Chocolate Saltine Toffee

I’ve heard this toffee called Christmas Crack.

I think that name is most fitting but others have more P.C. names for it and some variations on the recipe.

Debbie made Matzoh Caramel Buttercrunch, which inspired Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch, which inspired Chocolate Caramel Crackers.

They all used matzoh whereas I used saltines.

Paula Deen also uses saltines and she calls it Pine Bark

Really Paula, with all that butter, sugar, and chocolate, and the best name you could come up with is Pine Bark?

I call it easy and amazing.

Recipe looks a little long but I am just being extra thorough explaining the steps.  It’s very easy: Boil sugar and butter, pour over saltines, bake, add chocolate chips. Done.  But I want to make sure no one messes up their crack so am being very detailed.

I recommend making this for a holiday party or as a Homemade Holiday Food Gift for folks on your to-buy-for (or to-make-for) list.

You may not necessarily want it all around your house.  Because it’s really, really addictive.  As the name would imply.

There is also no saltine cracker taste.  The crackers make for the perfect toffee base that holds all the gooey, caramely, wonderfulness together.

But you definitely don’t bite into the toffee and say oh, this tastes like saltines.

When I gave it to Scott and asked him what he thought was in it he said, “chocolate?”   Yes, good call, Einstein.  But he had no clue there was toffee in it.

This is an iPhone picture taken in a very hot Aruba kitchen at about 11:17pm the other night as the chocolate chips were poured over the almost finished crack saltine toffee.

Between the 86F degree evening, no A/C in the kitchen, the stovetop that I had on to boil the butter and sugar, and then the 350F oven that was on, I’m pretty sure you could have fried an egg on my forehead I was so hot.

Same thing when I was trying to take the pictures the next day.  It was literally melting before my eyes.

The brown sugar + butter base and the chocolate top?  Not exactly Caribbean heatproof.  Best to keep this stuff chilled or at normal (wintertime in the U.S.) room temperatures

But this stuff was well worth every hot, melty moment.

Chocolate Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack) - This stuff lives up to it's name and is extremely addictive! Salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy and a holiday favorite everyone loves! Easy recipe at

Print Recipe

Chocolate Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack)

They don't call this stuff 'Christmas Crack' for nothing. It's easy to make, extremely addictive, and combines a salty, sweet, crunchy, and chewy into a holiday favorite.

Yield: one 9x13 pan

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 to 7 minutes

Total Time: about 1 hour, for cooling


30 to 40 saltine crackers (I used about 32 crackers)
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar, packed (I used half light and half dark because that's what I had)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used one 12-ounce bag of TJ's semi sweet morsels, also see optional note below)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 9 x 13 pan or similar with aluminum foil and spray it very well with cooking spray. Do not try to make this without using foil; you will hate yourself.
  2. Place saltine crackers in a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Some recipes suggest using a jelly roll pan which may allow for a slightly bigger batch, i.e. 40 crackers, but it's a bit too shallow for my comfort zone and didn't want any bubble-overs.
  3. In a saucepan on the stovetop, combine butter and sugar and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Once a boil is reached, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened some.  Take care not that your simmer is not too fast/too high because it will be prone to bubbling over or scorching.  Stir mixture frequently while it simmers to avoid bubbling over or scorching. The taste of burnt butter and sugar is awful so don't burn it.
  4. After mixture has thickened a bit, remove it from the heat, wait 30 seconds, add the vanilla extract and stir.
  5. Pour mixture over the prepared pan with the saltine crackers.
  6. Bake in for 5- 7 minutes, or until toffee/liquid becomes bubbly.
  7. After removing the pan from the oven, let it rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips and wait for 3 to 5 minutes, letting them soften and melt a bit, and then spread and smooth them into an even layer with a spatula. Optional:  After smoothing the chocolate, add nuts, seeds, graham cracker crumbs, toffee bits, dried fruit, candy bits, or swirl in some peanut butter or other nut butter. Or use other types of chips, such as butterscotch, white, peanut butter, etc. either in addition to or in a half-and-half  combination with the dark chocolate chips for your top layer.
  9. Let cool very well and if desired for expediting purposes, refrigerate or freeze until hardened.  Break into pieces the size of your choice. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months. To keep gluten free, use GF crackers or make your own GF saltine crackers. To keep vegan, use margarine/Earth Balance and use a vegan cracker


Have you ever tried Christmas Crack, Chocolate Saltine Toffee, or something similar?

