It hasn't been easy and her challenging journey isn't over yet but in true awe-inspiring fashion, she met a recent bleak medical prognosis determined to "spend the summer happy, not sad". Part of that happiness was celebrating her Sweet 16 milestone and that we did. When I asked Maria what I could bring to the party (because you know I'm incapable of showing up anywhere empty-handed - it's just not Filipino), I was glad to hear Zoe's favorite candy was Twix bars. Because when I had first made homemade Twix brownie bars, I had sent a care package of them to Maria and her family and it sounded like they went over well. So I went back to that confection to bring to the party.
Top row: Naked Twix Bars
Middle row, left: Toffee Cookies (later blog post coming shortly)
Bottom row, right: Buttery Toffee Cookies
I did mix it up a bit though and while I used the same shortbread base and same recipe for the caramel layer, I tried out this new brownie recipe. The original recipe is enough for a 9 x 13 pan but I was only making an 8-inch pan so I cut the ingredients in half. Taste-wise and texture-wise, I liked this brownie recipe better than the one I used earlier. However, it made a thicker brownie than the other recipe so it made for bigger "Twix" bars. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing but enrobing in melted chocolate was a bit more problematic as not all of the rectangular pieces wanted to behave and remain upright while being enrobed. It didn't help that it was warm in my kitchen, almost too warm to work successfully with chocolate. I ended up enrobing only a few pieces to chill and set in the fridge and let the others remain naked. Not just because the chocolate was a pain to work with in warm weather but also because I was running late for church and ran out of time to enrobe them all.
|The enrobed version|
|One of the dessert tables|
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Line an 8-inch pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cookie spray. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Make the shortbread layer and bake for 20 minutes until golden.
2. For the brownies: melt the butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over very low heat; stir well and set aside to cool.
3. Whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
4. Pour the melted chocolate-butter mixture into a large mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the sugar and vanilla. Stir in the sifted mixture, mixing just until the particles of flour have been absorbed.
5. Pour and scrape the batter over the hot shortbread crust.
6. Bake the brownies on the middle-level rack of the oven for 25 minutes (for a very fudgy brownie, bake for 20 minutes).
7. Cool the brownie cake in the pan on a rack until it reached room temperature, about 2 hours. Cover with the caramel layer and let set. Cut into small-ish, thin rectangles. Enrobe in melted milk chocolate.