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Christmas Crack — A highly addictive, salty-sweet, crunchy, EASY Christmas treat that’s IRRESISTIBLE!! Great for gifts and cookie exchanges because it stays fresh and everyone LOVES IT!!
What is “Christmas Crack?”
I have another recipe that is identical to this one called Chocolate Saltine Toffee. That recipe is so popular around the holidays that I didn’t even want to touch a thing, but I hate those photos from December 2013.
So I remade the recipe, with updated photography, and this time I used red and green sprinkles. And I gave this addictive Christmas treat the name I always had wanted to give it, but back in 2013 didn’t have the courage to do.
But never fear, by mid-2015 I made Crack Pie (from the Milkbar/Christina Tosi recipe) and in doing so, I have learned that about 1% of the population takes extreme offense to the name Crack anything. If you’re in that group, I’m sorry.
But I’m not sorry about how easy and delicious this dessert is. And so with that disclaimer, let’s get on with making it.
What’s in Christmas Crack?
To make this easy Christmas dessert, you’ll need:
- Saltine crackers
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Christmas sprinkles
How to Make Christmas Crack
First, line a 9×13-inch pan or half sheet pan with heavy-duty non-stick aluminum foil.
Line the pan with saltine crackers. If you’re using a 9×13-inch pan, you will use about 30-40 crackers and the toffee layer will be thicker on each piece of candy. If you’re using a half sheet pan, you’ll use about 48 crackers, and the toffee layer will be thinner since there’s more surface area to cover.
Melt together butter and brown sugar and let it boil. The unsophisticated candy maker (never) in me doesn’t use a candy thermometer for this recipe. Simply boil it for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. You will visibly see it go from a thinner liquid to a much thicker caramel-like substance.
At this point, pour it over the crackers and bake them for about 5 minutes, or until bubbly.
Wait a few minutes, add chocolate chips (about one 12-ounce bag for a 9×13-inch pan and about 18 ounces for a half sheet pan), return the pan to the oven to soften the chips, spread them into a thin chocolate layer, and go to town with your red and green sprinkles.
How to Chill the Candy
The hardest part is waiting for the Christmas crack to set up. If you’re in a rush (or have no patience) and live in a cold climate, put the pan in your garage or porch which is handy and takes up no space in your fridge. For me in San Diego, placing the pan in my fridge for about 30 minutes does the trick.
Or if you have patience, just leave it at room temp and it will eventually set up. Chocolate chips don’t stay melty forever.
How to Store Christmas Crack
Storing it in the fridge will preserve its life for weeks and weeks, more like months. Storing it in the freezer will preserve it easily for 4 months.
In a warmer-ish winter climate (i.e. sothern Texas, Florida, California, etc.) you may want to store the Christmas crack candy in the fridge if it’s warm enough to melt chocolate where you’re at. Doubtful in December, but you never know.
Even at room temp, I would say it would last an easy month. This makes it perfect for cookie exchanges, hostess gifts, or as a thoughtful homemade parting gift to give your guests after a holiday party you’re hosting.
It’s more likely it will be devoured much, much before you even have to worry much about storage options.
Tips for Making Christmas Crack Toffee
Do NOT skip lining your pan with foil and do not use cheap foil because you will hate yourself later. Either the caramel sauce will stick to the pan or the foil will stick to the crackers. I am sure you could use parchment but in these applications, it doesn’t form a tight ‘seal’ against the pan and I much prefer heavy-duty non-stick aluminum foil.
When simmering the butter and brown sugar on the stovetop, take care that your simmer is not too fast/too high because it will be prone to bubbling over or scorching. Stir the mixture nearly constantly while it simmers to avoid bubbling over or scorching; the taste of burnt butter and sugar is awful so don’t burn it or you will have to start over!
You can cut the Christmas crack candy into neat squares or you can break it off into pieces with your hands. Both look pretty thanks to the sprinkles!
- 30 to 40 saltine crackers for a 9x13-inch pan (I use about 32 crackers) OR about 48 crackers for a half sheet pan
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed (I used half light and half dark)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips for a 9x13-inch pan OR about 19-ounces for a half sheet pan
- Christmas sprinkles, as desired
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x13-inch or half sheet pan with heavy duty non-stick aluminum foil and spray it very well with cooking spray. Do not try to make this without using this type of foil; you will hate yourself.
- Place saltine crackers in a single layer on the bottom of the pan.
- In a medium saucepan on the stovetop, combine the butter and brown 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 to the consistency of a loose caramel sauce. Take care not that your simmer is not too fast/too high because it will be prone to bubbling over or scorching. Stir mixture nearly constantly while mixtures simmers to avoid bubbling over or scorching; the taste of burnt butter and sugar is awful so don’t burn it or you will have to start over.
- After mixture has thickened a bit, remove it from the heat, wait 30 seconds, add the vanilla extract and stir.
- Evenly pour the mixture over the saltine crackers in the prepared pan.
- Bake for 5- 7 minutes, or until toffee/liquid becomes bubbly. I suggest rotating your pan one time midway through baking to ensure even cooking.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips, return the pan to the oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until you can spread the chips smooth with a spatula.
- Evenly sprinkle with sprinkles, as desired.
- Allow the Christmas crack to cool at room temp, or in the fridge or a cool area, until chocolate has fully set and hardened (at room temp, probably 3 hours; in the fridge or a cold garage or porch, about 30 minutes).
- Break or cut into pieces the size of your choice.
Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or in the fridge for up to 2 months or in the freezer for up to 4 months; my personal storage guidelines only and your mileage may vary.
Adapted from Chocolate Saltine Toffee.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 66mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 1g
More Easy Christmas Desserts:
Graham Cracker Toffee (aka Graham Cracker CRACK) — Sweet, buttery, caramely, perfectly chocolaty, topped with toffee bits for extra crunch!! Lives up to its name and extremely ADDICTIVE!! An EASY holiday and party FAVORITE!!
Chocolate Peanut Butter Stacks – Easy, no-bake treats that are a holiday favorite! They have it all: Salty, sweet, crunchy, and gooey 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!!
12 Easy No-Bake Holiday Desserts – No time to bake? Here are 12 FAST and EASY no-bake recipes! Whether you want chocolate, peanut butter, cheesecake, bark, or truffles, these recipes have you covered!!
25 Holiday Cookie Favorites – The tried-and-true favorites are all here! If you need a holiday cookie recipe, this collection has you covered!
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