Chocolate Saltine Toffee


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Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack Recipe) — They don’t call this stuff ‘Christmas Crack’ for nothing. It’s easy to make, extremely addictive, and combines salty, sweet, crunchy, and chewy into a holiday favorite.

christmas crack

Christmas Crack Recipe

I’ve heard this saltine cracker 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.

pieces of christmas crack on white table

This Christmas crack 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 Christmas crack candy so I’m 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.

Note that there is no saltine cracker taste, despite its being saltine cracker bark. 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.

stacks of saltine toffee on parchment paper squares

Below 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. The Christmas candy crack 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 saltine toffee was well worth every hot, melty moment.

saltine cracker toffee before baking

What’s in This Christmas Crack Recipe?

To make this saltine toffee recipe, you’ll need:

  • Saltine crackers
  • Unsalted butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips

stacks of christmas crack candy on parchment paper squares

How to Make Christmas Crack

Before making the saltine cracker toffee, line a 9×13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Do NOT try making this Christmas crack recipe without the foil — you’ll hate yourself later if you skip this step. 

Place the Saltine crackers in a single layer in the baking dish. Then, add the butter and sugar to a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened some.

Stir the vanilla extract into the thickened butter mixture, then pour over the Saltines in the baking dish. Bake for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the toffee topping is bubbly. 

Once out of the oven, sprinkle the saltine cracker toffee with 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.

Let the Christmas crack cool completely on your countertop, then break into pieces and enjoy! 

stacks of saltine toffee

Why Won’t My Chocolate Chips Melt?

Chocolate chips are designed to resist melting, and some are less prone to melting than others. If your chocolate chips don’t seem to be melting, pop the saltine toffee back into the oven after it’s been turned off. Let the toffee sit in the oven for a couple minutes to speed up the melting process. 

What Brand of Chocolate Chips Do You Recommend? 

I like to bake with Trader Joe’s semi-sweet morsels. You could also use a chopped up chocolate bar. 

box of saltine crackers

Can I Make This Christmas Crack Gluten-Free?

Yes, you can easily make this saltine cracker toffee by using gluten-free Saltines. 

christmas crack

Tips for Making This Christmas Crack Recipe

When boiling the butter and sugar, take care that your simmer is not too fast or too high because the mixture is prone to bubbling over or scorching. Stir the mixture frequently while it simmers to avoid either from happening. 

After you’ve smoothed the chocolate over the saltine toffee, you’re welcome to add nuts, seeds, graham cracker crumbs, toffee bits, dried fruit, candy bits, or swirl in some peanut butter or other nut butter.

You can also use other types of baking chips — such as butterscotch, white chocolate, or peanut butter — either in addition to or in a half-and-half combination with the dark chocolate chips for your top layer.

Chocolate Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack)

How Long Does Christmas Crack Last? 

If stored in an airtight container, this saltine toffee will last for up to 2 weeks at room temperature or in the freezer for up to 4 months. 

Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack Recipe) — They don’t call this stuff ‘Christmas Crack’ for nothing. It’s easy to make, extremely addictive, and combines salty, sweet, crunchy, and chewy into a holiday favorite.

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Yield: 40 servings

Chocolate Saltine Toffee

Chocolate Saltine Toffee

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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 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)


    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.
    4. 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.
    5. After mixture has thickened a bit, remove it from the heat, wait 30 seconds, add the vanilla extract and stir.
    6. Pour mixture over the prepared pan with the saltine crackers.
    7. Bake in for 5- 7 minutes, or until toffee/liquid becomes bubbly.
    8. After removing the pan from the oven, let it rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
    9. 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. * (see note below)
    10. Let cool very well and if desired for expediting purposes, refrigerate or freeze until hardened. Break into pieces the size of your choice.
    11. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 4 months.


  • *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.
  • To keep this recipe gluten-free, use GF crackers or make your own GF saltine crackers. To keep vegan, use margarine/Earth Balance and use a vegan cracker.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 32mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g

More Easy Holiday Desserts: 

Reindeer Chow — A holiday twist on classic Muddy Buddies that’s EASY, ready in 15 minutes, and perfect for hostess gifts or cookie exchanges!! Chex, chocolate, peanut butter, pretzels, M&M’s, and sprinkles make this dessert snack mix totally IRRESISTIBLE!!

Reindeer Chow

White Chocolate Holiday Fudge — This EASY foolproof white chocolate fudge recipe is perfect for Christmas and holiday parties!! A double dose of white chocolate with an Oreo Cookie crust for the WIN!!