What’s the most addictive holiday treat you make or like to eat at someone else’s house?

I am going to say the White Chocolate Peanut Butter Vanilla Puppy Chow ranks right up there for me.

Or else the original dark chocolate puppy chow, too.

Edited to add: The Chocolate Saltine Toffee was featured on FoodGawker where the editors of Martha Stewart and Martha’s Circle noticed it and featured it on Martha Stewart’s site.

See this post for more info.

The news and feature made for one of my happiest and proudest blogging moments.  To say I was shocked, but incredibly honored, is an understatement.


  1. Oh this looks really great! I can only imagine the heat in your kitchen while making that!!

  2. Oh, this toffee is just delightful! Lovely recipe :)

  3. I freeze all of my desserts too, including the time I made this crack. Straight from the freezer, oh my goodness. Sooooo good!!!!!

  4. Yes, that does look like it would be as addictive as crack! mmmm

  5. My grandmother — my Dad’s mom, not my Yaya — used to make something just like this each Christmas, and the whole family was duly obsessed. Great and nostalgic recipe!

  6. I have pretty much been making this non stop lately anywhere hubster or I go where we need a gift this has been it

  7. God, I love this stuff. And yes, it is like crack :) I’ve made it with matzoh, too, but that’s really just a way to actually make matzoh palatable! Definitely better with saltines!

    • My hubs is Jewish and said if this was served at the sweets table at a bar mitzvah, no one would leave the table til this stuff was polished off…I took that as high praise but he said he thinks it would be better with the saltines but I dont think he’d notice re the matzoh either. lol

  8. I’ve never seen these – but I love toffee. what a fun (and easy) idea for either gifts, or to take up to the office for holiday parties. I’m thinking you could easily to white chocolate and get the colored sugar sprinkles to make them festive

  9. I have not tried Christmas Crack or anything similar but they do sound very wonderful and addictive!

  10. ahah love the comment from Scott. Men have a one track mind no? This looks awesome, salty and sweet is truly a winning combo. I bet some peppermint crushed on top would make a great addition too!

  11. Christmas crack… ya, I could go for that! Bark is SO hard to photograph (I recently learned) I guess the all white subject didn’t help me much. I love the way you captured it. Gotta ask – did you do all this pre-work before you went down to Aruba? You’ve been dishing out the recipes, I don’t know how you do it!

  12. I just ate a piece of this for breakfast. Not kidding. #addicted

  13. I’m excited to make this and give as gifts by making the gluten free saltine cracker recipe you shared — thanks Averie!

    • You can just buy Glutino brand saltines or similar, or your local WFs or other specialty store should likely have something suitable if you don’t want to make crackers first…just trying to save you some time :) But if you wanna make saltines first and THEN bake with them, you totally rock!

    • haha, I think I want to make things harder for myself. Once Andrew made these AMAZING rosemary crackers and we haven’t been able to duplicate them since — so I’m excited to give it a try…perhaps using butter instead of shortening, though — we’ll see. Playing around in the kitchen on weekends has been my thing lately — and if all else fails, yes, glutino to the rescue!

    • I always feel the need to reinvent the wheel..over and over…I even reinvent my own wheels that I already reinvented. It’s like WHY? do I do this sometimes..but most times, I just can’t help myself. I 100% understand your cracker attempts :)

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  15. My sister-in-law made this once and I seriously could not stop eating it. Addicting. Which is why I never asked her for the recipe. This stuff is dangerous!

  16. TWO sticks of butter?!?! This is my kind of recipe!

  17. I know a lot of people who do this with Matza during Passover. Pretty much the only way I like to eat matza.

    • scott told me that jews at a sweets table would be fressing this til it was gone. (he’s jewish and told me that no one would care what was going on at a wedding, bar mitzvah, etc if this was put out for he said better off with saltines that matzoh anyway..ha!)

