For the next four weeks, every Sunday I’ll be featuring a dessert inspired by classic Halloween candy. Come back for some spooky inspiration for your Halloween party, hostess gifts or classroom/office treats for all of your favourite ghouls and boys.
This blog is kind of an experiment. If I had to put a Halloween spin on it, I’d say it’s kind of my Frankenstein’s monster.
I started it with the best of intentions, but sometimes, it can get out of hand. I mean, the village is more likely to eat my blog than my blog eating the village, but we’re just playing with metaphors here.
I get so excited about new recipes and new ideas and improving my photos and creating new backgrounds. I spend a lot of time thinking about it. I put a lot of pressure on myself for my work to be great and, when it doesn’t meet my expectations, I’m a little disappointed. Professional anxiety – spooOoooky!
These feelings are abundant when it comes to taking photos. Initially, I was using an iPhone. Then, I borrowed C’s nicer camera, but still used mostly automatic mode and didn’t deviate much. My photos were looking better and I was thrilled, but I knew I needed my own equipment and something a bit more professional.
This week, I invested in a nicer camera, beautiful lens that came highly recommended by some fellow food bloggers, tripod and 32GB memory card for a whole lotta photos and video.
My first photos with my camera were so disappointing. It’s the first DSLR I’ve owned and there is a bit of a learning curve. I couldn’t help but feel discouraged because, rookie mistake, I assumed a nicer camera would produce nicer photos. That is partially true, but it’s also about composing them and taking them at the right time of day and so on. I have a long way to go. Note: The photos for this post were taken using an Olympus EPL2.
As much as I want my food blog to be amazing, I want to keep the passion I started it with and not let my ambition attack my excitement, monster-like.
Now, back to food. So sorry for the detour.
Let’s talk about caramel.
This recipe was one of the most “worth-it” recipes I’ve ever made. It was a lot of effort, but the end result is to die for (this could be a spooky Halloween reference).
It combines my absolute favourite things: shortbread (using my Grammy’s recipe), salted caramel and milk chocolate. All is right with the world when you stack these things on top of each other.
This is a massive recipe, easily enough to entertain your office pals, the girls on girls night (or boys on boys night) and snack away at them when you need something sweet.
You might never go back to the original Twix. But, if you don’t have a few hours to spend stirring caramel, maybe the storebought is for you (candy bars are always delicious, homemade or not).
Stay tuned for more Halloween fun, friends. Next week – Snickers!
Salted caramel Twix bars
Makes 32 squares
Shortbread Cookie Layer
- 2 cups butter, room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 2 cups corn starch
- I used this recipe from Land o’Lakes, adding 2 teaspoons of salt. For whatever reason, my caramel took much longer to cook than this. I cooked mine on low for around three hours. Follow their directions and adjust your cooking time as needed.
- 2 cups milk chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking tin with parchment paper.
- Cream butter using a handheld or stand mixer until it is fluffy. Add flour, icing sugar and corn starch. Mix until fully incorporated. Dump the dough into your prepared baking tin and press it down until it is evenly spread throughout the pan and into the corners.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the shortbread is beige around the outside. This will take more or less time, depending on your oven. I recommend checking it at 20 minutes and again at 25. When the shortbread has that beige, golden colour around the outside, take it out and set aside to cool.
- Prepare your caramel according to this recipe, taking some extra time to get the caramel to thicken. You will know the caramel is done when it forms a pliable, but firm ball when dropped into cold water. Don’t forget to add a few pinches of salt!
- Layer the caramel on top of your shortbread cookie while it is still warm. Set aside to cool for 3o minutes to an hour.
- When the caramel is no longer piping hot, but still sticky to touch, prepare your chocolate. Melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave with coconut oil at 30 second intervals until the chocolate is liquid.
- Pour evenly over the caramel and cookie layers.
- Cool on the countertop until no longer piping hot and then finish cooling overnight, covered, in the fridge. Cut the bars into 32 pieces with a sharp knife, warming the blade under hot water for an easier cut