Monday, June 27, 2011

Homemade Tastes Better

I made the most amazing treat last night for the family. Since being diagnosed with food allergies, some of Ms. Thang's favorite treats have been off limits. On top of having the unfortunate soy allergy, she's also allergic to nuts. All nuts. A million kinds of candy either have nuts, or are "processed in a plant that also process tree nuts and peanuts." In real people terms, that means = off limits. She has been a trooper about the whole thing, especially after a run to the ER one night after eating some mac and cheese at a church function, but it makes me sad to see what she has to give up/avoid.

Somewhere on the interwebs I found a recipe for homemade TWIX bars. I Googled real quick to see if I could find it again, but the recipes that turned out have more ingredients than the one I used. I had printed that recipe, and it was in my folder of "Things to Try" that I keep in my kitchen. This week I found it again, and it was on my to-do list. Except that last Saturday I came down with what I am calling "The Great Plague of '11". Seriously, it was so awful I missed the last two days of school. I finally feeling better, not 100%, but far better, and yesterday I took this recipe for a spin. I'm sure some of the other recipes are better, but I'm all about "less ingredients" and easy, and this fit the bill to a tee.

They started out with a simple shortbread crust made from 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Mix together in a bowl till crumbly, then put into a 9x9 pan. They called for a glass one, I had a metal one, and greased it with some butter. Bake at 325* for 20 mins. In the meantime, in a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, 2 TBSP corn syrup (I used light) and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and when you hit boiling, reduce to low and simmer 5 mins, continuing to stir. Pour this out over the crust and let cool on your counter for about 15  minutes. After that, put it into the fridge for an hour. Don't be dumb like me and try to pick up the hot pan after you pour in the caramel because you forgot that it just came out of the fridge.  After an hour, melt the chocolate topping. The recipe called for 100 grams of Cadbury chocolate. Hershey's is the only safe chocolate that I've found so far, and what I had on hand was Hershey's dark chips. Let me tell you, after having tried these bars, I'm glad for it. The bitterness of the dark chocolate combated the sweetness of the filling, and made for an excellent bar I think semi-sweet or milk chocolate would've just been too much sweet. Really. I used 170 grams of chocolate (I have a scale), which is about half a bag and melted it in the microwave at 30 second intervals and it took about 1.5 mins. Pour the melted chocolate over the top, and let firm. After half an hour on the counter, I popped it in to the fridge for half an hour to speed it up, then cut the whole pan into strips. Butter ahead of time allowed them to pop right out, and I made 16 "bars". These were So. Very. Good.

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