It’s the time of year when people are baking cookies and preparing for the holidays. I’m not the best at baking cookies. There was a time when I was in graduate school, and I didn’t have any classes for nearly a month, and my work hours were reduced because of the holidays. So I would bake lots and lots of cookies. One of those years I baked all the cookies for my parents and had dozens and dozens of different varieties.
But the one type of cookie that my mom used to make that I didn’t have the recipe for a long time was these saltine toffee candies. They’re candy because you’re cooking down sugar, but they’re cookie sized. And they’re definitely not as difficult to make as I have always imagined candy to be. And when it came time for my work holiday party, I knew I needed to bring a dish, and that this was one I wanted to try. Just to make sure I could do it. And how hard could it be?
The answer is: not hard at all. As in, this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made. And it comes out looking really good, and the flavors are amazing as well. Yes, the recipe calls for saltine crackers, and ignore the fact that saltines are generally flavorless and boring. They are the perfect addition to this candy – slightly salty, and with a firm, bread-y goodness for the base.
The toffee part is easy too. Melt butter and dark brown sugar together. Let it boil for a short amount of time. Spread on the crackers you’ve laid out. I was worried at first because the toffee didn’t spread out all the way across all the crackers on the pan, but it turned out to be ok – cooking in the oven spread the mixture out very well, and also hardened it.
Even easier was the chocolate melting part. Literally 2 minutes of sprinkling out the chips, putting it back in the warm oven to melt a little, and then spreading with a spatula. And then it all sits to cool completely, you break it into pieces, and you’re done.
It feels like cheating. The fact that I can recite this recipe now feels like it shouldn’t be real. Something that turns out this perfect mix of salty and sweet with chocolate and crunch should be more complicated. Should require more time and practice. But thankfully for us all, it doesn’t. And that means if I want to make another batch of candy tonight, I can. And I will barely even really need my recipe to do it.
Saltine Toffee Candy
Yield: 1 pan / 20-ish servings?
1 sleeve / 40 saltine crackers (get the regular salted variety)
1 cup / 2 sticks of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
12 oz (1 small bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips
OPTIONAL: 1/2 cup topping of your choice – shredded coconut, sliced almonds, sprinkles, you choose!
Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the saltine crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium pot, melt the butter and brown sugar over medium heat. When the butter begins to melt, stir gently to combine the brown sugar and butter. Continue to heat the mixture, without stirring, until it comes to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, set a timer and let it boil for three minutes.
After three minutes, carefully pour the mixture over the saltine crackers. If needed, gently spread the mixture around until all of the crackers are covered. Place the toffee covered crackers in the oven and bake for 6 minutes.
After six minutes of baking, turn off the oven and carefully remove the baking sheet. Once the bubbles subside, sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top. The chips should melt with the heat from the toffee. Put the baking sheet back in the warm oven for 1-2 minutes or until the chocolate chips are glossy (which means they are melted). Spread the melted chips even over the surface with a spatula.
If adding a topping, sprinkle them over the melted chocolate and gently press it in. Allow the candy to cool at room temperature until hardened. Break the candy into pieces before eating.
Details: Saltine Toffee Candy, from Budget Bytes