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Mars Twix® Caramel Cookie Bars

These rich milk chocolate candy bars with buttery shortbread and sweet soft caramel inside are just like you remember them to be. The easiest way to make the long, thin shortbread cookies for these bars is also the way they’ll look and taste most authentic. The cookie dough is very easy to roll out and slice before baking, and the same holds true for cutting the soft caramel to size. Then, all that’s left is a dip in plenty of milk chocolate topping and you will be flat-out amazed at how these really do taste like the packaged candy. The Soft Caramel for Candies can be made at least a couple of weeks ahead of time and stored well sealed in plastic wrap at room temperature. And if you’re hesitant to make your own soft caramel, you can purchase ready-made soft caramel from Chocoley.com.

Makes: About 20 candy bars

Ingredients

For the shortbread cookie:

1¾ cups gluten-free cake flour

⅛ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup granulated sugar

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 to 2 tablespoons lukewarm water

For the caramel:

Soft Caramel for Candies (see recipe below) or 1 pound premade soft caramel (available at Chocoley.com)

For the chocolate topping:

18 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

Preparation

Prepare the cookies:

1. Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, place the cake flour, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the butter and 1 tablespoon of the water, and knead until dough comes together, using a second teaspoon of water if necessary. Place the dough between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper and roll into a rectangle about ½-inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza or pastry wheel, slice into rectangles 3½- inches long and ½-inch wide. Place the rectangles 1 inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheets.

3. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, press three holes, evenly spaced apart and each about ⅛-inch deep, into the top of each dough rectangle.

4. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until just beginning to brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Prepare the caramel:

1. Roll out the caramel between two sheets of unbleached parchment paper into a rectangle about ½-inch thick. With a sharp knife or pizza or pastry wheel, cut the caramel into 3½ x ½-inch rectangles (the same size as the shortbread cookies).

2. Place one caramel rectangle on top of each cooled shortbread cookie, and press gently to adhere.

Prepare the topping:

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a large, heat-safe bowl and melt, using a double boiler (see Tip below). Allow the chocolate to sit at room temperature until it begins to thicken a bit. Immerse the caramel-topped shortbread, one at a time, in the glaze: Press down on it with the tines of a fork, then flip it gently in the chocolate. Pull the bar out of the chocolate by slipping the fork under it and bobbing it on the surface of the chocolate a few times before pulling it along the edge of the bowl and carefully placing it on a clean sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Allow the chocolate glaze to set at room temperature.

Once finished, the candy bars can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored at cool room temperature for at least 5 days. For longer storage, wrap tightly in a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature.

Tip

A double boiler is very useful for melting chocolate, which benefits tremendously from being heated slowly and indirectly, all but guaranteeing that it won’t seize or burn. If you don’t have a classic double boiler, jury-rig one by placing a small heat-safe bowl on top of a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan that holds a small amount of simmering water – just make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water. The bowl must be big enough that its lip rests on top of the edge of the saucepan without disappearing into the saucepan. Chocolate can also easily be melted in a microwave in 30-second bursts at 60% power.

From the book Gluten-Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2015

Soft Caramel for Candies

This caramel will keep quite well at room temperature for at least two weeks when wrapped tightly, as the high sugar content acts as a natural preservative. If it begins to harden, you can microwave the portion you intend to use at 50% power for 10 seconds at a time until it is softened enough to shape.

Ingredients

2 cups granulated sugar

½ cup water

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

¾ cup heavy whipping cream

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, chopped

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation

1. Line a quarter sheet (13-inches x 9-inches x 1-inch) pan with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

2. In a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan, place the sugar, water and cream of tartar and whisk to combine. Clip a candy thermometer (See Tip) to the side of the saucepan and cook, undisturbed, over medium-high heat until the sugar begins to turn amber-colored around the edges and reaches 300°F. Remove the saucepan from the heat, stir to prevent the sugar from burning, and add the cream. The mixture will bubble up quite a lot. Stir until the bubbling subsides. The sugar may seize up, but it will melt again. Add the butter, and stir to combine. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook, undisturbed, over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 245°F. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla.

3. Pour the hot caramel into the prepared pan (without scraping the bottom of the saucepan) and shake it back and forth and side to side into an even layer. Allow to sit at room temperature until set, at least 2 hours. Once cool, the caramel can be covered in plastic and stored in a cool, dry place for up to a month.

Tips

A tip when cooking sugar: slow and steady wins the race. If you raise the heat under the saucepan to speed up the cooking time, the caramel is likely to burn. And be sure to use your candy thermometer, paying careful attention to it as the temperature climbs.

From the book Gluten-Free Classic Snacks: 100 Recipes for the Brand-Name Treats You Love by Nicole Hunn. Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2015

Source : http://www.lifescript.com/food/articles/f/fun_and_delicious_gluten_free_recipes.aspx

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