White Chocolate Holiday Fudge

Graham Cracker Toffee — If you’re looking for a recipe that will disappear at holiday parties, cookie exchanges, neighborhood potlucks, or school bake sales, this graham cracker toffee is a guaranteed winner.

Graham Cracker Toffee

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls — EASY, NO-BAKE chocolate peanut butter balls that are a holiday favorite!! They have it all: Salty, sweet, crunchy, with chocolate and peanut butter! Great for cookie exchanges or impromptu parties!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Melt In Your Mouth Toffee – Irresistible, buttery, ADDICTIVE, and just melts in your mouth!! EASY and perfect for holiday parties, gift-giving, or cookie exchanges!!

Melt in your mouth toffee

Holiday Special K Bars — Super chewy, gooey, FAST, easy, no-bake cereal bars loaded with peanut butter, chocolate, and sprinkles!! Like scotcheroos but with Special K! Great for impromptu hostess gifts or cookie exchanges because they’re irresistible!!

Holiday Special K Bars

White Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookie Balls — This Oreo balls recipe uses just 4 simple ingredients! If you’re looking for an easy no-bake dessert for cookie swaps or gift exchanges, this is it!

White Chocolate-Dipped Oreo Cookie Balls

Edited to add: This 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.

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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  1. Averie, I love the complete and explicit instructions in this recipe. No guessing on the part of the person making it. It is most delicious. Thank You….

    Rating: 5
    1. I agree. The cheaper chips don’t tend to have as many stabilizers as say Nestle Tollhouse which are much more resistant to melting.

    1. Relax Marilyn. It was a tongue-in-cheek joke.

      After all, Paula did have a huge racial scandal a few years ago if you recall.

      Make who’s ever recipe you want to make and have a joyous holiday season.

    1. I never have tried it so can’t say for sure how it will work, if they will hold up the same after the sauce is poured all over them.

  2. I make this every year as my nephews (and my kids) expect it. I put Skor toffee bits on before putting the chocolate chips on the crackers. It gives it a little more “toffee” crunch to it! And I put it in the freezer to set before breaking it into pieces. Always works out perfectly!

    Rating: 5
  3. I made this for the first time and it was so easy! My coworkers loved it and have all asked for a link to the recipe.

    Rating: 5
  4. I feel like my toffee is still soft even though it’s been in the fridge for several hours! I made this before and it got hard so that I could snap it apart but the butter sugar part is still soft even squeezed!

    1. From what you described, I would say you under-boiled/cooked the butter-sugar a bit and it didn’t get hot enough to set up properly, i.e. you have caramel sauce rather than toffee. Next time cook a bit longer or at a more rapid boil and you will be fine.

    1. Whether or not you coated your foil too much, I don’t think that would have made the crackers appreciably softer, or too soft, in comparison to the very wet butter-sugar mixture that’s poured over them. They get soft from that, but not mushy-soft.

      Not sure why they seem soft…hard to guess from afar. But thanks for trying the recipe.

  5. I just made my third batch. Only thing is the sugar mixtures doesn’t seem to spread but rather pool in the middle. Maybe is my cookie sheet?

  6. I would like to make this but I was wondering if you could substitute honey for the brown sugar. I have made a kind of oatmeal cookie where the oatmeal was stirred into a mixture of honey and butter that was boiled together and they were very good. What do you think?

    1. For this recipe I have only used sugar and am not sure if honey would work or how things would set up without doing a lot of testing on your own.

  7. Hi Averie, my sister also lives in Aruba and I will forward this recipe to her. I am also going to make this myself.

  8. I’m thinking Paula Deen meant pine, as in to yearn… to crave, not the evergreen. just a guess… LOL! If so, cute pun…

  9. I, too, have been making this recipe since the early 1980s. It was called Chocolate Crunch at that time. A dear friend gave me this recipe, but since the name was a bit boring and we both had toddlers who loved the Muppets, she renamed it “Fraggle Rock,” and the name stuck. Lol. I have given a batch to each member of the family for Christmas for years, and it has become expected by everyone. In fact, they are quite possessive about it and compare their batches to make certain no one person received more than another. They will share with others, but very reluctantly. BTW, I have always used salted butter, but no vanilla. I have used the stove and the microwave for melting and boiling the butter and brown sugar, but it turns out better when done in a pan on the stove. My recipe calls for the oven temp to be 400, so by the time it all goes in, it must be watched very carefully or it will burn. It is supposed to stay in the oven for 7 minutes, but that is just a guide. Mine never made it past 5 minutes. After that the directions specifically state that the pan should be removed from the oven rack and placed flat on the lowered oven door. Then the chocolate chips are sprinkled evenly on top of the toffee, and as they melt, the chocolate should be spread evenly with the back of a spoon. I let the pan cool for a while on a wire rack and then transfer to the fridge until cold. Then I break it apart and store in the freezer in an air-tight container.

