You’ve probably seen them before on Pinterest — those pins for candy bar recipes that supposedly taste just like the real thing. Maybe, like me, you’ve even pinned them in hopes of trying one out someday. Well, my curiosity (and my sweet tooth) finally got the best of me and I was ready to try my own candy bar taste test. Would it be worth my time and effort, or would it turn out like my infamous marshmallow-making attempt a couple of years ago — a good idea in theory, but a culinary catastrophe in real life? (My poor hand mixer still holds a grudge — and probably some marshmallow goo — to this day.) I decided to start with Twix because it’s one of my favorite candy bars, right up there with Kit Kat.
The particular recipe I chose (you can find the full version at Yammie’s Noshery) appeared to be one of the more popular ones on Pinterest with 109 repins. However, there was only one comment on the blog post itself, which could be an indicator that not many people have actually tried it out yet.
Here are the ingredients called for in the recipe, which I followed to a T. Nothing too crazy here. In fact, most of these items are pantry (or refrigerator) staples. As you can also see, I started promptly at 7:00.
½ cup butter
¼ cup sugar
1 cup flour
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
The first step was to make the shortbread cookie base, which consists of sugar, butter, and flour. This part went pretty smoothly.
Next was the caramel, which starts out with melting corn syrup and sugar together. At first it was just a big white, grainy glob and I got a little nervous wondering if it would ever begin to resemble anything like caramel. But finally, it did start to melt and spread out in the pan. Patience is key here. After at least 10 or 15 minutes on low-medium heat, it turned into the desired amber color (or at least what I hoped was the desired color). I then added the heavy cream, salt, and vanilla as the recipe stated. In the end, it definitely looked (and tasted) like caramel. So far so good.
I let the shortbread cool off after taking it out of the oven (which was around 8:00, because I forgot to preheat the oven), then spread the caramel on top and put the dish in the fridge to set up for awhile.
The following steps are optional at this point:
1) Eat a salad for dinner so you don’t feel so bad about chowing down on homemade Twix later.
2) Run to the convenience store to buy a real Twix so you can do a legitimate taste test. (Then, regret going to the convenience store to buy a single candy bar, because it’s kind of a rip-off.)
After the caramel had hardened up, I melted the chocolate chips and spread them over the top.
Then it was back in the fridge once again. All in all, from the time I started to the time I was able to sink my teeth into the Twix, three hours had passed. That, my friends, is a long time to wait for a Twix. Which brings me to the question on everyone’s mind: Is it worth it?
I took a bite of the real Twix first (savoring it for awhile), and then my version. Surprisingly, the homemade one was pretty tasty. However, there were some distinct differences. You could really taste the butter in the shortbread, and the flavor of the caramel seemed to overpower the other flavors. Plus, the caramel in the homemade version had hardened up quite a bit in the fridge, making it almost toffee-like (not that that’s a bad thing). If you like the “crunchier” caramel, just keep them in the fridge all the time. If you’d rather have it softer and slightly more Twix-like, take them back out of the fridge and leave at room temperature.
Overall, it was a valiant effort—better than I expected—but I really don’t think anything can compare to the taste, texture, and flavor balance of the real thing. If you have a lot of time on your hands, a passion for baking, and plenty of people to share with, then by all means give the DIY version a shot. But if you’re a true Twix lover who prefers instant gratification (and a sink that’s not full of dirty dishes), it’s probably best to stay out of the kitchen and hit up the candy aisle instead.
Tell us, would you attempt the homemade candy bar taste test? Have you already? Sound off in the comments!
Amanda Dolechek is a Kansas native who graduated from Kansas State University in 2006 with a degree in Human Ecology & Mass Communications. Currently a marketing writer/editor for a worldwide company based in Wichita, KS, she also writes for fun on her DIY blog, Little House on the Corner. When not typing away at the keyboard, she can be found walking her two dogs with her husband, trying out a new recipe, perusing clearance racks for a great bargain, planning her next vacation, or indulging in reality TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor. You can find more of her musings on Twitter @adolechek.