This recipe is a super-decadent, vegan, and gluten-free version of my favorite childhood candy bar: twix! Vegan and gluten-free homemade twix bars, to be exact. Anything with caramel is a win in my book, but there's something extra special about that particular combination. The buttery shortbread layered with caramel and coated in rich, creamy chocolate? Make it stop.
There are plenty of great vegan and gluten-free twix bar recipes out there, but trust me when I tell you that this one is different. Most require either lots of processed sugars, starches, and gums or involve date caramel. I love date caramel and it has an appropriate place and time, but I knew there had to be a better way to create a vegan, gluten-free twix bar.
Since accidentally creating this 5-minute, 5-ingredient vegan caramel last spring, I've been incorporating it into any and every dessert recipe that I can. It's so simple to make and amazingly delicious. I've also tested it on about 50+ non-vegans, and everyone is shocked when they find out it's made from coconut oil, pure maple syrup, and almond butter.
Although the caramel portion of these twix bars was easy to figure out, the crust had me stumped for quite some time. How do you create a vegan and gluten-free shortbread that doesn't involve butter or highly-processed ingredients?
Although it took more recipe testing than I'm used to, this crust was completely worth the extra work. This is a dense, buttery shortbread with no butter or white flour in sight. Instead, just five ingredients -- oats, coconut flour, coconut oil, pure maple syrup, and vanilla extract -- create a crust that's dangerously addictive.
The oats are processed into a flour in a food processor and then gently mixed with the coconut flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla. The mixture is pressed into a rectangular tart pan and baked for a quick 13-15 minutes. After a bit of cooling time, that dreamy caramel from up above is poured over the crust like so...
Last but never least: chocolate. With just three ingredients -- raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and pure maple syrup -- this is the easiest of all the layers. You'll simply melt everything together in a pan and pour that richness right over the chilled caramel layer. Check it out...
After a small amount of set time in your freezer, you'll slice that gigantic bar into squares or twix-like shapes and sink your teeth into a caramel-chocolate-shortbread abyss. The leftovers can be stored in your refrigerator or even frozen for later. These are the perfect Halloween candy, and they'll please both your tastebuds and your body with their flavorful goodness.
Homemade Twix Bars | Vegan, Gluten-Free
For the Shortbread Crust
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut flour
- ½ cup melted coconut oil (measure it after it's melted)
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Caramel Layer
- ½ cup raw creamy unsalted almond butter
- ½ cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade B)
- ⅓ cup virgin coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
For the Chocolate Layer
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- ½ cup virgin coconut oil
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
To Make the Shortbread Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add the rolled oats to a food processor and process for 3-4 minutes or until a fine flour is formed.
- Add the oat flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Gently mix with a spatula until incorporated.
- Grease a 9x13 rectangular tart pan with coconut oil. Transfer the crust mixture to the pan. Using your hands, press the mixture evenly into the pan. Use a fork to poke 8-10 holes in the crust to allow it to vent as it bakes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
To Make the Caramel
- Add the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and sea salt to a small saucepan. Whisk together over medium low heat until all ingredients are melted together (approximately 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Once the crust has cooled completely, pour the caramel over top and use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
- Transfer the tart pan to the freezer for 25 minutes to set the caramel layer.
To Make the Chocolate Layer
- Add the raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small sauce pan over low heat. Whisk together constantly until all ingredients are melted together.
- Pour the chocolate over the caramel layer and use a spatula to spread it out evenly.
- Return the tart pan to the freezer for 25 minutes to set the chocolate layer.
- Pop the large "twix bar" out of the tart pan and transfer to a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut* the bar into squares or twix-shaped bars. The crust is dense and can be tricky to cut after it's been in the freezer, so be careful and patient.
- Store the bars in the refrigerator.
This is total food porn - YUM! :D
Yes! Thank you for that, Marfigs! Food-porn status is a big compliment :)
Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says
Um YES please! I'll take the whole pan : )
Haha! Love it :) Dan and I have almost finished the entire pan in four days, and I wouldn't doubt my own ability to devour them on my own. Caramel = my kryptonite.
Michele @ Two Raspberries says
These look incredible! I lovvveee twix but since I went vegan i havn't had one so I am totally going to try these I'm so excited yummmm ;-)
Thanks, Michele! I hope you enjoy them!
Thalia @ butter and brioche says
Twix bars just happen to be one of my favourite candy bars ever, so this recipe is just perfect for me. These bars look so delicious and they are surprisingly healthy - definitely need to create the recipe!
I'm glad that you share in the twix-love, Thalia, and I hope you find these to be just as delicious as the original!