    I will be sure to tell my friend about the new name. Too funny!

    1. I think this general recipe has been around for decades, going by different names, and with slight variations in the method/directions, but overall the same finished product and oh so good, as you know!

  10. When trying to break/cut these apart after they were completely cooled, the chocolate layer kept separating from the toffee layer. Do you know what might have caused this to happen? Want to make these for a friend’s retirement party and need them to look good. Thanks!

    1. Not sure why the chocolate is separating but I would try another brand of chocolate chips and see what happens. Also make sure you wait sufficiently long so it really has a chance to set up and harden and you’re not prematurely breaking it apart.

  11. I just made this for the first time!i was actually worried that I wouldn’t make the toffee correctly or that is would be soft like many others reported.  I found out that not stirring the sugar/butter while it’s simmering is the best method, and that came out fine. It’s the chocolate chips I was upset about. I used toll house semi sweet chips, and put them on top, put them in the oven for 3 minutes, not a single one melted, put them back for another 3 minutes, still had their shape, not one was melting and what’s funny is, they were almost burning! Not quite but close, so I had to squish them around and they were very course, not creamy and meaty at all! I was very displeased that this occurred! I use those chips for my fudge making and it’s always perfect! Ugh! How frustrating, I was so close to success the first go at this! I think next time, I will either pre melt the chips and just spoon on and spread, or buy other chocolate that melts faster.

    1. I have found some brands of chips to melt much easier than others and Nestle Tollhouse are not one of those that melts easily. The chips have stabilizers to help them keep their shape – more so than other brands I’ve tried. Glad the toffee came out great and just switch chip brands next time and you’ll be set!

    1. Some brands of chocolate chips are very resistant to melting. If you have access to Trader Joe’s, their chips melt very easily.

    2. make sure the chocolate chips are not expired. I had that with white choc. chips and they would not melt.

    3. Mine also did not melt!! Next time I will use Hershey bars. I was very disappointed in the end result in something that should have been so simple. I was using new nestles morsels.

    4. After I put my chips on, I put the pan back into the oven (it’s off, but still hot) for 3 or 4 minutes to soften the chocolate. So easy to spread after that. I also top it with crushed up pretzels.i

  12. Lol! Congrats on being featured on Martha Stewart, but I think she needs some older editors! I’ve been making this candy since the late 70’s. 
    BTW, the original name of “Pine Bark”, given by Paula Deen, referred to the addition of sliced almonds to the top of the chocolate, resembling a pine cone. Not in the original recipe, but perhaps a new twist, just to change it up a bit.
    Again, congrats on bringing an oldie, but goodie, to a new light. 

  13. I did a batch that turned out fine using Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips, but when I tried to do a second batch using white chocolate ships and crushed peppermint candy for the the topping, it didn’t work at all.  The white Nestle’s chocolate chips would not melt like the other ones and it was impossible to spread it.

    1. White chocolate chips can be very finicky to melt in general. If you have access to a Trader Joe’s, their white chocolate chips melt much easier I’ve found than many other brands. Glad it worked like a charm with semi-sweet!

  14. I can’t eat chocolate so after I pour mixture over saltines, I add chopped pecans. Taste just like pecan pie to me.

    1. Maybe the chocolate chips weren’t getting quite as much carryover heat as they needed from the pan and were a bit resistant to melting?

      Some brands of chips are also just more resistant to melting and I’ve learned over the years which brands work better for me. But it sounds like things worked out in the end for you.

  15. You don’t actually have to go the extra step of boiling on the stove. Pop your sugar and butter in the microwave until the butter is melted. Stir till sugar is dissolved and follow all the other normal steps. SOOOO much easier. I’ve been making this for more than 20 years!

  16. Im so bummed. I made these to give as gifts to neighbors for Valentine’s day and they turned out HORRIBLE. I followed the directions EXACTLY and the toffee part was gooey and not even severable. What a wast of money.

    1. Making toffee and candy can sometimes be a little tricky and you don’t always want to follow the directions ‘exactly’ because what works in my kitchen and environment with my pots and pans may change slightly for you. It sounds like based on what you said you simply didn’t boil the mixture long enough or with enough gusto. I would recommend increasing the boiling time slightly next time to avoid gooeyness and it’ll set up much better.

  17. Have you ever tried using margin instead of butter? I have everything else to make it. or would that be a big mistake?

    1. I haven’t tried margarine and don’t think it will work the best….you could try it and see what happens. LMK how it goes!

