Happy Hallowe’en readers! So I don’t know about you, but in all honesty my inner 12 year old still gets wide-eyed at the sight of Hallowe’en candy. In fact I snuck some from the children’s treat bowl at work yesterday (shh). What’s your favourite Hallowe’en candy?
Back in the day, after making the neighbourhood rounds on All Hallow’s, my siblings and I would form powwows in the upstairs bunk room for some after-hours Hallowe’en business. We (the witch+ghost+gypsy+black cat+fairy) would barter goods and let’s just say things got pretty serious. We learned early on not to interfere with Ghost’s Caramilk-bar demands, and that Black Cat would give up just about anything for a Reese’s…
My favourite Hallowe’en candy remains to this day as the Twix bar. Nothing beats the Twix’s perfectly balanced caramel, shortbread and chocolate taste. Yum! It also has a great crunch. I like to say that our homemade version today takes the original Nestle recipe up a notch!
The recipe is inspired by the Twix, but also inspired by the traditional Chocolate Caramel Slice bar made popular by our friends from Down Under. Last summer when I was in Sydney, I got my fair share of these beautiful bars at some of the city’s cute coffee shops and let’s just say this recipe is worth sharing!
The bars are refreshingly easy to make yet definitely turn out to be showstopper treats. The inner caramel filling features a secret ingredient to keep things simple– a can of condensed milk which is slightly caramelised and very salty. To tackle the recipe, break your project into three stages: the shortbread base, the condensed milk caramel filling and the top layer of melted dark chocolate.
AKA the Caramel Chocolate Slice
Shortbread Layer 1 cup flour 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup long flakey coconut 125 g salted butter 1 tsp vanilla
Caramel Layer 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk 2 tbsp salted butter
Chocolate Layer 12 oz bittersweet chocolate (or your choice!)
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a square (8×8) baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar and coconut. Add the butter and using a pastry cutter, break down the butter into pea and oat sized flakes. Alternately, this can be done in a food processor using the pulse function. Add the vanilla extract and use a spatula to bring the dough together. Press the shortbread mixture into the prepared baking pan. Bake the crust for 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and place the baking dish on a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.
3. Place the condensed milk and butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to boil, stirring continuously. The liquid should start becoming a darker caramel color and should thicken as you go. Cook the mixture for 12-15 minutes or until that amber caramel color is achieved. Pour the caramel over the shortbread crust and using a spatula, flatten it into an even layer. Let cool completely.
4. In a double boiler or using a glass bowl over a saucepan filled with hot, simmering water, melt the chocolate completely. Pour the chocolate layer over the caramel layer and using a spatula flatten into an even layer. Let cool at room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting. Place in the refrigerator for 1½ -2 hours. For quicker bars, place in the freezer for 1 hour.
Recipe Credit: Little Spice Jar
I hope you love your crunchy, caramel chocolate bars. If you can’t eat them all at once like your 12-year old self once could, freeze the bars in an airtight container. I did that last week, and let me tell ya they passed the freezer test (as of 1 minute ago, it’s officially been tested.)
Have a safe and awesome weekend my friends. What are you planning on getting up to for Hallowe’en Night? I am looking forward to heading to an event to hear some of my friends rock out in their string quartet with a live DJ! Woah Vancouver you are getting pretty rad. Hope you get up to no good!
PS: What are you dressing up as on the 31st? I’m going full-on creepy with a rendition of this.
PPS: I’m heading to this event at Mountainview Cemetery on Friday. Join me?
PPPS: This annoying ear worm. (Reminds me of Grade 7 French class.. the horror!)