Here are recipes for two easy, sweet treats that I made for a potluck at work. First – an apology: I didn’t take pictures when I made them and though I made a second batch of the Cracker Toffee, I don’t have any pictures of the Pretzel Turtles. You can see them here: at Glorious Treats.
There are variations to both of these recipes all over the internet but if you haven’t tried them yet, now you can have both recipes in one convenient place. Both are easy, don’t need special equipment like a candy thermometer and both are popular.
The first one, my favorite, is sometimes known as Saltine Toffee. OK, I admit I refer to it as Crack. It is hard to resist. I’ve seen recipes using other crackers (club, matzo, graham) but I like it with classic Saltines. The combination of the salt and crunch with the sweet toffee and the semi-sweet chocolate is pretty hard to beat.
I went to one of my favorite sites, Smitten Kitchen, and adapted her recipe for Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers).
40 to 48 Saltines crackers (enough to cover cookie sheet – mine is aprox. 11 x 17 inches)
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (much as I love chocolate, the lower amount lets the caramel really shine in this recipe. The higher amount is wonderful and helps the nuts to stick better)
1 cup toasted finely chopped pecans or toasted sliced almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet completely with parchment paper, cut to fit.
Line the baking sheet with crackers. Break some if you need to so you fill the whole sheet.
In a medium heavy-duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil.
Once it has begun boiling, keep stirring it and watch for the sugar and butter to come together. Cook for three minutes, stirring constantly.
Note: If you use matzo instead of Saltines you should add a good pinch of salt. The Saltines don’t need any extra.
Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the crackers. Spread it over the crackers quickly before it hardens.
If you are having trouble getting the caramel spread over the crackers, put it in the oven for 2 or 3 minutes then take it out and spread it all the way to the edge of the crackers
Put the baking sheet in the oven for 15 minutes total (12 or 13 minutes if you already had it in 2 or 3 minutes).
Remove from oven and sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let stand five minutes then spread them evenly across the caramel.
Sprinkle the melted chocolate with toasted chopped nuts (if you are using them).
Once this is cool and the chocolate is set, break into pieces and store in an airtight container. I’ve heard that they’ll last a week but I’ve never been able to test this theory. I try not to make a batch unless I am planning on giving most of it away because I have a hard time resisting this stuff.
Pretzel Turtles aka Rolo Bites
Adapted from Glorious Treats
These are even easier than the Saltine Toffee but don’t quite achieve that addictive balance of sweet/salty/crunchy. Close but no cigar.
1 bag of square pretzels (such as Snyders of Hanover Snaps)
1 bag Rolo candies, unwrapped
Preheat oven to 250°F.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. A bit of the chocolate will inevitably goosh through the pretzels onto the baking sheet (I learned the hard way) and without the parchment paper you will have to work get them them unstuck without breakage. On the other hand, broken ones are calorie-free.
Put pretzels about an inch apart on baking sheet. Put a Rolo on each pretzel. I’ve done it with the wide part of the candy down and the wide part up and it doesn’t seem to make any difference. So do it any way you like.
Put the baking sheet in the oven for 4 minutes.
Remove it from the oven and and press a pecan half in each Rolo. Let cool and set before removing from baking sheet. If you are in a rush, pop the baking sheet in the fridge or freezer (well, if you can find room in there). Don’t leave them in too long because biting into a really cold Rolo might just pull out a filling!
Once they are cool and chocolate is set store in airtight container.
Now, about that link I mentioned. The two sweet-salty treats I mention in this post are both yummy but I have to admit they are kind of down market. If you are looking for something a little more challenging, something kind of special and maybe even spectacular, you just might want to take a look at Joe Pastry which has a ton of recipes for pastries with all their component parts, techniques, and the science and history behind them plus gorgeous pictures that show the steps, helpful descriptions and a friendly, personal style.
Rem and I have been inspired to attempt a Bûche de Noël following the how-to’s on his site. I will post pictures.
What kind of treats are you making for the holidays?
Thanks for stopping by.