Another former twix bar lover here! They were hands down my favorite candy bar growing up. Haven't had one in ages...looks like this will be my Halloween treat :)
Hi, Larice! Twix Bar Lovers unite! I hope you find these to be just as good as the real thing, and happy halloween to you :)
Celeste Jackson says
I'm going Trick or Treating at your house! YUUUUM
Please do! :)
Karissa @ Vegan À La Mode says
Ashley, you never fail to impress me with your crafty creations!! I am totally making this for Halloween on Friday! :)
Aww, thanks so much, Karissa! You always have such sweet and supportive words to share. I hope you enjoy them! Usually, when I make dessert recipes for the blog I end up giving some away or freezing a bunch because Dan and I can't go through them all quickly enough. These, however, are almost gone in just four days. I'm not sure whether to say "oops" or "hooray" to that fact :)
Ashley! this looks so good!! especially for a sweet tooth like me... definitely want to try that soon!
Thanks, Lili! They're my new favorite treat. Dan and I devoured an entire batch in less than a week! :)
Baby June says
Oh my gosh those look amazing! I used to be a big fan of Twix bars, so of course they would be awesome homemade! Great idea :D
Thanks so much, June! I hope you have the chance to try this recipe :)
I made these for a Halloween party and everyone raved about how amazing they are! Thanks for such a great recipe!!
Hi, Meghan! I'm so, so happy to hear that you made these and that they received rave reviews! Makes my heart happy. Thanks for taking the time to report back with your results; I really appreciate it!
These look A.MA.ZING! I have one question though. My daughter is allergic to oats. Is there something I could possibly substitute, so that I could make these, for my family? If not, don't worry.
Hi, Brandi! I haven't tried substituting the oat flour; however, you could try ground raw buckwheat, a gluten-free flour blend, or adding a bit more coconut flour. If you substitute with coconut flour, just reduce the amount because it's incredibly absorbent and can easily dry out dough. I'd love to hear your results if you try substituting!
Grandma Shelley says
Man oh Man, I would call it HEAVENLY. A wonderful treat for my 'grands' but I'd substitute carob for the chocolate. I'll be checking out all your vegan recipes 'BB'..My first x on your site, but definitely not my last x.:). All the best, my dear.
Thanks, Shelley! Substituting carob for the chocolate would also be delicious. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and I do hope to hear more from you! All the best to you, too!
Aneta @wolfgoesvegan says
Twix bars used to be my everyday treat (back in times when I was living on refined sugar ;). This recipe will be definitely tested Ashley! :)
This recipe looks so good :-)
One question: Should the coconut flour be finely processed or is it the kind of coconut flour that are little chunks?
Kathrine from Denmark :-)
Thanks so much, Kathrine! You'll want the kind of coconut flour that is finely processed with a texture similar to oat flour. I hope this helps! Enjoy :)
Great recipe. Caramel is really good. I hate coconut oil, so I used
water. Still excellent. And I did use coconut oil in the dough, but added 2Tb vanilla extract to mask the flavor.
Currently no chocolate is on the bars, but it'll happen later.
Cut them into bars before topping with caramel. Convenience I just learned after not cutting them beforehand.
Definitley satisfying bars.
Hi, Katie! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment with your substitutions and adjustments. It's great to know that you can sub water for the coconut oil in the caramel -- I never would have thought it would turn out with water. Also, good idea to cut the bars before topping, as they are definitely tricky to cut. Thanks again, and so glad you're enjoying the recipe!
These look amazing!! My daughter has several allergies including almonds. Could I substitute sun butter?
Thanks, Jen! Yes, you can definitely substitute sun butter in this recipe!
These look awesome! Would I be able to substitute a vegan butter like earths balance for the almond butter? We have nut allergies.
Thanks, Brianne! I would try sunflower seed butter as I think t will substitute more seamlessly. I havent tried using vegan butter but I feel like it would alter the flavor and texture too significantly. Hope this helps!
Hi! Love this recipe! Do you have any of the nutrition info?
Hi, Katie! I'm so glad you love it! I'm sorry, but I don't have the nutrition info.
i want to try this so bad! I don't really care about gluten and was wondering if I could just use regular un bleached flour? Wondering if I could just use he things I have on hand:)
Hi, Michelle! I haven't tried making the shortbread with regular flour, but I'm guessing it will work just fine. You might just have to adjust the amount you use (more or less) depending on how absorbent the flour is when mixed with the other ingredients. The dough should be damp/wet but not at all runny prior to being pressed into the pan. I hope this helps, and I hope you enjoy the recipe! I'd love to hear how it turns out if you have time to share your results.
I see it's not just me that has an aversion to coconut oil (both in taste and price;)). I've tried a few variations of this recipe and found that the oil can definitely be omitted from the caramel. Just cook it for longer to reduce the mixture down, leaving it firm enough to do its job. It tastes waaaay better for it. I'm having difficulty finding a suitable substitute for the chocolate topping though, does anyone have an alternative? Ps Hi Ashley, great site. Please accept my apologies for suggesting any change to your recipe as it's certainly accomplished and a beautiful alternative to many any other I've tried. I just don't feel the love for coconut oil, which is odd as coconut in most forms is one of my favourite foods. X
Hi, Sam! No worries; I understand. We all have different tastes, so I'm glad you found a way to adjust the caramel. If you like coconut butter, you can also use that (about 1/4 cup) in place of the coconut oil in the caramel. To make a homemade version, just add about 4 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut to a food processor and process for 8 to 10 minutes.
