Home » Gluten Free Caramel Cookies (Homemade Twix)

Gluten Free Caramel Cookies (Homemade Twix)

These gluten free caramel cookies taste kind of like Twix bars… but better. With a perfectly buttery and crisp shortbread base, a luxurious gooey-chewy caramel layer and a crisp chocolate shell, they’re just outrageously delicious. They’re also surprisingly easy to make – and yes, that includes the from-scratch caramel! So, if you’ve been missing Twix bars, you can now make your own homemade, gluten free, caramel-packed treats inspired by this candy classic.

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Gluten free caramel cookie torn in half, showing the gooey-chewy caramel centre.

Every now and then, I make a recipe that simply blows me away with its sheer out-of-this-world deliciousness. This is one of them.

Now, I’m not a big candy person. Honestly, there are always so many desserts around in our house (usually in the aftermath of whatever recipe I’m developing or photographing at the time) that candy and sweets just don’t feel necessary. But when the occasion arises, my favourite candy are definitely  Twix bars.

Unfortunately, Twix bars aren’t gluten free. But, luckily, you can make your own gluten free version – and they’re both surprisingly easy to make AND just ridiculously delicious.

Overhead view of chocolate-covered gluten free caramel cookies on a sheet of white parchment paper.

Okay, strictly speaking, these gluten free caramel cookies aren’t a 100% faithful Twix bar reproduction. Aside from the fact that they’re gluten free, I also wan’t interested in a copy cat recipe. These are merely Twix bar inspired.

For one, they’re not actually “bars”. I decided to make them in a round cookie form because (a) it’s more straightforward to achieve, especially if you want to keep them all uniform in size and shape, and (b) they’re really really pretty that way. Of course, if you wanted to make them in bar form, you absolutely can! The recipe will work (and will be amazing) either way.

However, all the (mouth-watering, drool-worthy) Twix bar elements are present: the buttery, crisp shortbread, the chewy-gooey caramel and the chocolate shell. And they’re so, so incredibly delicious.

So, if you’ve been missing Twix bars because you can’t eat gluten – these cookies will satisfy any and all Twix cravings. And if you happen to not be a Twix bar fan, you’ll still love these caramel cookies. Promise.

Gluten free caramel cookie cut in half.

Before we get to the bits and bobs of making these wonderful cookies – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date on the latest recipes and tips!

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Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Here’s why you’ll LOVE these caramel cookies (they taste like Twix bars!!)

  1. They taste like Twix bars… but better!! You have all the three main elements of a Twix bar (the shortbread, the caramel and the chocolate), but the flavours are waaaaay better. Also, these aren’t quite as overwhelmingly sweet – the dark chocolate nicely balances the sweetness of the caramel, which makes for a much more delicious treat.
  2. They’re gluten free – not that you could possibly tell. I know I say this for pretty much all my gluten free recipes, but it’s really impossible to guess that these are 100% gluten free.
  3. The shortbread is perfectly buttery and crisp. Honestly, the shortbread is so good, I could easily (and very enthusiastically) eat it on its own. It’s based on the gluten free shortbread recipe from my book, Baked to Perfection.
  4. The caramel is AMAZING, and it has the perfect texture. It’s not too runny or too hard – instead, it walks the line between chewy and gooey (which is THE BEST texture a caramel could be), and when you break a cookie apart, it gives that mouth-watering stretchy pull as you tear it apart.
  5. The flavours mesh together beautifully. I mean, what’s not to love about the combination of buttery shortbread, luscious caramel and dark chocolate?? It’s a match made in flavour heaven and I can’t get enough of it.
  6. And they’re surprisingly easy to make. For all that they look super impressive, these caramel cookies are really simple to make. The most difficult part is the caramel and even that is a breeze to make, so long as you make sure that you have a digital food thermometer on hand and that you follow the recipe to the letter.

Overhead view of a gluten free caramel cookie torn in half, showing the gooey-chewy caramel centre.

Perfectly crisp & buttery gluten free shortbread

This is everything a shortbread should be and more. It’s buttery and crisp, with a gentle vanilla flavour (I went all out and used a fairly generous amount of vanilla bean paste so you can see little specks of vanilla in the cookies, but you can also just use vanilla extract). The recipe is actually based on the AMAZING gluten free shortbread from my gluten free cookbook, Baked to Perfection!

Gluten free shortbread cookies on a sheet of white parchment paper.

It’s also deliciously crumbly – as a shortbread should be – but not too crumbly. In fact, it’s slightly sturdier and crisper than your typical shortbread, which pairs better with the chewy caramel. This way, it has a slight ‘snap’ to it when you bite into it, but then it simply melts in your mouth.

