salt and mix until combined. Put back on heat and whisk continuously until it reaches 240 degrees. Remove from heat, set aside, and start making the shortbread crust.
3. Line a 13x9 inch pan with parchment or foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add flour, rice powder, and salt. Mix until combined. The mixture may be crumbly but should hold together when pressed. Press into the prepared baking pan. It will be thin. Bake for 22-27 minutes, rotating once during baking. It should be golden brown on top.
5. Pour prepared caramel over shortbread and sprinkle with sea salt. Pop into the fridge or freezer to help it set - this can take as long as 2 hours.
6. Once the shortbread and caramel have cooled, make the chocolate top. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted. Pour over caramel layer, sprinkle with more sea salt and pop it back into the fridge/freezer until set.
Don't cut into the bars until everything is cooled or you will have a runny mess. Cut into desired sizes and enjoy!
*I used the extra sweetened condensed milk in 2 ingredient ice cream, adjusting the ratio of heavy cream to account for the extra S/C milk.
From Not Without Salt.