Gluten free twix bars

I made these for my Aunt  who is gluten intolerant and hasn’t had a twix bar in years. So I found this recipe here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/thousand-dollar-bars-recipe
And modified it a bit. These are really great snack to share with friends and this recipe makes a lot. 

Twix Bars 

shortbread layer
1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups All-Purpose Flour (I used Pamela's gluten-free flour)

caramel layer
1 1/2 cups caramel, cut into small chunks
3 tablespoons heavy cream

chocolate layer
2 cups chopped milk chocolate or dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven 300 F. 

Beat together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add in flour and keep beating on medium speed till it all comes together. 
Butter a 9” X 13” pan or line it with parchment paper (I’ve done both now and they both work well). Then press the dough into the pan with lightly floured fingertips. Prick the crust all over with a fork to prevent air bubbles. 
Bake the crust for 35 to 45 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. 
Remove from the oven and let it cool completely before the caramel layer. 

Caramel Layer
Melt the caramel chunks with the heavy cream in a saucepan on low heat. When the caramel is smooth (free of lumps, this can take about 5 minutes or less) pour it over the cooled crust and spread out evenly. Then allow the whole thing to cool completely in the refrigerator, till the caramel is firm. This may take about 30 minutes. 

Chocolate Layer
At this step you have some choices you can choose to cut the caramel and crust layers into small strips (like the size of twix bars) or leave it in the pan. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 50 seconds then remove and stir. Put back in the microwave  for 10 second intervals till all the chocolates are melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate on top of the caramel. Or if you have cut it into strips dip them into the chocolate (you might need more chocolate if you choose to dip). 

Let cool (can take 30 minutes in the refrigerator) and cut up and serve.


Fact of the Week: April 29, 2014

California has the most National Parks in the U.S. with 9 total: Yosemite, Sequoia, Redwood, Pinnacles, Lassen, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and the Channel Islands.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies!

These add the perfect red and white coloring to any holiday dessert table. I love these because they add a rich decadent chocolate flavor with sweet cheesecake. You no longer have to choose between brownie and cheesecake! With our indecisive cultural it's always better to eliminate more choices. You can really have the best of both worlds!

1 stick (1/2 cup) Butter Melted
1 1/4 cup Sugar (1 cup for brownie and 1/4 for cheesecake) 
1/4 cup Cocoa powder
pinch of salt
5 drops red food coloring 
1 teaspoon Apple Cider vinegar
3 eggs (2 for the brownie and one for the cheesecake)
1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla (1 for brownie, 1/2 for cheesecake)  
3/4  cups flour
8oz (one packet) of cream cheese
Preheat oven to 350 F
To make brownie layer: 

Mix in the melted butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar, mixing after each addition. Whisk 2 eggs into the cocoa mix. Slowly add in the flour until lightly combined. Pour about 3/4 of the batter into a buttered or greased pan (8x8 works best for a thick brownie, but I used a slightly bigger pan and it was fine, just thinner as you can see). Set the rest aside to put on top of the cheesecake layer. 

Cheesecake Layer: 
Mix together softened Cream Cheese, 1 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla till creamed. Creamed is when it is light and fluffy in texture and smooth. Pour the mixture on top of the brownies, then add the last bit of the brownie mix on top of that. with a toothpick or butter knife mix just the top two layers together till the cream cheese is peeking through. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

Fact of the Week: April 21, 2014

Today marks the 176th birthday of naturalist, writer and advocate of U.S. forest conservation, John Muir! He founded the Sierra Club and helped establish the Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks.

Cite: Sierra Club


Fact of the Week: April 14, 2014

Today marks the 148th birthday of Anne Sullivan, the teacher of Helen Keller. She was a wonderful teacher and paved the way for education.


Fact of the Week: April 7, 2014

The middle star of Orion's sword is not actually a star but a nebula. A nebula is a place where new stars are "born".