You achieve this extra crispness by:

  • reducing the amount of butter very slightly compared to “standard” shortbread (as less butter means less delicate cookies),
  • adding a bit of liquid (milk in this case), 
  • and baking them a bit longer until golden brown (as opposed to the rather pale colour of your typical shortbread).

Similarly, because of the caramel layer, I made sure that the shortbread is less sweet than regular shortbread – otherwise, the sweetness of the whole caramel cookie eaten together could be rather overwhelming.

And, importantly, it’s really easy to make! Here’s how:

  1. In a bowl, mix the softened butter, sugar and vanilla together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Don’t cream or aerate the mixture, as that can make the cookies spread out in the oven and lose their shape, which is something you want to avoid (note the absence of any raising agents for the same reason).
  2. Add the gluten free flour blend, corn starch (also known as cornflour in the UK), xanthan gum and salt. Mix it all together until you get a fairly dry mixture – it will be very crumbly and it won’t stick together very well.
  3. Add the milk and mix well until it starts coming together.
  4. Give it a thorough knead (because it’s gluten free you don’t need to worry about over-working the dough!) until it comes together in a smooth ball. The cookie dough might be very slightly crumbly or crack in places, but it should hold together well.
  5. Roll the dough to a thickness of about 4-5mm between two sheets of baking/parchment paper. Rolling between sheets of baking/parchment paper reduces cracking and also means that you don’t need to flour your surface, which in turn eliminates the possibility of incorporating extra flour into the cookie dough.
  6. Then, cut out the cookies (using any scraps to make more cookies until you’ve used up all the cookie dough) and transfer them onto a lined baking sheet and bake at 320ºF (160ºC) for about 20-24 minutes or until evenly golden brown. The slightly lower oven temperature (compared to the more usual 350ºF/180ºC) works better here, as it gives a more even bake.

Overhead view of gluten free shortbread cookies on a sheet of white parchment paper.

The best homemade caramel

This isn’t your usual caramel sauce – that would be too runny and would have to rely on refrigeration to keep it firm enough. Instead, this caramel has the perfect texture and consistency at room temperature. It’s perfectly gooey and chewy, not too firm or hard and not too runny.

Homemade caramel in a white bowl.

It uses both granulated (or caster/superfine) sugar and golden syrup. The golden syrup allows the caramel to be stable and hold it shape at room temperature without being tooth-breaking hard.

When making the caramel, it’s all about the temperature. That’s why it’s absolutely *crucial* to use a digital food thermometer!! Aside from that, there’s really nothing complicated about preparing the perfect caramel: just make sure that you reach the correct temperature at the right stage and you’re basically guaranteed caramel PERFECTION.

Once you’ve made it, you will need to use the caramel while it’s still quite warm at about 120-130ºF (50-55ºC). At this stage, it’s soft enough to pipe or spoon, but not so soft that it would spread out too much and drip over the edge of your cookies. Of course, you can always make the caramel ahead of time and then just re-heat it to this temperature before assembling the cookies.

Homemade caramel in a white bowl.

Side note: What is golden syrup?

If you don’t live in the UK, golden syrup might be a rather unfamiliar ingredient. So, here’s a quick little golden syrup 101.

Golden syrup is essentially a light treacle or a type of inverted sugar syrup made from sugar cane or sugar beet juice. It has a light amber or golden colour. The closest equivalent to it is corn syrup BUT golden syrup has far more flavour – it has these wonderful caramel-like notes that work wonders in dessert recipes.

The most common brand is Lyle’s Golden Syrup and while it is a UK product, you should be able to find it in the US and elsewhere, both online and in selected shops. You can find it on Amazon US here. It’s typically available in tins, but I actually find the one that comes in squeeze bottles much more convenient.

Assembling the caramel cookies

As mentioned above, you will need to use the caramel while it’s still quite warm at about 120-130ºF (50-55ºC). I like to pipe it using a piping bag fitted with a small-ish round nozzle, about 1/3 inch (8mm) in diameter. And while the caramel is fairly warm – don’t worry, it’s definitely not so hot that you couldn’t hold the piping bag or that it would burn you.

I like to pipe the caramel in a spiral going out from the centre of the cookie (see the photo below). This way, you get a nice even coverage of the cookie, with the caramel layer of the same thickness all over. Make sure to leave about 3-4mm of caramel-free space around the edge, as the caramel will spread ever so slightly after piping.

Then, chill the caramel-topped cookies for about 30 minutes in the fridge. This sets the caramel even further, which helps when you dip the cookies into the slightly warm chocolate in the next step.

Piping the caramel on top of the shortbread cookies.

