This might be surprising given the name of my blog, but I rarely buy commercial candy.
For one thing, I already eat way too much candy as a result of my other job, and some days I fear that my tombstone will read, “Here lies Elizabeth. She really should have stopped after 12 truffles.”
For another, most mainstream commercial candy just isn’t that exciting to me. I mean, I’m not mad at Snickers bars, but I’d rather spend several hundred calories eating a big ole moderately sized slice of cake instead.
Plus, I’m kind of a picky jerk, and most bars just aren’t quite right. Not enough nuts, or grainy caramel, or what’s the deal with all the nougat? I always wish they were tweaked just a little, and pretty soon I find I’ve spent all my time thinking about what I’d change, instead of simply enjoying the candy.
When I do reach for a candy bar, my two favorites are Twix and Kit Kats. (I especially love the dark chocolate versions of both. Why must they only be in limited editions?) Rather than suffer from one more mediocre bar, I decided to do my best Dr. Frankenstein impression and join these two together in one homemade uber-bar. With a base of cream-filled wafer cookies, and a topping of soft caramel, they’re pretty much my ideal candy bar.
Oh, and did I mention that one batch makes 18 candies? Allow me to revise my tombstone:
“Here lies Elizabeth. No one said you had to eat the entire 18-candy batch yourself.”
I love the combination of crispy, chocolate cream-filled wafers and soft and chewy caramel. Just because these are my ideal candy bars doesn’t mean that they’re yours, however, so feel free to get creative. Stir some chopped peanuts into the caramel layer, or sprinkle the top with toffee bits or crushed pretzels. Or all of the above! Dr. Frankenstein didn’t take orders from anyone, and neither should you. Just get to the kitchen and make your perfect candy bars like a boss.
Once you’re done making them, I suggest dressing them up in some fancy paper, a bit of string, and gifting a few to a friend. Not just because you’ll need to get rid of some lest your tombstone ends up looking like mine, but also because I think candy bars are the perfect gifting food. They’re already tidy, pre-portioned, and the perfect serving size, and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t appreciate some impromptu candy bar love.
Recipe notes: Quick and easy is the goal with this recipe, but if you want to devote a little more time, you can make the caramel yourself and use real chocolate. To make the caramel, I recommend using the recipe from my Caramel Shortbread Squares. And if you’re using real chocolate, you’ll probably want to temper it to get a nice shine and hard snap.
Twix Kat Candy Bars
yield: 18 candy bars
14 oz soft caramels
2 tbsp heavy cream
18 cream-filled sugar wafer cookies, about 1 inch wide and 4 inches long
1 1/2 lbs chocolate candy coating (I like Merckens)
Line a 9×9-inch pan with foil extending up the sides, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
If the caramels are individually wrapped, unwrap them. Combine the caramels and the cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring well after every 30 seconds. They may resist melting and coming together at first, but continue to stir and heat until you have a smooth mixture.
Pour the caramels into the pan and spread them into a thin, even layer. Let it cool for a bit, and then when it is still a little soft, press the wafers into the top of the caramel. I was able to make two rows of nine wafers, but yours may vary slightly depending on the size of the cookies you use. Refrigerate the tray until the caramel layer is firm.
When the caramel is firm, place the candy coating in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds, until it is melted and smooth. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.
Remove the candy bars from the pan using the foil as handles. Use a large sharp knife to cut each bar apart, trimming off any excess caramel or uneven edges.
Dip a pastry brush in the coating, and paint the tops of the wafers with melted coating. Once all of them have a thin layer of coating painted on, refrigerate them briefly to set the coating—this should only take about 5 minutes.
Once set, take a candy bar and turn it upside down, so that the wafer layer is on the bottom. Balance it on a slotted spatula above the bowl of coating, and use a spoon to pour coating over the top of the bars, making sure it covers the sides completely. (The bottom is already painted with coating, so you don’t need to worry about that. Yay!) Let the excess drip back into the bowl. Use dipping tools or a small offset spatula to take the bar off of the slotted spatula, scrape the bottom against the lip of the bowl to remove any more excess coating, then place the bar back on the covered baking sheet. Repeat until all of the bars are dipped, re-warming the coating in the microwave if necessary. Let the coating set completely. Store Twix Kats in an airtight container at room temperature.
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