    1. Don’t use margarine unless you really have to. You can really taste the difference. Salted or unsalted butter is fine.

  18. So excited to see how mine turned out, cooling now. My question is can you use salted butter? I only had 2 sticks of unsalted and have enough ingredients for another batch but with salted.

  19. I’m sorry but mine came out grainy too. I’ve made these before, using a different recipe, and made caramel before with no problems. After a little searching I found that over – stirring after it boils can cause graininess. Also, most other recipes boiled for less time and baked for less/cooler over. Maybe it’s over – cooking slightly, causing graininess

    1. Stirring *can* cause graininess because you are possibly interjecting the molecules on the side of the pan into the mixture and those may not be the same ‘texture’ per se as the main mixture in the pan. I’ve read a lot about graininess with candy-making and it seems that is really what is happening and one way to counter act that is to wipe down the side of the pan with a paper towel or damp pastry brush; I have never had to do that in this recipe but everyone’s kitchen equipment and set up is a bit different. Over-cooking wouldn’t necessarily cause graininess but would cause the caramel to turn more rock-like. Sometimes with recipes like these there is a trial and error component – thanks for trying it and sounds like a few tweaks next time and you’ll be all set!

    1. There are recipe online for using graham crackers and maybe even in the comments some people have used graham crackers, can’t quite remember…but yes, I know it’s possible. I just never have.

  20. Made these last night – with the exception of almost starting a small kitchen fire (eek) they were incredibly easy! Thank you for sharing this will be a new holiday go- to in our house!

    xo Rachel

    1. Glad it will be a new holiday go-to and eek about the almost fire…that sounds like something I would do :)

  21. Has anyone thought of trying wavy lays? I always had a craving back when I was pregnant and everyone thought I was crazy. Do you think it will hold up the same? Im kinda thinking my chips will go soggy :(

    1. I don’t think they are thick enough and would get soggy and not hold up under the steaming hot caramely mixture that gets poured over them. Less of a soggy issue than just a support issue – too flimsy I fear. But it’s a great thought.

      1. I tweeked the recipe a bit. I boiled sugar and butter til hard ball stage. Poured it over wavy lays, then drizzled melted chocolate in top and put it in the freezer. I cut out a few steps and it still tasted yummy! I think next time I’ll add almonds to the toffee! Thanks for your recipe, ill definitely try it with crackers too! :)

  22. Is it possible to use almond bark instead of chocolate chips? I have 6 pkgs of it on hand and need to use it up. Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it.

  23. I made this today and had to keep four of the DGKs fingers out of it. I had a little snip of it, and it tastes yummy. Now, there was not enough room in my 9×13 for 32 or more crackers without doubling up, and I didn’t double up. Lots of melted creamy chocolate that I think would have covered a sided cookie sheet with no problem. I sprinkled Heath’s bits o’ brickle over the top. I could have eaten the whole bag. I’ll try with a larger pan the next time with sides, but not fill the whole sheet with crackers but use the recommended amount as per your recipe.

    1. The recipe is quite forgiving and can vary based on exact cracker dimensions, exact pan size dimensions, so just kind of eyeball it and use how many ever you need. Glad it turned out great for you! The Heath bits sound perfect!

  24. I made this and it is terrible! The carmel/toffee is grainy and the toffee went through the crackers to glue them to the foil! It is inedible. Any ideas?

    1. You’re making caramel sauce essentially and you may wish to google ‘grainy caramel sauce’ or ‘ways to prevent caramel from turning grainy’ and research the changes you need to make. Ive written my suggestions if you re-read the comments to another person who wrote with this issue. Candy-making is a delicate operation and doesn’t always go as planned – just keep trying!

  25. Made these for a work Christmas party, and they taste wonderful! Only problem is that the toffy bottom is really gooey and sticky. Sticking to the plate, each other, and everyone’s fingers. Went almost straight from the oven to the fridge for overnight storing. Do you have this issue? And if not, thoughts?

    1. No I did not but you are essentially making caramel sauce and most people over-cook and end up with rock hard sauce whereas I think you *slightly* undercooked and therefore it was on the runny side. Use your judgment and cook a bit longer next time and see if that does that trick!

  26. I love this recipe! I made it for a Christmas party I went to this week and it was a huge hit. I should have made two batches. This is definitely going in my favorite dessert recipe file.

