You guys. These cookies. Aren’t they cute? Looking at them makes me giggle, which is easier now that they’re all gone and I’m no longer stealing away to the home office to eat them without the kids noticing. That was getting messy. Because here’s the thing: they’re SURPRISINGLY delicious. If you grew up liking Twix, you’ll love these homemade Twix cookies made with vaguely grown-up buttery shortbread cookies, creamy caramel and milk chocolate.
Plus, they adhere to my cardinal rule that food decorating needs to be easy and make a decently big impact compared to the effort you put in. What’s not to like? Trick (or treat) question: it’s ALL to like. Unless you have braces and can’t do caramel. Then we might need to talk.
You all know that I’m not a huge processed foods fan or even the type to crave sweets all that much. Give me cheese over sugar any day. They don’t call me Umami Girl for nothing. (Nope, they call me that because it’s the name I chose for myself eight years ago and now intermittently and vaguely regret.) But something about these cookies — maybe the combination of nostalgia and simple, easy to love flavors — made me more than happy to invoke the mama tax and eat my share of the leftovers after we’d packaged up the bulk of these little faces for our school’s Harvest Fest last weekend.
It could also be those sweet, pleading eyes, right? It’s my EMPATHY that made me eat them, you see?
Ooookay, I think I’d better go before this gets as awkward as some of my real-life interactions. Not much to report from that department for the past few weeks (that I know of, anyway), but at an end-of-summer event I definitely walked away from an older gentleman knowing it would be best if we never spoke again.
Talk to you soon.
Homemade Twix Cookies with Googly Eyes
I made these cookies for our school's Harvest Fest last week, and man, they were DELICIOUS. (Not including the eyeballs, of which even our 8 year old said, "These eyeballs are NOT THAT GOOD.") I don't always care all that much about the sweets that come and go for such events, but I was very happy to have a few of these little faces left over to pay the mama tax.
- 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 11-ounce packages Kraft or other similar caramels**
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 11.5-ounce packages good quality milk chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Various sizes of candy eyeballs
- Preheat oven to 325°F with a rack in the center.
- Place butter and sugar in a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer). Beat on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and beat to incorporate.
- Add the flour and stir in gently with a spatula or wooden spoon until incorporated. Gather dough into your hands and squeeze it together until it forms a ball. If you like, you can divide it into two parts, since it will roll out quite large.
- Dust work surface and rolling pin with flour and gently roll dough into a 1/4-inch thick disk. Cut into 2 to 2 1/2-inch rounds using a cookie or biscuit cutter. (I made some larger and some smaller and got about 40 cookies.) You can re-roll any scraps and use them to make a few more cookies.
- Transfer cookies to cookie sheets lined with parchment and [chill in the fridge for 15 minutes to help cookies retain their shape in the oven.]*
- Bake 12 to 16 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
- When cookies have cooled completely, make the caramel layer by melting the unwrapped caramels and the cream in a large bowl in the microwave. Your mileage may vary, but it took a couple of minutes in my microwave, during which I stopped and stirred every 30 seconds after the initial minute. When caramel is melted, place about a tablespoon (depending on cookie size) in the center of each cookie and let it spread on its own. It won't be perfectly round, but I like that some of the caramel peeks out from under the chocolate so that people understand what they're about to eat. Let caramel set before proceeding. This should happen within a few minutes.
- For the chocolate layer wash and dry the bowl used for the caramel, then melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil together in the same fashion. Spread about a tablespoon of chocolate onto each cookie. You can smooth it as much as you like. I don't always have a lot of patience for these things and thought (maybe to justify my impatience, but hey) that the texture gave the faces some cute individual personality.
- While the chocolate is still melty, place arrange the candy eyeballs. It was warm and humid the day I made these, and the chocolate took its time hardening. You can pop them in the fridge to harden in about 10 minutes, but then bring them to room temperature with a piece of parchment covering them so they don't develop a layer of condensation. Unless you prefer your cookie faces sweaty.
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