Vegan Paleo Homemade Caramel Twix Bars
FRIENDS. I AM FREAKING OUT right now!!!
For as long as I can remember, the epitome of Christmas is spending cozy, snowy days baking all sorts of cookies and treats with my family. Without fail, we would go overboard every single year, and always have an overflowing freezer of after-dinner sweets to enjoy for months to come.
I have always had one absolute favourite recipe, which – I’m not kidding – came from a tiny, tattered, PHOTO-FREE (I know) “cookbook”. I believe it was from Company’s Company and had some riveting title along the lines of “Bars and Squares”. Hah! Regardless, we would dig it up every single year, and flip through to our treasured recipes for lemon squares, butter tart bars and my all-time favourite, chocolate toffee squares.
We affectionately referred to them as Twix bars, since they combine a shortbread layer, a caramel layer and a thick block of chocolate on top. Although I do not like to ruin a beautiful thing and am happy to indulge in my favourite treats, let’s just say the ingredient list is less than stellar (read: sweetened condensed milk and the dreaded corn syrup) and I have always, ALWAYS dreamed of making a healthier version.
I’ve tried many different times. A date caramel filling, while delicious, wasn’t quite cutting it. And a shortbread layer without real butter?! Ambitious, and tricky to pull off.
Well my friends, I am happy to finally report that after years of testing, I have NAILED it. These honestly taste exactly like the original, sugar-laden treats that I know and love. Don’t get me wrong – these are still very much a sugary, indulgent treat. But I’m thrilled to report that they happen to be grain, gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free, thanks to an almond flour shortbread base, a cashew butter caramel and a generous layer of rich homemade coconut oil chocolate on top.
Pure heaven! And to be honest, maybe one of the best treats I’ve made to date. Christmas is next week (HOW?!) and you MUST make these for your family + friends. Also, I need to give a huge shoutout to Monique from Ambitious Kitchen for the idea for the caramel. She’s the absolute best and has inspired me in my healthy baking journey from the beginning.
- 1 ¼ c. fine almond flour
- 2 tbsp. coconut flour
- 4 tbsp. coconut oil, solid (room temp)
- 3 tbsp. coconut sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ c. creamy cashew butter
- ¼ c. pure maple syrup
- ⅓ c. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ c. cacao powder
- ⅓ c. coconut oil
- 2-3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
- ½ tsp. vanilla
- Flakey sea salt, for sprinkling on top
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 square baking pan with parchment.
- Mix together all of your shortbread ingredients in a small bowl, and use a fork to incorporate the coconut oil (alternatively, you could pulse everything together in a food processor). Once you have a crumbly dough, press it firmly into the bottom of your prepared pan. Use something flat to make sure it is pressed down as much as possible. Bake for 10 mins, then remove and let it cool in the fridge or freezer.
- While the crust is baking, make your caramel by adding your coconut oil, cashew butter and maple syrup to a small saucepan over medium heat. Let the mixture bubble slightly and cook for 5 mins or so before stirring in salt and vanilla.
- When the crust has sufficiently cooled, pour the caramel overtop, then place the pan back in the freezer to set while you make the chocolate.
- To make the chocolate, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan (you can use the same one and no need to wash in between). Remove from the heat and quickly whisk in your cacao, maple, vanilla and salt. Make sure your mixture is completely smooth.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and pour your chocolate mixture overtop. Spread evenly and sprinkle with flakey sea salt, then return the pan back to the freezer and let them set for a good hour or so.
- Once sliced, make sure to store the bars in the freezer so the chocolate and caramel stay solid. ENJOY!