    1. Thanks for trying it and glad it’s going in the favorite dessert recipe file! And yes to a double batch next time :)

  27. I am looking to make these vegan and have some earth balance in my fridge but on a tight budget to buy the vegan chocolate chips. Can I simply use dark chocolate broken into pieces or will they not melt correctly?
    Thanks in advance xx

    1. I think they will be just fine! And just so you know, MANY (not all, so read the labels) but most semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips are inherently vegan and you don’t need to buy ‘special vegan chips’. I learned this when I was vegan; of course read labels. Trader Joe’s chips are naturally vegan but not sure if you have one near you. Just for future reference. Please LMK how the vegan version of this comes out!

  28. Made a batch today and immediately was asked to make more, so I did! They’re so good and easy to make! Great for the holidays :)

    1. I love that you made a double batch of this today! And that it turned out so well and easy for you – that’s wonderful!

  29. You said you used about 32 saltine crackers in a 9×13 dish.
    I could only fit 26 crackers in my 9×13 glass dish…
    Did you use smaller crackers?
    I just hope this isn’t too sweet with less crackers??

    1. All pans vary in size and so do crackers. I wouldn’t worry about it at all. I’m sure it will be just fine.

  30. I learned this in high school home ec, and we called it “Cracker Candy.” I have made it at least once a year for the past 35 years. I have never used aluminum foil. Yes, you have to soak the pan in hot water for cleaning, but it’s not a big deal. Any cookie sheet/jelly roll pan with full edges works fine. It doesn’t boil over. For the people that ended with a gooey mass, they may have used vegetable oil spread instead of butter. It is absolutely essential to use real butter in this recipe. I always boiled the brown sugar/butter for 3 min. and baked it for 5 min, although in a slightly hotter oven. I never tried adding vanilla, but may do that next time. To this day, it is the easiest and most popular treat I make.

    1. Glad to hear you’ve been making this for 35 years and that it’s the most popular treat you make! An oldie but a goodie!

  31. Should the toffee be crisp/crunchy or should it melt into the cracker? I’ve made this recipe a few times and haven’t figured out the right consistency. I seem to undercook or overcook each time :(

    1. It’s sort of like a crispy/crunchy/chewy all in one. The cracker/coating-toffee is sort of a chewy and then there’s the chocolate, and when that firms up, it has a nice ‘snap’ so I don’t know exactly how to answer your question…there’s all kinds of textures in one!

      1. Thanks for the feedback! The cracker definitely gives it a nice crunch, but the sugar mixture has always been hit or miss for me.

    1. With candy-making and sugar boiling in general, it’s not really the time to experiment (unless you’re up for it!) because I don’t know if it will work or not and if it will set up, or not.

  32. Omg, this looks so good! I may need to make this over the holidays. I know my boyfriend’s family would love it!

  33. You don’t mention if you need to grease the pan or use a non-stick pan…doesn’t it stick to the pan?

  34. Thank you for the picture tutorial. I like to see how the ingredients come together. My neighbor gave me some Christmas crack as a gift. Let me tell you, it is delicious. Can’t wait to make some myself. Merry Christmas!

  35. I’ve only ever made them with foil. Parchment doesn’t make a nice, tight seal in the corners of pans which is why I don’t prefer it.

  36. I cooked 3 batches last weekend and mailed off to my nephew who is currently stationed at Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan. He just emailed me today saying he received them today and shared with his unit…they are now all gone!! So thank you for this recipe! :)

    1. What an awesome comment to receive and what an amazing thing you did, sending these all the way to Afghanistan! I love it that they were shared with the unit – 3 batches I bet disappeared in no time! Have a wonderful holiday season and thanks for sharing this great story. Stories like this are awesome to hear! :)

    1. Yes you probably didn’t boil it long enough or let it reach a high enough temperature so it’s in the gooey/runny stage, rather than setting up – and/or you may not have baked long enough.

    1. I haven’t tried them but I’m sure they’ll be fine. A little messier since you won’t be able to line them up flush in the pan since they’re round and not square but overall, fine I’m sure. LMK how they work.

  37. I’m thinking about trying it substituting RiceChex for the saltines–kind of like a nestle crunch bar–just a thought because I bought 6 boxes awhile back on a tremendous sale

    1. LMK if it works. I worry a bit that the Rice Chex will get very soggy and not hold up well to the boiling hot sugary liquid since Chex are much more ‘delicate’ than a Saltine. LMK how it goes!

      1. The only problem is that I should have made another batch. I made one and split it into two containers. One to take to my future in laws for lunch tomorrow, and one to serve at home for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night. So far, my fiance has eaten almost an entire container! Looks like I’ll be making more tomorrow morning…

  38. I want to make a bunch of this and give it away during the holidays. I was wondering if you can freeze it and if it gets soggy once it thaws? It would be rather embarrassing to ship soggy candy to relatives!

