I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while, having made these cookies a few times last year but not ending up with a decent photo for whatever reason. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make a batch this past weekend to give to my mom for Mother’s Day (Twix is one of her all-time favorite candy bars) and finally get a decent photo to put this recipe up here on the blog.
The cookie part of these couldn’t be easier. Just make sure to chill them in the refrigerator before baking or else they won’t hold their shape during baking.
The caramel can be made one of two ways. I used to have a love-hate relationship with homemade caramel sauce, loving when it worked/yielded a perfectly smooth consistency and gave me a sense of accomplishment and hating when something threw it off and not only was the end product unusable but then I had to re-make it (either risking it again homemade-style or buying packaged caramels). This delayed the cookie filling and eating, which is all kinds of not ok.
However, I have made my homemade caramel sauce recipe below at least 12 times now and have never once had an issue with it (I’ve followed the directions explicitly to the T every time). It always leaves me with a decadently buttery, smooth and all-around magnificent caramel sauce.
So if you have the time, I have to recommend the homemade caramel sauce. At first I thought there wasn’t much of a difference in taste/texture between it and the cheat version, however after actually trying these cookies with both there is simply no comparison. With that said, however, if you don’t want to risk it with the homemade kind then feel free to do the “cheat” version and no one will ever know unless you tell them. 😉
If you are going to try the homemade caramel sauce (meaning, in particular, my recipe below, since depending on recipe certain things might be different), there are some crucial components to yield a happy ending:
- Have all of your ingredients and materials ready and next to the stove before you turn on the burner.
- Don’t scrape down the sides of the pan when the sugar crystals form (if you do, then you will end up with a sauce that has an undesirable crystallized texture). Instead, use a wet pastry brush or wet paper towel (carefully, so as to not burn yourself) to wipe the inside of the pan.
- Make sure the heat of the burner never goes above medium. Because, caramel science. If you know your stove is an over-achiever and medium on your stove equals medium-high in the real world, adjust accordingly. Never go above real world medium heat level.
- “To stir or not to stir” depends on the recipe and must be strictly adhered to (again, it affects whether the caramel ends up with a crystallized texture). With my recipe, there are times you need to stir and other times you need to just say no.
Regardless of which caramel method you go with, the most important thing to take away here is that these cookies are divine and they will be devoured by everyone who is lucky enough to get some of them.
Caramel-Filled Twix Cookies
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (slightly softened - you do not want it super soft, just so that when you touch it with your finger, it makes a slight indentation)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1+1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2+1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
For Caramel Sauce:
(see recipe notes at end of recipe to melt down packaged caramels instead)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter (cut into 6 pieces)
- 1/2 cup whipping cream/heavy cream (must be whipping cream/heavy cream! Not 1/2 and 1/2)
For Chocolate Drizzle:
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. vegetable shortening
- Whisk together the flour and salt in a small mixing bowl, then set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, stopping a few times to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Then, add in the vanilla and egg yolks and mix, stopping once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, until everything is thoroughly mixed.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly and gradually add in the flour/salt mixture and mix just until everything is thoroughly combined. Avoid over-mixing, and you may have to stop and finish mixing with a wooden spoon to get all the dry ingredients from the bottom incorporated thoroughly.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Then, scoop cookie dough out by Tbsp. (I actually use the small Oxo Good Grips Cookie Scoop found here, which holds 2 tsp. of dough, and I scoop slightly heaping scoops so it ends up being ~1 Tbsp.), roll into ball shapes and place on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Once on the baking sheet, use the back of a small measuring spoon or your thumb to make indentations in the center of each cookie (keep in mind, the wider and deeper the indentation, the more caramel will fit in!). NOTE: I like to get all the cookie dough balls onto the baking sheets first, then make the thumbprint indentations in all of them. It seems to go faster this way.*
- Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for ~60 minutes, until they have chilled and are no longer soft to the touch. After they're chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and pull one of the baking sheets out of the refrigerator.
- Once the oven is preheated, bake the cookies for ~15 minutes, until set. When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven immediately and, using the back of a small measuring spoon, press down on the indentations in the center of each cookie, as they will have flattened out during baking. Again, the deeper the indentation the more caramel you can fit in it!