  18. I am scared to make this for fear I’d eat the whole batch in one sitting! It looks amazing and I adore the sweet + salty (as evidenced by my salted chocolate toffee cookie swap contribution). Thanks for the warning about the foil lining. I imagine I would in fact hate myself without it. :)

  19. I think my pants just burst open. That’s cool, though. Totally worth it.

  20. I have been dying to make this – and I’m pretty sure you just inspired me!!

  21. Averie! these hit one of my favorite flavor combinations! yum! awesome photography work too

  22. Yesterday was my first time making “bark” and now I think I’m hooked. I think I would be severly addicted to this with the salt + sweet combo. The heat may not be good for pictures but considering my hands are icicles as I type this because I’m too cheap to turn my heat up higher than 68 in my house, I’d take it the trade off ;)

  23. I’ve heard of this but never knew how to make it!! LOVE!!

  24. When I first glanced at the title I thought it said “Chocolate Sardine Toffee”!!! I had to blink a few times and re-read it LOL. Looks YUMMY, I’ll have to make some! How unique too!

  25. like lauren, i’ve heard of this but have never made it before… i always thought it looked amazing! almost like a homemade heath bar. and it’s funny that you mentioned using the word ‘crack’ because i made some cupcakes for the breaking bad finale & called them ‘blue crystal cupcakes’ & some of the top searches that lead to my blog are about meth haha. i’m sure they are super disappointed when all the see are cupcakes.

  26. This line made me smile: “But because I didn’t want a bunch of crack addicts Stumbling my site, I kept certain words out of the recipe title.” Too funny!

    Your recipe sounds awesome!

  27. Thanks for your Christmas card – I have Skylar hanging on my fridge!

    And you know I love Christmas Crack — I made some this year with chopped pecans on top and it was so good!

    Happy Holidays :)

  28. I made a toffee chex mix last Christmas that was totally crack. I ate an entire bag of it with all of it’s toffee, chex, and nuts – awesome yummy goodness.

  29. Do they make gluten-free saltines?! I wish! I may have to try with some other gluten-free cracker! :)

  30. Love the salty sweet combo! Looks super good and easy :)

  31. I’m not gonna lie, I noticed your sweaty chocolate and figured you must still be in Aruba. You betch. :)

    Next year, I want to be just like you! Although, next year our long trip will be Europe, so perhaps the islands winter 2013 and every. year. after.

    Oh – and thanks for the comment on my hair – I actually just cut off about 12 inches [gasp] a few weeks ago!


  32. The most addictive holiday treat that I make is Old Dutch caramel corn … my friends devour it.

  33. I bet Christmas Crack is accurate—this stuff looks crazy addicting!

  34. My sister makes this, it is like HEAVEN!! so dangerous and addicting…

  35. I have been making these for years. They are totally addictive :)

  36. These were a huge hit in the holiday bake=athon last year. I loved them, everyone else loved them, and they were EASY to make. Although, I think the 7 layer bars were even easier, if only because you only need one pan – the one you cook it in.

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  38. Oh wow! These toffee bars look amazing! Pretty cool that you can use saltines, I never seen that! Your pics of Aruba are beautiful!

  39. I have made these chocolate toffee saltine crackers before and they are amazing! I think I ate the entire batch myself, but who remembers these things………….. Coincidentally, I have also made the kind using Matzo. The only real difference is that the matzo doesn’t have a nice layer of salt like the saltine crackers, so you have to add a nice sprinkle of kosher or sea salt on top. Definitely only make these if having others over or as gifts to prevent you from eating them all yourself :) I wonder if they taste even better while looking at beautiful scenery in warm luxurious settings such as Aruba?

    • thanks for the comparison of the matzah vs. saltine crack.

      and “I wonder if they taste even better while looking at beautiful scenery in warm luxurious settings such as Aruba?” — as long as they dont melt before you get the pics taken. lol

  40. So glad this is easily veganized. Saltines remind me of mom, they themselves are addictive!

  41. Yeah, this looks like holiday crack for sure, yum! Great job! And I like that it’s easily vegan used too, great recipe option.

  42. We call this “ghetto roca” or “white trash cookies” but Christmas Crack is much better!

  43. DUDE! I love salt and chocolate together! I must make these!!!

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  46. I love this stuff! Just made some last Sunday and, yes, Christmas Crack is an appropriate name for it!!! I had to take it to my mom’s or I would have eaten it all!!! Wanted to have some for Christmas for the rest of the family.

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  48. I make reindeer poop! Seriously, it’s crack!

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  50. Holy cow! (Can you hear my Canadian accent?) Seriously. YUM. Ohhhhh yum. Eloquence escapes me. Yummm…!

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