    1. I honestly don’t even think you need to freeze it unless you live in a very warm climate, i.e. I was vacationing in Aruba when I made this and my kitchen was literally 90F so I stored it in the freezer (as I do almost everything there b/c it melts at room temp) but if you’re just shipping within the US at this time of year, I honestly wouldn’t even bother freezing it unless you’re shipping to South Fla. I mean you can freeze it, and no, I found no issues with sogginess but you may want to run a trial batch now!

  39. Yum! making this for a neighborhood party tonight. saved the link on pinterest and using it today. thanks for sharing!

  40. We’ve been making these for 20 years, but with graham crackers. I’ll have to try the saltines and see what the family thinks!

    1. Oh wow with graham crackers, huh! I have heard of with matzoh crackers but never with graham. I may have to try that! I think you’ll love it with the saltines. Gives that salty/sweet quality that’s even more addictive!

  41. My mom used to make this – not around Christmas though. And my goodness, it is crack, just like you said. I need to make this for myself soon.

  42. Going to make this tonight…but was wondering how the bottom of the crackers get covered in chocolate… you have to flip them over or anything??

    1. What you’re seeing in the photos is possibly a layer of toffee/caramel that’s dark on the bottom rather than chocolate. They’re not really covered in choc on the undersides.

      From stacking them on top of each other for the photos, I’m sure some chocolate rubbed off from the top of one to the bottom of the other, but they’re only coated on one side.

      Plus, there is a melting/seepage factor going on – this is a messy dessert! And I also made it in the 90F Caribbean heat. No need to flip. Just make as written. You’ll love it!

  43. I make a version of this, but I use Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars on top. It is so
    addictive! I can see why you would call it ‘crack’. That’s my new name for this candy!!

  44. A friend got me hooked on this in high school- we call it “cracker candy”. Haven’t made it in a while but I am tempted now…

  45. I made this tonight and also experienced a grainy mess. I followed the directions exactly and went with the longer amounts of time listed…mit sure what the problem was but I was very disappointed.

    1. Your sugar crystallized. You likely had undissolved sugar crystals and that rendered the whole batch grainy. I wrote in detail about sugar crystallization and what to do to avoid it in this post.

      Also see

      Thanks for trying this and if you try again, be METICULOUS about scraping down the sides of your bowl so that all sugar is FULLY dissolved and you’ll be set next time.

  46. started making these and was half way through when I ran out of cooking spray. Can I use anything else. Like coconut oil or anything like that

  47. I made the chocolate Saltine toffee for my basket guild meeting this pass week end and everyone said it was sooo very good. The whole plate was eaten.

  48. i make a similar ‘toffee candy’. it’s made with condensed milk, no vanilla.
    i’d be willing to omit the extra calories & try your recipe…sounds good too!

  49. Hi,
    I made these 2 times in the last week and both times, the toffee was grainy and smooshy even after I left them in the fridge. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I thought the first time I made it, I didn’t simmer and stir enough and I didn’t bake in the oven long enough (3 min and 5 min, respectively) so I did them longer (5 min simmer+ stir, 7 min bake) but it still turned out grainy. :( Do you have any suggestions?

    1. I would venture to say you have undissovled sugar. If you have undissolved sugar, even 1 crystal, it can start a chain reaction and basically the whole thing will begin to crystallize. I would say to be very meticulous about scraping the sides of your saucepan or pan you’re using to cook with on your stovetop. Scrape it down with a spatula, make sure everything has been properly added to the body of the liquid, so it’s all cooking and there are no stray bits. That’s really the only thing I can think of – you are making candy here. Candy *can be* a very fussy process. Do some googling about crystallization, caramel-making, and lots of recipes will pop up and maybe you can self-correct your own issues from there. It’s so hard for me from afar to diagnose the problem! Good luck!

  50. Could I use Splenda brown sugar and sugar free chocolate ??? Im making big batches for gifts for family and friends but have a few people who are on low sugar diets.

    1. I really don’t know because the caramelization from the sugar is key for this recipe and I don’t know if brown sugar splenda will caramelize properly. Sugar free chocolate I’m sure will be fine. You can trial the splenda and see if it works or not…but honestly, there is no delicate way to put this – this is a rich, indulgent, special treat and if at all possible, make it as I instruct in the recipe with the ingredients I list. Just tell those individuals to eat a little less :)

  51. PS. I saw this recipe, or versions of, on many blogs… but your pictures always look the best, descriptions are so thorough, so I know exactly what I should be expecting, and recipes are clear and easy to follow!!

