Fifteen Spatulas

Homemade Twix Bars, In Memory of the Children

homemade versions of twix bars, made from scratch
I still feel sad about Friday’s tragedy. I don’t have children yet, but I know how precious children are.

When I lived in Georgia, my friend Jaqie and her son Hika would come over to my house for “cooking days.” A few days before each one, Jaqie and I would hop on our computers, peruse through Pinterest, and pick out a bunch of recipes to make. Then they would come over and we would spend hours cooking together, smiling, laughing, and enjoying one of the most wonderful comforts and pleasures of life I know…cooking.

Until I cooked with Jaqie and her adorable 4 year old son, I had never experienced the magic, joy, and excitement that children bring to the kitchen.

Still fresh in my mind are images of Jaqie and her son rolling out cookie dough, where she would gently lift his tiny hands, place them on top of the rolling pin, rest her hands gently on his, and together, slowly roll the dough out on the countertop.

Still fresh in my mind are images of Jaqie lifting Hika up to the counter, and letting him push the “pulse” button of the food processor, where I could see his eyes widen as a tornado of nuts flew “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” up into the air.

Still fresh in my mind are images of Hika peering through the glass oven door at a tray of cookies, then standing aside as the timer went off, staring in amazement at the cookies as they traveled from the oven to the countertop, making what I have concluded is some wordless version of “OH BABY. I’m hungry. Please feed me some of that. I helped, you know.”

shortbread with dulce de leche for homemade twix bars
Still fresh in my mind are memories of Jaqie, Hika, and I sitting at the table with our plates of food, Jaqie and I indulging in our lady conversations and munching on our afternoon’s labors…which weren’t even really labors at all. I always looked forward to those cooking days so much. It was just fun, spending time together, making wonderful food, and enjoying it all in each other’s company.

You see, cooking is not just about “food tastes good and I need to survive.” To me, cooking, whether for yourself or for others, is and always has been a form of love. It has always brought people together…holidays, parties…even just 6 o’clock dinner around the table. When I make a meal, my husband and I tune out the hustle and bustle of our world, sit down together with cell phones far away, and enjoy each other’s company and the food. These moments, which some may see as rather ordinary, are special to me.

shortbread, dulce de leche, and chocolate for twix bars recipe
One thing I have heard from parents is that children make you see the world through a different angle. From what I’ve seen just in the kitchen with Jaqie and Hika, it’s easy to see how this is true. I hope and pray that at least one of my children will love being in the kitchen with me, because it is and always will be my favorite place in the whole world. And I can’t wait to share more moments like this with my own children, and treasure those moments forever and ever. It breaks my heart that there are parents who have experienced these moments with their children, but won’t be able to anymore.

shortbread and dulce de leche drizzled with chocolate for homemade twix

On Saturday I wanted to make something that reminded me of my childhood. Something that I know children love. Many of my friends love to make peanut butter cups with their kids, and I imagine they will love making these homemade Twix bars just the same.

I hope each and every day you find some time to spend with the people you love, whether it be at the dinner table, at the park, or huddled around a board game.

May each victim rest in peace, and I send my love and prayers to everyone affected by this tragedy.

Homemade Twix Bars

Yield: 8x8 pan


For the shortbread:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 oz (1 cup) flour
For the caramel filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 tbsp)
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate glaze:
12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegetable oil
sea salt for sprinkling, if desired


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.

Start with the shortbread, and cream together the butter and sugar until there isn't any more loose sugar, and it has been incorporated into the butter. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. Slowly add the flour and stop mixing once the flour has disappeared. The dough will be sticky, so use floured fingers to press the dough out into a parchment paper lined 8x8 pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the shortbread is golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Next make the caramel by melting the sugar and butter together in a saucepan. Once melted, add the sweetened condensed milk. Constantly stirring (this stuff will burn very easily if not stirred), bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low, set the timer for 5 minutes, and stir constantly, making sure to reach into the corners with a spatula. The mixture will thicken and turn light brown. Pour the mixture over the shortbread, then let this cool on a wire rack until the caramel firms up, then use a knife to cut into long strips, then cut each strip into thirds.