The crisp chocolate shell 

Okay, so, theoretically, you could just eat the caramel cookies as they are… and I say “theoretically” because why on Earth would you skip the chocolate??? (You wouldn’t. Please don’t. I know it’s an extra step in the recipe and it can be a bit messy, but it’s 1000% worth it.)

The chocolate shell really takes these cookies to a whole new level of deliciousness, as it balances out the sweetness of the caramel layer. It also adds another texture to the cookies – the crispness of the chocolate works wonderfully with the crumbly texture of the shortbread and the chewy gooeyness of the caramel.

Ideally, use tempered chocolate to dip the caramel cookies, as it gives the prettiest glossy finish and the most deliciously crisp ‘snap’ when you bite into it. But at the same time, don’t stress too much about it – even if the finish isn’t absolutely perfect, you’ll still get chocolate-coated caramel cookies! And that’s all that really matters.

Allowing the excess chocolate to drip away from the caramel cookie.

After you’ve dipped the slightly chilled cookies into the chocolate, lift them out with a fork and make sure to really allow the excess chocolate to drip away – you want a fairly thin, even chocolate layer. To achieve this, I like to use a small offset spatula to gently remove the excess chocolate from the top of the cookie, and then tap the fork on the side of the bowl to shake off the rest.

Then, allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. If it’s correctly tempered, you shouldn’t need to refrigerate it.

Removing the excess chocolate with an offset spatula.

Dipping the caramel cookies into chocolate.

Finishing touches: making the caramel cookies extra pretty

Now, you can either stop at this stage, or add a few more finishing touches to make the cookies even prettier. This is completely optional and it’s really a question of whether you have the patience for it… or if you just want to devour them ASAP. (Listen, you’ll get no judgement from me – 99% of the time, I’m firmly in that second group.)

If you do have the patience, you can use the leftover chocolate to drizzle or pipe a few ‘zig-zag’ lines on top of the set chocolate shell, and then sprinkle them with some flaky sea salt. After all, both chocolate and caramel go amazingly well with salt, as it really brings out all their wonderfully complex flavours.

Plus, these little finishing touches make these cookies look simply stunning, like something out of a fancy chocolate shop.

Chocolate-covered caramel cookies being decorated.

Chocolate-covered gluten free caramel cookies on a sheet of white parchment paper.

And that’s it! That’s all you need to know in order to make THE BEST, most spectacular and just outrageously delicious gluten free caramel cookies that taste kinda like Twix bars… but better. They make a wonderful gift, especially with the holiday season coming up (a.k.a. cookie season!!), but they’re really an all-year-round kind of treat.

And if you do plan on giving them away to your loved ones… better make a double batch, because I guarantee that you’ll want to keep some for yourself.

I hope you’ll love them as much as I do.

Happy baking!

Signature of the author, Kat.

Overhead view of a gluten free caramel cookie torn in half, showing the gooey-chewy caramel centre.

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Gluten Free Caramel Cookies (Homemade Twix)

These gluten free caramel cookies taste kind of like Twix bars… but better. With a perfectly buttery and crisp shortbread base, a luxurious gooey-chewy caramel layer and a crisp chocolate shell, they’re just outrageously delicious. They’re also surprisingly easy to make – and yes, that includes the from-scratch caramel! So, if you’ve been missing Twix bars, you can now make your own homemade, gluten free, caramel-packed treats inspired by this candy classic.
Print Rate
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook/Bake Time 1 hr
Chill Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 22 cookies

Ingredients

Gluten free shortbread:

  • 65 g (½ stick + ½ tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 30 g (2 ½ tbsp) caster/superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 130 g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) plain gluten free flour blend (I used Doves Farm Freee plain gluten free flour that doesn't have any xanthan gum added. You can also mix your own gluten free flour blend using this recipe. Note that for this homemade blend, 1 cup = 150g, so ideally use a kitchen scale for best results.)
  • 30 g (¼ cup) corn starch (US)/cornflour (UK)
  • ¼ tsp xanthan gum (Omit if your gluten free flour blend already contains xanthan gum.)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 20 g (4 tsp) whole milk, room temperature

Homemade caramel:

  • 180 g (¾ cup + ½ tbsp) double/heavy cream
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) unsalted butter, divided
  • 100 g (½ cup) granulated or caster/superfine sugar
  • 80 g (3 ½ tbsp) golden syrup (You can get it on Amazon US here!)
  • ¼-½ tsp salt (optional)

Chocolate shell:

  • 400 g (14 oz) melted dark chocolate, about 70% cocoa solids (Ideally, use tempered chocolate.)
  • flaky sea salt (optional)

Instructions

Gluten free shortbread:

  • Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 320ºF (160ºC) and line two large baking sheets with baking/parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, mix the softened butter, sugar and vanilla together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined.
    Tip: Don’t cream or aerate the mixture, as that can make the cookies spread out in the oven and lose their shape, which is something you want to avoid (note the absence of any raising agents for the same reason).
  • Sift in the gluten free flour blend, corn starch, xanthan gum and salt. Mix it all together until you get a fairly dry mixture – it will be very crumbly and it won’t stick together very well.
  • Add the milk and mix well until it starts coming together.
  • Give it a thorough knead (because it’s gluten free you don’t need to worry about over-working the dough!) until it comes together in a smooth ball. The cookie dough might be very slightly crumbly or crack in places, but it should hold together well.
  • Roll the dough to a thickness of about 4-5mm between two sheets of baking/parchment paper.
    Tip: Rolling between sheets of baking/parchment paper reduces cracking and also means that you don’t need to flour your surface, which in turn eliminates the possibility of incorporating extra flour into the cookie dough.
  • Use a 2 inch (5cm) round cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Re-roll any scraps to make more cookies until you've used up all the cookie dough. You should get about 22 cookies.
  • Transfer them onto the lined baking sheets and bake them, one baking sheet at a time, at 320ºF (160ºC) for about 20-24 minutes or until evenly golden brown.
    Tip: The slightly lower oven temperature (compared to the more usual 350ºF/180ºC) works better here, as it gives a more even bake.
  • Allow to cool on the baking sheets for about 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Set aside until needed.

Homemade caramel:

  • In a saucepan (or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave), heat the double/heavy cream and half of the butter together until hot and all the butter has melted. Set aside until needed, making sure that the mixture stays warm.
  • In another saucepan, combine the sugar and golden syrup, and cook over medium-high heat with frequent stirring until the mixture reaches 295ºF (145ºC).
  • Remove from heat, pour in the cream mixture and stir well until combined.
  • Return to the heat and cook with constant stirring until the mixture reaches 235-240ºF (112-116ºC). Immediately remove from heat and stir in the remaining butter and salt (optional).
    Tip: In the 235-240ºF (112-116ºC) temperature range, the sugar is in the so-called 'softball' stage. This means that once cooled to room temperature, the caramel will be pleasantly chewy, without being too soft or too hard.
  • Allow the caramel to cool to 120-130ºF (50-55ºC) before assembling the cookies.

Assembling the caramel cookies:

  • Once the caramel has cooled to 120-130ºF (50-55ºC), transfer it into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle (the nozzle diameter should be about ⅓ inch/8mm).
  • Pipe the caramel in a spiral going out from the centre of the cookie (see the post for photos). Make sure to leave about 3-4mm of caramel-free space around the edge, as the caramel will spread ever so slightly after piping.
  • Chill the caramel-topped cookies in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
    Tip: This sets the caramel even further, which helps when you dip the cookies into the slightly warm chocolate in the next step.

Chocolate shell:

  • Dip the slightly chilled caramel-topped cookies into melted chocolate (ideally, use tempered chocolate for the best shine and crisp texture).
  • After you’ve dipped them into the chocolate, lift them out with a fork and make sure to allow the excess chocolate to drip away – you want a fairly thin, even chocolate layer. To achieve this, I like to use a small offset spatula to gently remove the excess chocolate from the top of the cookie, and then tap the fork on the side of the bowl to shake off the rest.
  • Place the chocolate-covered cookies on a wire rack (ideally, cover the wire rack with a sheet of cling film, as that makes it easy to remove the cookies after the chocolate has firmed up) and allow the chocolate to set at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. If it’s correctly tempered, you shouldn’t need to refrigerate the cookies.

Decorating (optional):

  • Use the leftover chocolate to drizzle or pipe a few ‘zig-zag’ lines on top of the set chocolate shell, and then sprinkle them with some flaky sea salt.
  • Allow the chocolate decoration to set before serving.

Storage:

  • The cookies keep well in a closed container in a cool dry place for about 1 week.
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8 thoughts on “Gluten Free Caramel Cookies (Homemade Twix)”

  1. Hello! I want to make a shortbread base for an apple pie bar. Do you think this shortbread recipe would work well? I looked at your other recipes and this seems the most straightforward to convert. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  2. Hi! I would like to make a non-glute-free version, if I change the flour to the regular one, should I add xanthan gum or can I omit that?

    Reply
  3. Can’t wait to try it !
    I live in France and we don’t have golden syrup. What can replace it ?
    Thanks so much for all your recipes !

    Reply
    • Hi Vanessa, you could try using corn syrup – I know that it can be used to make soft caramels so it might work in this recipe. However, I haven’t tested it so I can’t say for certain how the caramel will turn out. Also, golden syrup carries more flavour than corn syrup, so the caramel might not be as rich in flavour.

      Reply