Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars

I’ve been wanting to make three different bars for awhile, but they were all so similar, and I couldn’t decide which one to make.

So I rolled them into one. Nothing beats a layered combination bar.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

Original Twix are a shortbread base, caramel middle, chocolate coating. Peanut Butter Twix are a shortbread base, peanut butter middle, chocolate coating.

Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars are a shortbread base, caramel middle, and chocolate topping, similar to Original Twix.

Tagalongs Girl Scout Cookies are a shortbread base, peanut butter middle, and chocolate topping, similar to Peanut Butter Twix.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

Trying to choose between peanut butter and caramel, and which to keep and which to skip, is like trying to choose a favorite child. You just don’t. So I used them both.

My bars are a shortbread base, peanut butter layer, salted caramel layer, and chocolate topping. Four elements, whereas the others only have three.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

The nice thing about the bars is that they’re almost no-bake, with only about 12 minutes of bake time for the crust. The remaining layers are just stirred together and poured on. No mixer needed, either.

Many times I read layered bar or layer cake recipes and I tune out because each layer has 10 ingredients, with a eggs needing to be separated and heavy cream whipped, and this bowl of ingredients folded into that, and before you know it, prep is 2 hours and you’ve got 17 bowls dirtied. There’s none of that here because I have a life. And I hate doing baking dishes.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

They’re everything I could want in a bar. So many layers of flavors and diverse textures, with peanut butter being the most pronounced of all the flavors.

The shortbread is buttery and adapted from The Best Lemon Bars. One tablespoon of corn starch keeps it a bit softer and more tender than many shortbreads, which can be dry and dog biscuit-like. Although it has some snap, it’s not brittle. The last thing I wanted was this crust cracking upon slicing. I despise that.

But I loved this crust and I’m not usually a crust girl.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

The peanut butter layer is dense yet fluffy, thanks to confectioners’ sugar stirred in, which adds sweetness and lightness. It also makes spreading this layer a royal pain. Just keep finessing it and take your time so you don’t rip up the shortbread layer, and it’ll all smooth out.

Little sacrifices in the name of peanut butter are always worth it.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

I adore caramel for it’s rich, buttery, sweet ways and used Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce, which is what I used in the Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies. I didn’t want to be bothered with unwrapping and melting caramels. You could make (Dark Rum) Caramel Sauce or 5-Minute Microwave Caramel Sauce.

Any thick, dense, good-quality caramel sauce will do. Don’t use a thin ice cream sundae topping, many of which aren’t even real caramel sauce. It will spread and run too much.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies averiecooks.com

I just love the gooey factor the caramel lends as I’m biting through the layers. It makes the bars messy to slice, but the best things in life are often a little messy. Or a lot messy.

However, if you keep them refrigerated, there is very little caramel splooge-out, much less than what the photos show. We were having a fluke-ish 92F hot snap in San Diego the day I decided to make these and they were sitting in a very warm house for hours. I have a knack for making melt-prone desserts on the hottest of days.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

The chocolate ties everything together and rounds out all the flavors. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, and although Twix are made with milk chocolate, I wanted something a bit darker than milk, just not too dark. Not the time for a 72% Pound Plus Bar.

I used a smidgeon of shortening with the chocolate chips, which helps prevent the chocolate from cracking when slicing. I never want a Nanaimo Bars cracked-top repeat.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

The bars hit just about every note in the my Preferred Desserts Playbook. Buttery, snappy, creamy, smooth, peanut buttery, dense, rich, gooey, velvety, and chocolaty.

They’re like a marriage of Peanut Butter Twix and Tagalongs, in bar form.

My husband remarked, “Wow. Those things are deadly good” and they are. They’re also deeply satisfying and you can literally feel the richness hit your belly after just a couple bites.

Which is why I purposely kept the batch size small.

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars averiecooks.com

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars - DIY Twix Bars with a layer of peanut butter & just dripping with salted caramel!