Melt the chocolate (read this article if you don't know how), and stir in the vegetable oil until incorporated (this makes the chocolate more pourable and spreadable). Pour it over the bars, and use a knife to spread it evenly across the top and sides. Sprinkle the tops with sea salt if desired, and let the chocolate harden. Enjoy!


17 comments on “Homemade Twix Bars, In Memory of the Children

  1. What a well written post! The Twix are perfect, and I know that my son would love making and eating these with me.

    • Thanks Erin! I saw your comment on FB about whether or not you were going to go with the graphic. I was going to…but it felt better to write something. I’m glad you enjoyed the post =)

  2. This is such a beautiful sentiment. I was terribly hurt and still am about the news of so many precious children having their lives taken away. I thank you for sharing this recipe and your beautiful words.

  3. Thank-you, for sharing your heartfelt sentiment and kitchen memories of time well spent with Hiku and his mom.
    Held dear to my heart are kitchen memories of baking at a young age with my mom and cooking with my dad. As an adult and momma myself I have wisely invested in kitchen time with my own precious children.
    My youngest daughter and I will make your Twix bars to add to our cookie/candy gifts for friends and family. We will likely be called to make a pan for ourselves as well. It is my wish parents and family, friends and the world at large will remember to hold dear the treasures we have in our children.

    • That is wonderful, both that you have those memories and have spent that time with your children. I hope you have fun making the Twix bars!

      • We are making the Twix today.
        We will prayer for the school and entire community for peace one day. I dont know how to comprehend tragedy as those sad sad events.
        Ive encouraged my children to talk and share their feelings about the events that unfolded last week. Ive also shut off news channel….Kitchens are the heart of the home.

  4. The tragedy touched everybody in this planet. I’m in Peru and when heard about that terrible thing I can’t stop thinking on those little boys and girls, innocent souls…and of course the teachers, temporal mothers for our kids when they are at school.
    This is a great post Joanne, for all of them.

  5. What a very sweet tribute to those children, and everyone’s childhood. And for the first time, that’s not a pun – but the truth. Thanks Joanne!

  6. so glad to find your blog. This is such a beautiful blog and i could not even imagine the pain and sorrow the CT family is going through right now.

  7. A lovely tribute Joanne. It is just so heartbreaking. I still cannot wrap my head around what happened.

  8. Before, I was sort of trying to ignore the Conneticut tragedy…I know that sounds horrible, but with all of the bad news that always seems to be going around, I try to distance myself from them. But after reading this post, I feel really bad about that. Those kids very well could have been my school, my friends, or myself (I’m in seventh grade) and I’ll admit it, I was near about crying at the computer screen as I read this lovely post. Thank you so much for you tribute to these children.

  9. I have no idea why but I just got 4 posts all at once from you in my Reader. Including this touching one – and of course, I love Twix! These are gorgeous!

  10. Oh my! I’m saving this recipe. I specially love that all the components are made from scratch. Great job!

  11. I made these tonight. I am waiting for the caramel to firm. I just have a few questions.
    How long did you let the shortbread mix cool for?
    And what about the caramel?
    Could I place these in the fridge to let the caramel firm and then back in the fridge again after I pour the chocolate on?
    One more question. If I wanted a bottom layer how much chocolate could I melt?
    Thanks so much for this recipe and I am sure this is going to be yummy. I found a ton of recipes online but most used crackers or shortbread cookies and I try to use the cleanest simplest recipes. :)

    • Hi Veronica, you’re just cooling the shortbread and caramel until cool to the touch. And yes, chilling the caramel in the fridge is fine and will speed it along. As far as a bottom layer of chocolate, you’d have to dip the finished bar later because otherwise you can’t bake the rest of the bar. One 12 bag of chips would definitely be enough, depending on how thick you want it.

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