Not your average bar cookie. Crunchy Twix bars, pecans, bittersweet chocolate, and a homemade caramel all set over a buttery shortbread crust.
Notes: Brushing down the sides of the pan will help prevent the caramel from crystallizing. If one area of the pan begins to brown more quickly, gently swirl the pan to evenly distribute the caramel. Take care when adding the butter and cream to the caramel as it may sputter.
- Yield:makes one 8- by 8-inch pan
- Active time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total time:4 hours
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes, divided
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Table salt
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) packed light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup pecans, rough chopped
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 Twix candy bars, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
- 1/3 cup condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Line bottom and two sides of an 8- by 8- by 2-inch baking pan with foil, allowing edges to hang over the side.
Make caramel: Heat sugar, 1/2 cup water, and honey in heavy duty saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Stop stirring and brush down sides of pan with water. Cook until color resembles maple syrup (see note).
Remove from heat and immediately add butter, heavy cream, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, whisking until combined (see note). Set aside to cool completely.
As the caramel is cooling, make the crust. Pulse flour, brown sugar, pinch salt, and butter until moist crumbs form. Press into bottom of prepared pan and bake until light golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool, about 30 minutes.
Scatter pecans, chocolate, and Twix bars over the crust. Measure out 1/2 caramel and reserve. Stir condensed milk and vanilla into remaining caramel. Pour over crust. Spoon 8 teaspoons of the reserved caramel into filling (use leftover caramel for another use).
Bake until mixture is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely, about 3 hours. If bars are not set at room temperature, chill to firm. Lift bars from pan and cut into 12 pieces.