Print Print Recipe

Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars

I combined three favorite recipes - Twix, Tagalongs Girl Scout Cookies, and Millionaire's Shortbread in this these nearly no-bake, easy, four-layer bars. There's buttery shortbread, rich and dense peanut butter, sweet and intense caramel, and smooth dark chocolate. They hit all my favorite elements of a dessert all in one. Buttery, snappy, creamy, smooth, peanut buttery, dense, rich, gooey, velvety, and chocolaty. They're like a marriage of Peanut Butter Twix and Tagalongs, in bar form, and they're irresistible!

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, 9 to 12 generous squares

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 27 minutes

Ingredients:

Shortbread Crust
1/2 cup unsalted butter, extremely soft (1 stick)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup creamy peanut butter (like Jif or Skippy; not homemade or 'natural', it's too thin and runny)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Layer
about 8 ounces (salted) caramel sauce (I used most of a 10-ounce jar of Trader Joe's Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce, just eyeball it. Or make Caramel Sauce or make 5-Minute Caramel Sauce)

Chocolate Layer
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used a 9 ounce bag)
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, optional but recommended (for smoothness and so chocolate doesn't set up overly firm, causing it to crack upon slicing)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside. This is a messy recipe and I highly suggest lining your pan for easier cleanup.
  2. Shortbread Crust - Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, cutting in the butter with a pastry cutter, wooden spoon, or your fingers until until a sandy, crumbly mixture forms. Transfer crumbly mixture to prepared pan and using your fingertips, press crumbs down to form an even flat layer of crust. Pierce crust with a fork haphazardly in a dozen places so steam can escape while it bakes. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust has just barely set. It should not be golden or browned at all, it should still be white, but crusted over and set. While crust bakes, make the filling.
  3. Peanut Butter Filling - Melt the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl, about 1 minute. Add the 3 remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Spread over crust. Crust does not have to be cool, and spreading it while crust is still warm is beneficial. The filling is thick and resists being spread, but take your time and either push it into place with your fingers, use a spatula, or knife, taking care not to rip the crust while spreading the filling.
  4. Caramel Layer - Pour caramel sauce over peanut butter. It should smooth out on its own but if necessary, spread it into corners and sides of pan with a knife.
  5. Chocolate Layer - Combine the 2 ingredients in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat to melt, about 1 minute. Stop to stir and heat in 15-second bursts until mixture can be stirred smooth. Pour chocolate over caramel layer and if desired, smooth it very, very lightly with an offset spatula or knife.
  6. Cover pan with aluminum foil (to prevent fridge smells), and place pan in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight, before lifting out with foil overhang, and slicing and serving. If bars have become very cold, allow them to come up to room temperature for a few minutes before slicing. I prefer to store the bars in the refrigerator, where they'll keep for at least 10 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Crust may lose some degree of snap and crunch if storing the bar for longer durations, but it's very liveable.

Related Recipes:

Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Dough Crumble Bars

Milky Way Chocolate Cookie Crumble Bars

Peanut Chewy Payday Bars

The Best Lemon Bars

Caramel and Chocolate Gooey Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation)

Nutella and Peanut Butter Graham Bars with Chocolate Frosting (No-Bake)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookie Bars

Nutter Butter Special K Bars (No Bake)

Marshmallow Peanut Butter Double Chocolate Pillowtop Bars

Nanaimo Bars (No-Bake)

Salted Caramel Pretzel Blondies

Twix fan? Peanut Butter or Original?

Tagalongs? Millionaire’s Shortbread?

I’m a huge fan of the whole family: shorbread crust, peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate, in any combination; preferably with all 4 components included. As you can see from my related recipes, I don’t lack for a shortage of bars using peanut butter, chocolate, or caramel.

And even after writing my first cookbook with 100+ Peanut Butter Recipes, Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America’s Favorite Spread, I’m still not sick of peanut butter.

Book release is June 4. Thanks to everyone who’s pre-ordered your copy!

Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America's Favorite Spread by Averie Sunshine

   

135 Responses to “Peanut Butter Caramel Twix Bars”

  1. #
    51
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — May 7, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Dude, four layer bars?! You’re killing me here – it’s near swimsuit season but I HAVE to make these bars now. Plus, I still have that leftover caramel from the pretzel blondies. It’s a sign that I really do need make these.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 7th, 2013 at 11:36 pm

      I had caramel pretzel blondies caramel left over too! So I used that, and then cracked open another jar :)

      Reply

  2. #
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    Nikki — May 7, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Salted caramel and chocolate with peanut butter… Best. Combination. Ever.

    Reply

  3. #
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    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — May 8, 2013 at 5:38 am

    I am dying over all the caramel coming from those bars. You just combined all my favorite cookies into one glorious bar!!! I better just forget about wearing a swimsuit this year :-)

    Reply

  4. #
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    Cate @ ChezCateyLou — May 8, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Wow – you have really outdone yourself with this recipe! You have combined some of my favorite treats all into one!! These look soooo amazing. I can’t wait to try out this recipe!

    Reply

  5. #
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    Karly — May 8, 2013 at 6:15 am

    First of all, I could totally eat TJ’s caramel sauce with a spoon. And I have. It’s seriously the best!

    Second, I am in love with these bars! They’re gorgeous!

    Reply

  6. #
    56
    Kate@Diethood — May 8, 2013 at 6:22 am

    Averie, oh.my.gah!!!!!! You have left me speechless. Again. And that’s hard to do! :-) Incredible. Please excuse me while I wipe my drool.

    Reply

  7. #
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    megan {Country Cleaver} — May 8, 2013 at 7:38 am

    I want to slather myself in that caramel and dip my face into that peanut butter! Goodness Averie you know the way to my heart!

    Reply

  8. #
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    Valerie — May 8, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Yes…just, yes! :D

    Reply

  9. #
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    Laura Dembowski — May 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    I’m behind on my blog reading and I’ve been dying to look at this recipe. OMG! It’s even better than I imagined. And they’re bigger than a twix bar! When it comes to desserts bigger is pretty much always better.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 8th, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      I couldn’t even deal with trying to slice them into Twix-like shapes. Talk about fussy-work that I didn’t even want to deal with and as you said, bigger is better for desserts :)

      Reply

  10. #
    60
    Lucy — May 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Oh these look so good, love that you went for the caramel and peanut butter!

    Reply

  11. #
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    Heather @ Sugar Dish Me — May 8, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Four layers is always better than three. You are gonna make the Twix Bars jealous.
    P.S. I cannot even get over that smooth chocolate layer right now. Looks like chocolate silk.

    Reply

    • Averie @ Averie Cooks replied: — May 8th, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      Shortening girl. I have spent years trying to figure out how to get that glassy look, that doesn’t crack, without doing any crazy, complicated steps to the chocolate. 2 tbsp shortening is my new solution!

      Reply

  12. #
    62
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — May 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I can never choose between the PB and caramel Twix bars, so I totally bow down to you for figuring out a way to put them together.

    Reply

  13. #
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    jamie@kreyv — May 8, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    These look a-mazing! And then, I scroll down and see all of the other pictures…I kind of wanted to lick my computer screen, but I held myself back! Delish!

    Reply

  14. #
    64
    Naomi/Dragonmamma — May 9, 2013 at 5:40 am

    You hit the big-time, Averie: you got linked at Neatorama!:
    http://www.neatorama.com/2013/05/08/Homemade-Peanut-Butter-Twix-Bars/

    Reply

  15. #
    65
    Bree {Skinny Mommy} — May 9, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Oh my goodness! These look simply divine!

    Reply

  16. #
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    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — May 9, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Omigosh do I love these! Oozing with caramel in the center! Ah-Mazing!

    Reply

  17. #
    67
    Nutmeg Nanny — May 11, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Oh my, this recipe looks dangerously good ;) I am loving this!

