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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4.47 from 56 votes

Chocolate Saltine Toffee

By Averie Sunshine
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
Servings: 40 servings
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Ingredients  

  • 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)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, I used one 12-ounce bag of TJ’s semi sweet morsels

Instructions 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • After mixture has thickened a bit, remove it from the heat, wait 30 seconds, add the vanilla extract and stir.
  • Pour mixture over the prepared pan with the saltine crackers.
  • Bake in for 5- 7 minutes, or until toffee/liquid becomes bubbly.
  • After removing the pan from the oven, let it rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • 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)
  • 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.

Notes

  • *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

Serving: 1, Calories: 133kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 32mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 12g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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!!

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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.

4.47 from 56 votes (41 ratings without comment)

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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.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Just a little hint. I happened to pick up mini-semi-sweet chips for my 2nd attempt. SO MUCH faster to melt! You might want to get those if available. Otherwise, great recipe. Taking them to our church’s Ladies’ Christmas Tea in the morning. How many do you think I’ll bring back? LOL

  2. 5 stars
    Just a little hint. I happened to pick up mini-semi-sweet chips for my 2nd attempt. SO MUCH faster to melt! You might want to get those if available. Otherwise, great recipe. Taking them to our church’s Ladies’ Christmas Tea in the morning. How many do you think I’ll bring back? LOL

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad that this turned out great! This is an oldie but a goodie and I bet you have zero leftovers! Great tip too about the mini chips melting faster!

  3. 5 stars
    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….

  4. 5 stars
    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….

  5. 5 stars
    It is not everyone’s business to write such a great post, one person in a million can write such a beautiful post and you are one of those millions. I hope that you will write more beautiful posts in life and also hope that you will keep climbing the ladder of achievement in your life, very few people do this but I have full hope from you.

    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.

    2. Also, as I noted in my comment, I got (by mistake) the mini-size semi-sweet chips. They melted much faster. I’ll look for those from now on.

  6. 3 stars
    I made this for the first time…it is good but very rich. Not sure I will make it again…for me the saltines separated from the chocolate on quite a bit of the recipe….it did not break apart like I expected it to. I followed the recipe very carefully, so not sure what went wrong.

    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.