    1. THANK YOU! I try really hard to write my recipes in such a way that there are as little shades of gray as possible and if necessary/helpful, include step-by-step pics. I appreciate the feedback on why you chose my version and blog :)

      And I am so glad you had success with the recipe & loved the toffee!

    1. Honestly, it’s ridiculously decadent on it’s own. I am a huge fan of toppings, dips, sauces, frostings – the more the merrier – except this. This truly needs nothing! You could add anything from toffee bits to nuts but I promise, it’s really not needed!

    2. I use Skor toffee bits,nuts and Andes peppermint crunch baking chips (can usually find at Christmas)on top. Kids loved them. Have also used mini M&Ms with the nuts and toffee bits.

      1. I love the sounds of this! The Skor bar factor, mmmm, so good! And mini MMs and the mint Andes. All GREAT ideas!

  52. Made a vegan version of these to give to family and friends, to say they were a HUGE HIT, is an understatement. These are beyond delicious! Thank you so much!

    1. Dana – thanks for the field report & so happy they were a HUGE hit! I love comments like this & thanks for taking the time to LMK! It gets the name Xmas Crack for a reason as I’m sure you know now!

  53. I just tried making these and, even though they taste exactly like crack should taste like, they’re gooey on the bottom instead of crisp. Any ideas on what I did wrong? Thanks!

    1. It’s hard to say…maybe your caramel sauce was a bit thinner/runnier/more quantity than mine with, thus flooding the bottom more than mine. Maybe they should have been baked longer? Without photos or more info, hard to tell. I would say either increase baking time or reduce sauce, slightly, next time based on what you told me. Hard to tell from afar though! Thanks for trying the recipe and glad you enjoyed the taste!

    2. Mine did this too. I think I should have boiled/baked for longer. I was so afraid to scorch it that maybe I didn’t get it going enough.

      1. Yes it’s likely undercooked by just a tiny bit..a bit longer should do the trick next time!

  54. I’m going to try this, thank you. Loved reading your editorialized recipe and congrats on the shout out in Martha Stewart!

  55. I just made this and it turned out delicious! I am going to have to give some of this away, otherwise I’m about 46 seconds away from diabetes!

    1. Thanks for the field report – love hearing when people make my recipes & so glad it turned out so well that diabetes is looming :) It’s so good, right! It gets the Xmas Crack name for a reason..LOL

  56. I make them with graham crackers and they’re always a hit. I have to try the saltine method because I like the sweet and salty combo.

  57. I just made these for the first time. They were a hit and miss with me. All my fault though. I used chocolate chips and white chocolate chips, my plan was to marble them. WRONG!!!! The white chocolate chips did not melt. I would not recommend using them. Other than that, they were great! Thanks for sharing.

    1. You’re right – not an easy recipe for white chocolate chips. They’re hard to work with in general and in this application, probably fairly tricky to get then to melt if you melted them together. It’s possible to melt them separately, pour them over the crackers, and go from there but to try to melt them with the semi-sweet, probably a bit of a headache. But glad you liked it and were happy! Thanks for LMK you tried the recipe!

  58. I made these last night…it was sandy like texture instead of solid.. HELP…someone please help me and tell me what did I do wrong? The toffee was like sandy crystal sugar.. Did I not melt enough or melt too much?

  59. My mom used to make this when my sis & I were kids. We loved it! She had a stroke 6 years ago & when I asked her about it she didn’t remember. Finding this was wonderful because we all loved it. My mom & I will be making it together, I hope it triggers some memories. If not we will enjoy it & make new memories. Thank you for this recipe.

  60. I just remembered. I used the Land O Lakes olive oil and sea salt butter half sticks and that gave this treat just the right amount of salty, buttery flavor without as much fat.

  61. I made this today! I have been good for the past two weeks, and I was craving chocolate, pecans, and toffee like a mad woman. I was absolutely impressed with the way it turned out. Your instructions and describing the state changes of the toffee were excellent. I placed the pan with the chocolate chips on top in the oven again to melt all the way. I tried sprinkling turbinado sugar on top of the chocolate and pecans and turned the broiler on to get caramelized sugar pecans, but I didn’t wait for the sugar to burn a bit because I remembered that chocolate will not set properly if it burns. I stuck the pan in the freezer for 15 mins, and it is just awesome now that it’ set. Perfectly sweet-and-salty with a cup of black coffee. I will burn off the sugary snack tonight at Winterguard rehearsal. And maybe share some with friends.

    1. I am so happy that you loved this and found the directions clear and had success with the recipe. Thanks for the feedback and LMK it was such a hit!

