Chocolate Candy Cross Contamination
With a peanut allergy, there are lots of friendly options, BUT it usually doesn’t include any of the chocolate-related variety. Luckily, we have been able to finagle our way to acquiring Canadian Kit Kats that not only are peanut allergy friendly, but emphasize it with the little no peanut sign on the package. Here in Arizona, pretty much all chocolate variety candies and candy bars are cross-contaminated or straight up have peanut or peanut butter in them.
I love Twix. As a food allergy parent, many can relate to that feeling of wanting to see the joy in their child as they experience the same food that they have enjoyed. I am a major foodie. I love savory foods, but I really love desserts and treats. I love making food, and I love enjoying food, but more than anything – I love watching others enjoy food that we find or create. Do you get me? Know that feeling?
Cookies, Caramel and Chocolate – Oh My!
My peanut allergic kiddo loves cookies, loves caramel and loves chocolate. So I knew he would love these Twix Cookie Bars! I personally haven’t tried them with gluten free flour – YET, but I do plan to let you know how that works out as my husband is gluten free.
Caramel Tips & Tricks
I will say that the caramel can be tricky if you have never made candy before. Sometimes weather and altitude can be the devil when making any candy, especially caramel. I didn’t use a candy thermometer, but here are some tips you can try:
- I melted the sugar and butter together first, before adding the sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and vanilla
- I began my timer as soon as the caramel started boiling around the edges, not when there was a full boil all around (had I done that I may have turned it into toffee instead of caramel)
- I continuously stir while boiling, so that none of the caramel burns and creates bits of dark brown in the mixture.
- I timed the boil for exactly 5 minutes from first sign of boiling until end of timer.
- Look for a milky golden color and that the butter/sugar mixture has completely combined with the milk/corn syrup/vanilla.
- I stir my caramel with a rubber spatula, and when I am able to drag the spatula through the mixture and it holds slightly before coming together again, that’s also a sign that it’s achieved the right temperature.
- The caramel will be seem “runny”, but as you continue to stir it once removed from heat (a few minutes), you will see it began to thicken
- After pouring onto cooled shortbread, place in freezer for a few minutes to help it set-up
Twix Cookie Bars
- 3/4 C butter room temperature
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 1/4 C flour
- 1/2 C butter
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 2 T corn syrup
- 1/2 C sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Bag 10-12 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 1 tsp vegetable oil or shortening
Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 (2 qt) glass baking dish. Whisk the sugar and flour together. Cut in the 3/4 C (12 T) room temperature butter, with a fork, knife or pastry blender. Spray hands with cooking spray to avoid mixture sticking to hands (optional but helpful). Press shortbread mixture evenly on bottom of glass baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely before adding caramel layer. You could prepare this layer the day before to save time the following day.
Melt on medium low heat, butter and sugar, stirring well. Once completely melted, add the corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Raise temperature to medium and bring mixture to a boil while stirring consistently. Once it begins to boil start a timer for 5 minutes. Continue to stir while boil also increases. See tips above. Turn heat off, remove pan from burner and continue to stir for a few minutes. The mixture should hold together, but be “pourable”. Pour onto cooled cookie layer and spread evenly. The caramel can take 20-30 minutes to set. You can speed up this process by placing in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Once set, remove and set on counter top to prepare for chocolate layer.
Using a double boiler, or microwave, combine the chocolate chips and vegetable oil (or shortening), heat and stir til smooth. Pour over caramel layer, and let set up. You can speed this process along by placing in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. I get a serrated knife and cut into 25 bars (5 rows, 5 columns), immediately after removing from the freezer, and that helps me get a nice clean cut.