recipes

RECIPE Make Your Own Twix Bars

I have a sweet tooth. I’ve had one since I was a child, it got worse as a teenager and worse still as an adult. One of the nice parts about being an adult though is that I have my own kitchen and can produce candy for myself in far larger batches and portion sizes without having to leave the house and deal with humans on the days when people are probably the last thing I want to navigate.

One of my great candy loves is the Twix bar. Eating one reminds me of coming home from seeing the pediatrician, because my mother would always get me one when there were antibiotics to pickup at the pharmacy. It was the “you can eat this when you’re feeling up to it” treat, and it always marked the end of one month or another of bronchitis or strep throat or whatever I had managed to acquire.

I made my first batch of Twix bars while drunk and slightly high on pills. They turned out more like a Twix sheetcake, but I didn’t complain. However, I didn’t take any notes as to how I made them. Those notes (which became this recipe) came later when I made them a third time.

The Ingredients

Shortbread Layer:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon salt

Caramel Layer
2 cups caramel
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Layer
3 cups chopped milk chocolate or dark chocolate, melted
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (optional)

The Person Layer
1 beverage of choice

A Twix is a sandwich candy, so it’s a trio of layers. We’re going to start with the shortbread.

The How-To

  1. Get your oven to 300 degrees F. If you’re like any of my friends, take the pans out first. It’s an oven, not a second drying rack for the three pots you have, guys. C’mon.
  2. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. With a piece of parchment paper, line a 9″ x 13″ pan. If you’ve got a shitty pan, spray the parchment.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour (GO SLOW AND MAKE SURE THE 2 CUP MEASUREMENT IS ACCURATE, THIS IS NOT A CASE WHERE ‘A LITTLE MORE WON’T HURT’) and salt. Mixture will be dry but will come together after mixing. The consistency you’re looking for is sort of between thick frosting and the good wet sand for sandcastles. It won’t start that way, but keep beating until it does.
  4. This is where you open your beverage of choice and have some. SOME, NOT ALL. We’re about to go do things with fire and sugar, so don’t go overboard. Just have a third. God, I can’t take you anywhere.
  5. Press the dough into the pan. This does not need to be super pressed tight because you still have to get this stuff out of the pan when it’s done, but try and get the dough in an even distribution across the pan. If you have lumps and ridges, call them artisanal.
  6. Take a fork and poke holes evenly spaced throughout the whole pressed-in dough. DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS. If you need to tell yourself that you’re doing this so that you have little divots for caramel and chocolate, do that. This is going to help the dough turn into the dough you expect in a Twix. I like to do this methodically and pretty uniformly, though I didn’t always and my previous Twix bars were awful for it.
  7. Get this pan in the oven about 37 to 42 minutes, until it’s a very pleasant golden brown color. In my old oven it was either 39 or 41 minutes, in my new oven it’s 37.  When the time’s up, take the pan out of the oven (it’s gonna be hot, use a potholder, don’t be a savage) and immediately take a sharp knife and trace the shortbread’s perimeter. This is going to make it easier later. Don’t worry about cutting the parchment paper, you’re not going to eat it (RIGHT, YOU KNOW NOT TO EAT THE PAPER, YES?). Get the bread away from the pan’s edges. Then let it cool. It can hang out on the counter or something. Let’s go play with fire and sugar.
  8. Take two bags of soft caramels (yes, you can use the kind you can impulse buy at the checkout line in CVS, I use the caramel bits from Kraft) and dump them into a decent pot you’d make soup in with the cream (SPRAY POT WITH NON-STICK PAM FIRST OTHERWISE YOU WILL HAVE TO CLEAN THE POT LATER). Start the temperature at low and work it up to almost medium (DO NOT GO TO MEDIUM), and using a nice silicon spatula, stir this together until it melts. Yes, you can make your caramels from scratch if you want to break out the sugar and karo, but dude I want some Twix bars sooner rather than later, and I don’t want to do that many dishes. You want to keep stirring until it’s sticky and all melted. DO NOT PUT YOUR FINGER IN TO TEST IT, IT’S HOT.Yes, you can also melt this in a microwave in 25-second bursts.
  9. When you’re satisfied with its melted state, pour the caramel over the shortbread. Use your spatula to get all the caramel out. Make sure the caramel is also evenly covering the shortbread, then get the whole thing in the fridge to firm up. This is gonna take about as long as 1 episode of any non-sitcom on Netflix (figure 43-48 minutes)
  10. Once firm, take it out of the fridge and using a sharp knife, cut the pieces into the Twix bar shape or whatever shape you . No, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Yes, you can take them out of the pan after you cut the bars but you don’t have to (see next step)
  11. In a method similar to when we made caramel, melt the chocolate. And then we have a choice to make:If you want to dip the bars, use tongs and dip each bar in the melted chocolate, then get it on a cookie sheet or back in the pan to freeze.

    If you just want to pour the chocolate over the bars while they hang out in the pan THEN cut them, that works too. Either way, get the chocolate all over your bars.

  12. Here’s the tough part. Get this back in the fridge for AT LEAST 2-4 episodes of whatever you’re watching. Ideally it’s 3 hours minimum, and I’ve had good luck with 4.  Finish your beverage if you haven’t already.
  13. Eat them after they are nice and cold and Twix-y.

And that my good friends, is how John makes Twix bars.

Posted by johnadamus in feasting horn, recipes, 0 comments

Things You Can Do To Steak

Hi, I’m an omnivore. I believe passionately and vocally that humans are on top of the food chain and the point of eating is to fuel our bodies, and that meals are the truest divine experience possible – food is love, and you share it and you put it in you.