For the chocolate, you could either melt down dark chocolate or make homemade chocolate with 2 parts cacao butter, 2 parts cacao powder, and 1 part pure maple syrup. Simply melt the cacao butter in a double boiler, remove from heat, and whisk in the cacao powder and maple syrup. See this post for more detailed directions for the chocolate. I hope this helps!
Delish! This was my first attempt at vegan baking, and I'm pretty sure I un-veganed it by topping it with a ganache that called for chocolate chips and coconut creamer. I bought the chocolate chips in bulk and scanned the ingredients quickly to see if they contained any milk fat, and I don't recall seeing any, but it's likely I wasn't reading closely enough. Still, if you can find vegan chips, it might be worth swapping in a mixture of .25 cups of heated-just-to-simmering coconut creamer and 1 cup of chocolate chips for the chocolate topping here. All-in-all, a spectacular recipe - the texture and taste of the shortbread are spot-on, and the vegan caramel is an eye-opener. I've had ok vegan baked goods in the past, but this has really changed my feelings towards them. I plan on making these bars for my gluten-free friends.
Made these last night! Super easy to make and they are delicious! I had to make it in a glass pie pan and it worked well, cutting them up was easier than I expected as well. Will definitely make again!
Tay tay says
Hi, this looks great! But unfortunately i dont have coconut oil so any alternatives? Also can I use peanut butter instead of almond butter for the carmel? Thanks????
Thank you! You can sub PB for the almond butter. I'm honestly not sure of a substitute for the coconut oil -- it's an important ingredient since it's in all three components!
Rikki Bower says
How would I make this "raw"??
I need help ha ha!
Hi, Rikki! Haha, shoot, without playing around with the recipe and re-testing it myself, I'm not sure how to make it raw. I'm currently vacationing in California sans kitchen or I would play around with it myself. The caramel can be made raw by adding all ingredients to a blender and blending until emulsified (this works especially well with a high-speed blender that gently heats while blending). The chocolate could probably be made the same way. For the crust, you could try swapping the maple syrup for pitted medjool dates and processing everything together (and maybe add some shredded coconut too?). I'm not sure how it will turn out, but I think it's worth a try. Good luck! Would love to know how it goes if you give it a try!
Eden Passante says
This is so amazing! Looks so delicious! Love this idea!
Christa Lawcock says
Tastes great but not sure it's a true replica of a Twix: It was a little too nutty tasting. Granted I subbed in 1/4 cup peanut butter of the 1/2 cup almond butter, so that may have contributed to the taste, but it's a still great bar.
One tip? Run your knife under hot water prior to slicing they bars and make it one sharp 'chop'. The tops Crack a little otherwise, but again, freezing they bars for longer intervals between layers may help prevent this.
Thank you for the great treat!
Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your feedback and tips, Christa. LOVE the tip for running the knife under hot water before slicing—have never thought to do that, and it's a brilliant tip to keep the chocolate from cracking as you slice. Using peanut butter as opposed to almond butter in the caramel will definitely lead to a nutty twix bar (kind of a like a PB twix), but I'm so glad you enjoyed them nonetheless!
Christa Lawcock Lam says
After making these bars once again and still struggling with cutting them, I flipped the bars upside down on a cutting board and cut them cookie layer side up. So much easier!!!!
Ahh, so smart, Christa! I'll update the recipe and notes to include this suggestion. Thanks for taking the time to let me know (and to share your rating, too)!
Hello,I was just wondering if I couldn't get hold of oat flour or couldn't make it myself would I just be able to use coconut flour???
Hi, Amanda!! Please don't use coconut flour in place of the oat flour portion! It's not suitable for 1:1 replacements because of how highly absorbent it is and your twix bars will end up a dry, crumbly mess. I joke that coconut flour should come with a warning! :)
Made this a few times and I always love it! it's like a yummy coconutty caramel slice, only problem is i don't know how healthy it is when i accidentally devour the pan in a few hours
So happy to hear you're enjoying the recipe, Rhiannon (such a pretty name, by the way). And haha, totally hear you on that—can't say I haven't done the same thing myself. 😆
I would love to try this recipe, but I don’t have any coconut flour. Is there a substitute?
Hi, Nadine! I haven't tested a substitute for the coconut flour, so I don't recommend swapping it out for another flour. Coconut flour is extremely absorbent (much more so than any other flour), so it would be challenging to find an adequate replacement without having to increase the amount of flour used which would likely cause an issue with the ratio of other ingredients.
I love this recipe so much and have made it for many non healthy eaters and everyone devoured it! I like to double the crust recipe and triple the caramel and chocolate, that way I have TONS to freeze. For those that don’t like the flavor of coconut oil, you can use a slightly refined version which doesn’t have the coconut flavor (vs a virgin oil which does). I tend to use the biggest knife I have to cut the bars and oh well if some crack funny and can’t be served to others 😉😂😋