Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cracker Toffee, or What I Like to Call...Crack

Behold, the humble Saltine Cracker.  It's nothing special to look at.  You don't normally use them for more then crushing them over soup.  They have very little taste, and the packaging isn't fancy.  I don't know who thought to elevate these simple crackers by pouring butter and sugar over them and then frosting them with melted chocolate and toasted nuts, but they are a genius!

I have attempted toffee several times, with mixed results.  The winters are very humid here, so it is difficult to get candy to the perfect consistency -- sometimes my toffee is too soft (not crispy) and other times it is too hard or burned.  This recipe is very forgiving, because your toffee will be crispy every time.  The crackers also add a little bit of salt to your sweet, which is probably my favorite thing in the universe. 

I think the most difficult thing about this recipe is lining your pan, so the toffee mixture doesn't ruin anything or stick to the foil.  I think last time I made this, I forgot to put parchment on top of the foil and my toffee wouldn't come free.  I remembered this time, and it came away perfectly.  I thought for sure this batch would last several days, and that I would have enough to take it to two parties I was attending this weekend, but the container is now only crumbs and I'm actually toying with the idea of making this a second time tomorrow.

(Crack)er Toffee
I call this treat "crack" because it is highly addictive and small quantities are never enough.  Consider yourself warned.  This recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

40-50 Saltine Crackers
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pkg. dark chocolate chips
1 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and completely cover an 11x17 baking pan with foil, spray with cooking spray, and then cut out a piece of parchment paper to cover the bottom.  Press it down, and it should stick to the spray.  Cover the pan with a single layer of the crackers.  You may have to break a few crackers in half to make it all the way across the pan.

In a medium size sauce pan, melt butter and sugar together, over medium heat.  Increase temperature slightly and bring mixture to a boil.  Boil for three minutes.  Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.  Immediately pour over crackers and then use an off-set spatula or knife to spread caramel over the crackers.  It will set as it cools, so move quickly.  Put your pan in the oven for 15 minutes, watching carefully for any burning.  If it seems like the caramel is getting too dark, lower your temperature.

After 15 minutes, pull out the pan of crackers and sprinkle with chocolate chips.  Let them sit on the hot toffee for about 5 minutes, until melty, and then spread the chocolate over the entire pan.  Sprinkle with almonds and salt.

Allow to sit until completely cool and set (about six hours).  I can never wait for what seems like an eternity for my crack to be ready to eat, so I usually speed things along by putting the pan in my refrigerator or in my cold garage.  Break toffee into pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week.  I guarantee it will not last that long.


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