    Reply

  18. #
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    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 11, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Averie! I’m totally crushing on your new blog design, girl! Then (knowing it was done by Purr midway thru the page, just by the feel and look), flew down to see if Purr designed it. Sure enough! Love the new recipe layout, too. Such a beautiful, soft look…perfect for pastry arts. Oh, but…I still say your blog should be named “Averie Bakes”, LOL! Anyway…on a PB kick right now at Pinterest and came here to search for more PB goodies! (Can you tell I can’t wait for your new PB cookbook? Hahaha!!) Pinning this fabulous recipe to group boards. I’m drooooling! Loooove TJ’s salted caramel and eat it by the spoon. (Just posted a recipe using it!) Again, congrats on the lovely redesign by Purr! xoxo

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — May 12th, 2013 at 1:59 am

      Yes, her work is so recognizable and I do that too; scroll to bottom of sites I visit and sure enough, yep, it’s Purr. And ‘pastry arts’ – I love that. Right now the tag under Averie Cooks says sweet & savory recipes but we just put that up and I am still deciding on what my permanent tag will be…salted caramel sauce and a spoon. I can relate! Thx for the pins!

      Reply

  19. #
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    Paula — May 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    These were a huge hit here and I must say I love the shortbread crust–definitely better than the cookie part of a commercial Twix bar. I spread the peanut butter filling over the crust as soon as it came out of the oven and didn’t have much difficulty. The extra shortening with the chips keeps the chocolate layer just right for slicing.

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — May 12th, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      So glad you tried these, Paula! I love the shortbread crust on them and I typically am not a crust girl, at all. Most of the time shortbread reminds me of dog biscuits, hard, and not worth the calories, frankly! lol But this shortbread I wanted more of! And so glad the PB spread out easily for you. Mine was quite gloppy so I made sure to tell people in advance it was a little bit of a PITA :) And shortening – yep. Only took me years to figure that out but I’m all over it now!

      Thanks for the detailed field report. I can always count on you :)

      Reply

  20. #
    70
    Trish - Mom On Timeout — May 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    These bars are glorious perfection layer by layer. Shortening is definitely the trick for a nice, smooth chocolate layer that doesn’t crack. My Nana taught me that years ago and it’s never failed me yet :)

    Reply

  21. #
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    Andrea — February 25, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I am so excited to make the PB Twix bars for my best friend’s 40th – she LOVES the PB Twix! I am wondering though….in the original PB Twix, the cookie is a chocolate one. How do you think the shortbread would turn out if I added some unsweetened cocoa powder to it? And how much do you think I would need? If you think it would negatively alter the shortbread you have finally perfected, I’m making them anyway as-is. I know she will love them either way! Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — February 25th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      The only issue about cocoa powder is that it tends to dry things our really badly and quickly so you will just have to be careful not to overdo it. I would try 1/4 c cocoa and reduce the flour by at least that much, but add the flour in very slowly so that you are in control of the moisture level. LMK how it goes!

      Reply

      • Andrea replied: — March 10th, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        They turned out great with the chocolate shortbread! I think you could go even less on the cocoa, as I tasted a tad bit of bitterness…but the birthday girl loved them, so mission accomplished! People who missed out are already asking me to make them again! Thank you so much for the advice, and also for scores more recipes that I am dying to try! :)

  22. #
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    Melanie — March 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I want to make these for my daughter’s 15th birthday, since she is a huge fan of peanut butter twix and not a cake lover. For your 7 minute caramels, do you just stop at the 5 minute mark and pour it on while still warm?

    Reply

    • Averie Sunshine replied: — March 5th, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Yes to your question. Or just used a jarred caramel sauce. Since this is basically her ‘bday cake’ though, do a test run of this beforehand! It’s just a small pan but I want them to be perfect for her :)

      Reply

  23. #
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    Jessica @ Sprinkle Some Sugar — April 6, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Layer by layer perfection!! All of my favorites in one :) yummy!

    Reply

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