  62. Averie this recipe sounds absolutely wonderful!! I have a party on Friday and will try this out!
    I always try to watch my sugar intake…but watch is what I will have to do with this!! Plus it’s the wrong time of year to worry about the weight. Have a great holiday and thanks for sharing!

    1. Please LMK if you end up trying it! The recipe itself has been done and redone umpteen zillion ways over the years and people seem to love it and all the versions on the theme. Love your “watch” sentiments and mentality – so true this time of year :)

  63. We’ve been making this for years! My mom got the recipe from a co-worker who got it from her grandmother, who said it was a Depression era thing. We call it Pioneer Toffee. Doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s still sooo very good!

  64. Averie, i’m totally making this for a work party in a few weeks. people won’t know what hit ’em!!! :)

  65. I remember making this with my grandmother…
    By the way, if you replace half of the butter/margarine with peanut butter it tastes even better–like a butterfinger bar.

  66. This is really good candy but i wanted to say that everyone does have a different name for it… in my neck of the woods we call it Poor Mans Almond Roca!!

  67. I make this too. We call it Mock Toffee. Mine did not turn out this year. I blame it on a different kind of Brown Sugar I found here. Usually, I have had brown sugar I bring over from America. But, I have had people eat it and said it was amazing. This is usually one of my favorite things to make at Christmas. This and Caramels. I still have a bunch in my fridge and grab a piece everytime I open the fridge to get something out. lol

  68. so happy I stopped over from Jane Deer Blog. Both your Chocolate Saltine Toffee and my Shortbread Cookies were featured last week. I have made some notes on some of your recipes and am going to bake with my kids this weekend!

  69. Just got over being sick and I have a sleeve of saltines left. Now that my appetite is back, I would love to drench them in butter and chocolate!

      1. They are cooling in the fridge. So excited to give them a try.
        THanks for all the tips and hints. It made whipping these up a cinch!

      2. You’re the second person today who said she’s making/made it…thanks for LMK and enjoy!!

      3. Just had to hide the Christmas Crack in the freezer.
        Soo good! Hope she is doing better on will power than I am…ha ha!

      4. glad it’s that good that it requires hiding :)

        and just saw your fluffy snickerdoodles..those have been on my to-make list too.

  70. you cracked me up (pun intended!) when you wrote how those crack addicts might feel when stumbling over your site… hahaha, I can totally IMAGINE them thinking “wow, cool, crack” and then “oooooooh, what is THAT?”. but I am sure they would give this recipe a go, anyways ;)

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

  72. 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.

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

  74. 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?

    1. 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

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

  76. 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.

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

  78. 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!


    1. sweaty chocolate, indeed. lol

      we come every year for December. And your hair…12 inches?! Wow! I think mine would be a half inch long if I cut off 12 on mine..haha!

    1. yes they do…I linked a few options in the recipe section of the post for GF crackers; look for the Glutino brand or I’m sure there are so many in the GF/cracker section of a WF’s store or similar

      1. Hahahah I took a phone call at work while I was reading this one and totally missed the GF links! You rock, Averie!! :D

  79. 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.

    1. that sounds fabulous…i LOVE chex mix, popcorn, those kind of crunchy snacks but sweet versions rather than savory.

  80. 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 :)

  81. 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!

  82. 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.

    1. that is too funny and exactly what I thought would happen…ha! it still may.

      tried to comment on your last post but my computer isnt pulling up your disqus system but anyway, thinking of you….great cookies!

  83. 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!

  84. 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 ;)

    1. now i know why your pics the past few days are so….crisp. and not melty. lol 68F will do that! Add 20+ here. Melt.City. lol

    1. thanks, Deborah, and for your comments on the previous posts, too.

      you’re a sweetheart for hitting them all up!

  85. 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. :)

    1. 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!)

  86. 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!

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

    1. 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!

      1. 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!

      2. 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 :)

  88. 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!

    1. girl, no, I have made this white stuff

      this white stuff

      and then today’s Crack all down here.

      nothing like white things AND bark to photograph under the best of circumstances..and not having my usual lighting AND combined with the HEAT…I was crazy. Next year’s recipe list is going to be less ambitious, or less heat sensitive and less white. I triple whammied myself..but knowing you just photographed white + bark, I know you understand the pitfalls!

  89. 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!

    1. and then he said that as Jews (he’s Jewish), 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 :)

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

  91. 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

    1. so many variations, yes, and if it was 120 degrees in my kitchen, I’d be all over that already…when I get back to S.D. :)

  92. 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!

    1. 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

  93. 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!

    1. And so sorry about your Grandma, again. Maybe if you made this in her honor…and if I lived closer, I’d make you some :)

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

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