Chocolate Saltine Toffee

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 recipe

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.

making saltine cracker toffee

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 meant for saltine toffee recipe

Can I Make This Christmas Crack Gluten-Free?

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

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. 

how to make 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) - 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 averiecooks.com

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.

Yield: 40 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

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)
  • 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)

Instructions

    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.

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 Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 133 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 12mg Sodium: 32mg Carbohydrates: 15g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 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!!

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!!

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.

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!!

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!!

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!!

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!

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.

320 comments on “Chocolate Saltine Toffee”

  1. 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. 

  2. Pingback: Cool Shit – Christmas, Christmas, Christmas is coming!!! | Ditching Perfect

  3. Why will my chocolate chips not melt so I can spread??  Am I the only one that is having this problem? 

  4. Pingback: Chocolate Saltine Candy recipe - Share Your Crafts

  5. 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.

    • 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!

  6. 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!

    • 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.

  7. 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!

  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. Pingback: Chocolate Saltine Toffee (Christmas Crack) | infinebalance

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

  11. 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?

  12. 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?

  13. I made this and felt I might have coated my foil too much since I almost felt the crackers got soft

    • 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.

  14. 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!

    • 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.

  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. Can I use salted butter?

  18. Wondering. Can I use Townhouse crackers instead of Saltines? It is what I have.

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