I understand that many people have other viewpoints, most of which I disagree with or find speciously supported through assumptions. But hey, if you don’t like meat, you don’t like meat. Skip this blog post and we’ll catch up later.

But now, here, have two meals that will knock peoples’ socks off:

Steak with Bordelaise Sauce

INGREDIENTS
1 cup red wine (No I don’t care what kind, I’d recommend you use the same stuff you’d drink with this meal — If you don’t drink wine, I’ll point out you can have a beer with this meal)
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 shallots, finely diced (they come in bundles usually, get 1 bundle, use 2 shallots from the bundle. Save the rest for making recipes fancy by using 1 in place of an onion)
1 bay leaf
6 tbsp. Demi-Glace (for now, you’re going to buy this in a store. Later, I will show you how to make this)
Steak! I don’t care what kind of steak, but let’s assume you’re cooking for 2, so get a decent pair of filets or ribeyes or something thicker than skirt and ideally with the word “Choice” on the label.

** I’m assuming you’re going to make this meal to impress someone, so let’s say you spend that extra money you were going to spend on porn in case your date didn’t work out and buy 2 filet mignon **

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

INSTRUCTIONS

Before you start – Heat your oven to 500° F

1. Make the sauce: In a 2-quart. saucepan (you may recognize this as the thing you make soup in), combine wine, thyme, shallots, and bay leaf. Reduce wine over medium-high heat until almost completely evaporated (that means look for steam and it should smell like wine). Discard the thyme and bay leaf; stir in demi-glace. Yes, it’s supposed to look shiny. Yes, it can be a little thick. If it’s watery or not shiny, you need to keep cooking it down. You can test this by putting a spoon in it, then watching it drip off the back. Does it look like Nyquil? Awesome. Cover it, remove from the heat, and set it aside.

2. Prepare the filets: Season filets with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 10″ skillet (that pan you use every time) over high heat. Sear steaks, flipping once, until browned, 4 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven; roast until steaks are medium rare, 4–5 minutes if your oven is fickle. Place steaks on a plate; let rest.Take a piece of aluminum foil and cover the plate loosely. Leave them alone. They’re fine. Don’t poke them. Just let them sit there.

3. THIS STEP IS GOING TO REQUIRE YOU TO PICK UP A POT IN ONE HAND AND USE YOUR OTHER TO STIR. THAT POT IS GONNA BE HOT. BE CAREFUL. Let’s sauce the steak: Put the saucepan back on medium heat. Whisk in butter (that means either use a wisk or a fork, let’s be real here – you probably have more forks than whisks). Remove saucepan from heat; stir in parsley and season sauce with salt and pepper. Transfer steaks to cutting board; add juices from plate to pan and stir. Spoon 2 tbsp. sauce onto each of the plates. Slice steaks into ¼”-thick slices; divide between plates. Sprinkle with rosemary and thyme; drizzle each steak with 1 tbsp. sauce. Serve with salad or something green on the plate so people can be proud of you, if you like.

Steak Diane

2 tbsp. canola oil
STEAK. I like 2 ribeyes for this, because you can slice them.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ cups beef stock (buy it in a carton)
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced (or take 2-ish large spoonfuls of the jarred stuff)
1 shallot, minced
4 oz. mushrooms that you’re going to cut into pieces
¼ cup cognac or brandy (this is because we’re going to do something fancy to it. This isn’t for drinking)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard (it’s gotta be Dijon. Yellow and Deli DO NOT work)
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco (or whatever you dig, but you need some)
1 tbsp. minced parsley
1 tbsp. minced chives

** mincing something means cutting it into TINY pieces, Think pencil erasers or smaller.**

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Season steaks with salt and pepper, and add to skillet; cook, turning once, until browned on both sides and cooked about 4 to 5 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer steaks to a plate, and set them aside. Take a piece of aluminum foil and cover them.

2. Return the skillet (yes we’re using the same pan) to high heat, and add stock (WARNING: This is going to hiss and smoke. Be careful. Go slow); cook it down until reduced until it’s about half gone, about 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl, and set it aside. (Also, congratulate yourself, you just deglazed something. You’re like four times cooler than anyone on Chopped.)

Return the skillet to heat, and add butter; add garlic and shallots, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes (you want them to be sort of shiny). Add the mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until they release any liquid and it evaporates and mushrooms begin to brown, about 2 more minutes.

OKAY HERE COMES THE PART YOU NEED TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT. GO GET A MATCH. TEXT SOMEONE THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO USE FIRE. MAKE SURE CHILDREN AND PETS ARE IN THE OTHER ROOM. MAKE SURE SOMEONE IS READY TO RESPOND WITH HELP IF YOU BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE. NO I AM NOT JOKING. FIRE IS COOL, BUT YOU CAN MESS YOUR SHIT UP THAT WAY. Ready? DO NOT LEAN OVER THE PAN WHILE YOU DO THIS, THAT’S HOW YOU DO BAD THINGS TO HAIR AND EYEBROWS.

Move the pan to a part of the stove not hot (like the other burner!) Add the cognac, and light with a match to flambée (you won’t need to do much, the fumes will catch. THIS WILL NOT LOOK LIKE A CAMPFIRE. THIS WILL LOOK LIKE A BIC LIGHTER); put it back on the fire and cook until the flame dies down. It won’t take long. When you don’t see fire, move to the next paragraph.

Stir in that stock you used over in step 2, the cream, Dijon, Worcestershire, and hot sauce, and then return steaks to skillet; cook, turning in sauce, until warmed through and sauce is thickened, about 4 minutes. Transfer steak to serving plates and stir parsley and chives into sauce; pour the sauce over steaks to serve.

Enjoy your food.

Posted by johnadamus in cooking, recipes, 0 comments