Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Pieces of layered shortbread, date caramel, and dark chocolate sprinkled with flaky sea salt.
These are absolutely AMAZING; I am not exaggerating at all. Remember the tooth-achingly sweet Twix you grew up with? These are the grown-up, sophisticated version of them. These are bars of deep and velvety dark chocolate, smooth, nutty date caramel, and soft, chewy shortbread. These are the real deal. And they're vegan and gluten-free, so allergies (other than to nuts) are no excuse not to make them!
This recipe is an adaptation and a combination of Ambitious Kitchen's Healthy Peanut Butter Twix recipe and Food52's vegan caramel. Click these links to see their original recipes; I will note any changes I made below.
Layer 1: The Shortbread
I followed AK's recipe but subbed evo for coconut oil and halved the maple syrup. My plan was for these bars to have a pretty sweet caramel, and I didn't want the cookie to add too strong of a maple flavor or sweetness to the final bar.
Layer 2: The Caramel
Time for the food processor [low-key my favorite kitchen appliance (in case you were curious)]. I made my own almond butter by first processing a heaping 1/4 c of roasted almonds with some of the evo (again, I subbed evo for coconut oil). I also recommend softening your date/s in some warm water to make them easier to process and evenly incorporate into the caramel.
Layer 2.5 (?): The Toasted Bits
For some extra crunch, I added some toasted slivered almonds in between the caramel and chocolate layers. If you choose to toast them yourself, keep an eye on them; they can burn really easily since they're so thin! If you don't have slivered almonds, you can definitely chop up some roasted nuts of choice, though it will probably be difficult to achieve a smooth finish on top of your final bars.
Layer 3: The Chocolate
I'm a big fan of real dark chocolate. By real, I mean 100%, no sugar added dark chocolate. However, I completely recognize that most people cannot handle that level of bitterness, so I recommend using 72-86% dark chocolate if you're looking for a more tolerable bitterness. Also, remember: the chocolate is layered on top of a sweet caramel and shortbread cookie! Everything balances out, so don't be afraid to go a little darker than you normally might!
Top It Off
Sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top of the melted chocolate layer; make sure the chocolate hasn't set yet so the salt sticks! This bar is all about achieving a balance of sweetness, bitterness, and saltiness, so the addition of sea salt really ties all of the layers together!
Cool & Enjoy
Place these in the fridge till firm (anywhere from about 30 minutes to an hour) and store in the fridge or freezer. You may cut it into little rectangular bars like typical Twix or just break it into pieces; totally up to you! If you choose to cut them into rectangles, be sure that the completed bar is firm but not frozen so that you may cleanly and evenly cut the chocolate.
Keep in the fridge for about a week or freeze for up to 1 month.