No, I'm not talking about mixing -> baking -> assembly time. Well, that was a long time too, but a heck of a lot less time than it took for me to actually get into the kitchen and make it. No, this took a long time for me to figure out from start to finish.
Still, I really couldn't say no to this.
Not only were these gluten-free, vegan KitKat Bar clones a challenge that taunted me from the time it was given, but the task was given to me by the woman who was instrumental in lobbying for my insurance company to keep me standing. I would have done it for her (and her daughter, the end recipient of these) even if she wasn't a client. I owe her at least that much.
If I was going to jump into the candy-bar pool at all though - not the least wearing a gluten-free swimsuit - I was sure going to do it right. I wanted to be proud of what I put out there. Not for fame or fortune, but to say "Yes. I made that. And it looks good.". Problem was, I had not a whit of a clue how to go about recreating this woman's favourite chocolate bar. I was a big fan of KitKats myself back in the day, but short of finding a pizzelle iron to make the wafers I had no idea where to even start this journey.
My answer came from a very unlikely source - especially for this holistic nutritionist! Lo and behold, Serious Eats had run a story about Paula Deen's Homemade Kit Kat Bars back in mid-January, and it was in that one webpage that I found my candy bar-making legs. Paula's bars use a pan of Club Crackers, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips... well I may not have had a KitKat in many a year, but I do know that there are no additions to those wafer biscuits other than thin layers of chocolate. So chocolate only it would be. Not to mention it would be both easier and safer that way, so that I could keep the gluten, corn, dairy and eggs out of the picture! Luckily, I had a tried and true gluten-free saltine cracker recipe that was easily altered to become ever-so-slightly sweet (and corn free!), and I even had some great corn, dairy and gluten free chocolate and vanilla hanging around from Christmas.
Now I have to admit - these bars are simple, but it is definitely a process from start to finish. To do these right, you need to budget at least two days from when you start baking the crackers to when you can bite into the finished product. I promise you though... it's worth it. And they may not be the most gorgeous candy bars on the shelf, but they will be something you can be proud to call your own.
Makes 3 "King Size" bars - easily 3 servings each!
2/3 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato flour
3 tbsp soy flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
7 tbsp arrowroot
3 tbsp potato starch
1 tbsp cream of brown rice cereal
½ tsp salt
1/2 tsp guar gum
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp baking soda
3 oz shortening
3/4 cup water
1 tsp gluten and corn free vanilla
300 g gluten, corn and dairy free bittersweet chocolate
2 tsp shortening
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Mix flours, arrowroot, potato starch, salt, sugar and baking soda.
- Cut in shortening until mixture has a consistency of coarse meal.
- Add liquid and stir to form a dough.
- Between two pieces of wax paper, roll dough out into a very thin sheet.
- Cut into 3 large "base" rectangles (about the size of a large Kit Kat bar) and 12 thinner "sticks" (the length of the large rectangles and a little more than 1/3 as wide), place different sizes on separate un-greased cookie sheets.
- Prick 1-2 times with a fork and make a "seam" of fork pricks down the centre of the larger rectangles (so they can "break" easily after assembly).
- Wrap the completed bars in foil and store in a cool, dry place