Did you forget Aunt Ellen? Cousin Timmy? Your operations manager Lucas? Your third-cousin Heather?
Phew. No. You’re all covered.
Wait.. you forgot Grandma Lee. How could you forget Grandma Lee?!
For all of those, erm, last-minuters out there, livin’ life wild, by the seat of their pants–you crazy party animals, you–I’ve got the perfect solution to that thing that happens on Thursday. You know.. that Christmas Day thing. Where you stare wide-eyed at the wall, realizing that your sister remembered to give all four of the cousins you’d never previously met these thoughtful gifts and you just.. thought Santa covered you. Yeah.. never happened to me or anything..
What’s the solution now? Saltine toffee. If you’ve had this stuff before, you’re throwin’ your hands up in the air, like you just don’t care, shakin’ your head with your eyebrows furrowed, exclaiming “Preach! Preach, sister!” because that’s how good this stuff is. And you don’t want it to be. You want to only like rosemary-infused lard-amaranth cakes with orchid-petal coulis and persimmon spheres, but you can’t help it. This stuff is damn good, and it maybe a little rednecky, but it doesn’t matter.
The first saltine toffee I ever had was made by truly one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met–my small business coach from the University of Memphis. This woman made a fortune in New York selling ice–ice!–and she knows everyone and she’s somehow super down-to-earth but terrifying and matter-of-fact but hysterical and charismatic but accepts no crap and comes to your wedding and makes saltine toffee and shares it with you.
I had a bite, expecting my self-control to somehow be above this simple combination of butter and brown sugar, saltine crackers, and chocolate, but it was that first bite that shook up everything I thought I knew about my rosemary-infused-lard-amaranth-cakes-with-orchid-petal-coulis-and-persimmon-spheres-loving self. It’s the beautiful, salty crunch from the saltines that works so beautifully with the quick, buttery caramel–rich with molassesy brown sugar and slathered in heady dark chocolate. I made a batch and O stood hovered over the pan, exclaiming with almost desperation in his voice, “I can’t stop eating these.. I want to.. but I can’t! I can’t!”
It’s addictive. You’ve been warned.
So, here’s my solution, you wild-and-crazy procrastinating last-minuting fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pantsers: saltine toffee is almost impossibly delicious and embarrassingly simple and quick. Make it! There’s still time!
- cooking spray (preferably coconut oil)
- about 45 saltine crackers , divided
- 2 sticks (1 cup) organic butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 8 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate chips (about 1 1/3 cups)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Line 1 large or 2 small jelly-roll pans with aluminum foil, spray with nonstick spray and arrange about 35-40 saltines salt-side down in a single layer. Place the other saltines (about 5) in a ziploc bag and crush.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together and boil until it turns a caramel color, a few minutes. Remove from the heat and pour over the crackers, covering them evenly.
Put the jelly-roll pan into the oven and bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until just bubbly, watching carefully. Remove from the oven and pour the chocolate chips over the crackers. When the chips melt a bit, spread them over the crackers with a knife. Sprinkle crushed saltines over melted chocolate.
Transfer the pan to the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely cold. They will form one big sheet. Break up into pieces. Store in an airtight container.