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling racks to cool completely. While the cookies are cooling, make the caramel sauce.
For Caramel Sauce: *See notes below if you would rather melt down packaged caramels to make a sauce instead.*
- Begin by gathering everything, and I do mean everything, that you will need and place it next to the stove. This includes all of your ingredients (with butter already in pieces) as well as utensils. I usually have a couple of heat-resistant silicone spatulas and a pastry brush sitting in water for use, if needed, during cooking.
- Place the sugar in a medium-sized nonstick saucepan over medium heat (very important that the heat be no higher than medium) and heat, stirring constantly with a heat-resistant spatula, for ~12 minutes until sugar completely breaks down into a dark amber-colored liquid and no longer looks grainy, being careful not to let it burn (seriously, stir nonstop. If you don't, the sugar will burn and it will be ruined).
Note #1: You'll feel like you're stirring forever with nothing happening but around the 8 minute mark it'll start forming some clumps and by 10 minutes it should be almost all clumps. Everything will go very fast from there on out.
Note #2: When the mixture is all liquid, toss the spatula you've been using into the sink (it will probably have some hardened sugar on it) and quickly wipe the inside of the pan down with a wet pastry brush or wet paper towel to remove any sugar crystals that are stuck to the side (DO NOT scrape sides with spatula). If some sugar chunks from your spatula got into the liquid, keep stirring (using a new heat-resistant spatula) and they should dissolve.
- Moving very quickly, add the butter to the pan and, using your fresh heat-resistant spatula, stir nonstop and vigorously (but carefully to avoid splatter as the mixture is VERY HOT) for ~2-3 minutes until the butter is completely mixed in (butter will be separated for a while, but vigorous stirring will get it to thoroughly incorporate).
- As soon as the butter is thoroughly incorporated and your mixture is nice and thick, add the cream SLOWLY with one hand (the cream is colder than the caramel at this point and everything will splatter like crazy if added too quickly) while stirring quickly & constantly with the other, until everything is nice and smooth and thoroughly mixed (about a minute).
- As soon as the cream is mixed in and the caramel is nice and smooth, STOP STIRRING (very important) and allow to boil for 1+1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and wipe the inside of the pan again with a wet pastry brush or wet paper towel to get any remaining crystallized sugar off.
- Allow the pan to sit just until the mixture stops boiling, then immediately pour the caramel sauce into a heat-resistant container (DO NOT scrape edges of pan at all, just pour and let whatever is stuck on the pan stay there. Trust me, you don't want it). Once in the heat-resistant container, allow the sauce to sit at room temperature for 3 minutes, then add in the vanilla extract and stir in gently until thoroughly incorporated. Note: You don't want to add the vanilla in right away or else it will all boil off and also may cause the caramel to crystalize a bit. Waiting 3 minutes lets the caramel cool just enough that it's safe to add the vanilla.
- After the vanilla is mixed in, allow the caramel sauce to continue to cool at room temperature for ~5 more minutes before using. You don't want it to fully thicken or it will be hard to work with, but it definitely needs to have cooled down before use. You'll probably have more than you need for this recipe. I recommend eating the leftovers straight from the jar!
- Once the caramel has cooled enough to use, fill the cookies with it. I do this by using a 1 tsp. measuring spoon to scoop caramel and a silicone spatula to scrape the bottom so it doesn't drip, and then pouring it in the center of each cookie. This could be a bit messy if you've never worked with caramel sauce before, though. You could use a ziploc bag with an end of one corner cut off or piping bag instead if you feel more comfortable, just make sure the caramel has cooled enough so that it won't melt the bag and won't come out so fast that you can't control it. Once all the cookies are filled with caramel, allow them to sit until the caramel has completely cooled before drizzling with the chocolate drizzle.
For Chocolate Drizzle:
- When the caramel in the cookie centers has fully cooled/firmed up, make the chocolate drizzle. Melt the chocolate chips with the shortening in a small dish in the microwave in 10 second spurts, stirring between each, until completely melted and smooth. Using either a piping bag or a ziploc bag with a small end of one corner cut off (cut off the end after you put the chocolate in), drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.