Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Crack!

A year or two ago, I found this recipe via a message forum I was a part of. I was skeptical at first, but because of all the rave reviews, figured I'd give it a shot. And I've never looked back! I've heard different names for this, but Christmas Crack is what has stuck. It's delicious, easy to make, and HIGHLY addictive!

First, gather your ingredients.

Pretty, right? I was feeling a little artsy. Ish. Anyway. Preheat your oven to 400. Next, cover your cookie sheet in foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Cover the cookie sheet with a single layer of graham crackers.

I break my graham crackers in half. It's okay if some of them are broken--just fit them in as best you can. Once that's done, it's time to make the caramel sauce. Bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.

I prefer to cube my butter, since it melts faster.

Mmmmm....look at all this golden-brown delicious heart attack....

Let that gorgeousness boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then pour it over the crackers as evenly as possible, spreading it gently if necessary.

Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. When you remove it, the caramel mixture will be molten and boiling. Allow to cool for about 3 minutes or until you can see the crackers distinctly. If they've shifted during baking, gently poke them back in place with a fork or knife:

There was one little piece that was just stubborn and refused to go back in place. Seems fitting for me. Anyway, after this, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top and let them sit for about 5 minutes so they get all melty.

They'll get kind of shiny, and that's how you'll know they're ready to spread. I use my little offset spatula, like so:

No, that hand in the corner does not belong to Casper. That would be my ultra-reflective skin.

The chocolate spreads out nicely, and it should turn out to be even and pretty.

After this, you can add your toppings. I like to put chopped pecans on top. They're not pictured here because I was making this for class, and one of the girls had a pretty awful nut allergy. But there are a ton of topping options. Nuts, toasted coconut, sea salt, peppermint bits. The possibilities are endless. You'll want to gently press them into the soft chocolate so it doesn't all just come off when you break it up. Refrigerate to set the chocolate, and then break into pieces. Devour!
This would be my second batch, which DID have pecans.
Enjoy! Beware, though, because this is mostly butter and sugar, and you will love to eat it. And because it's so fast to make, it's easy to go through a ton of it.

Here's the recipe, adapted from A Southern Grace:

Christmas Crack

1 sleeve (approx.) graham crackers/saltines/Ritz crackers
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup butter
2 cups chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil. Spray with cooking spray. Cover the cookie sheet with a single layer of crackers.

Bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Pour over the crackers and spread as evenly as possible. Bake for 5 minutes. When you remove it, the caramel mixture should be molten and boiling; allow to cool about 3 minutes or until you can see the crackers distinctly. If they have shifted while baking, push them back in place with a fork or knife. (NOT your finger. Trust me on this one.)

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let sit for about 5 minutes to melt. Once melted, spread chocolate evenly. If desired, sprinkle on pecans and press lightly into the chocolate. Let cool a bit and then transfer to fridge to harden. Once hard, break candy into small pieces and place in containers.

Laura's Notes:

I ALWAYS use graham crackers. The original recipe called for saltines. I've tried that, and the Ritz crackers, and I definitely prefer the graham crackers. I think they just turn out the best. You could also probably use those little square pretzels--that could make it interesting!

I have adjusted the caramel mixture to be a batch and a half of the original, as I felt the crackers weren't really sufficiently covered, but a double batch was way too much. The recipe above reflects that.

Like I mentioned in the post above, you can leave the pecans off, although I definitely love my pecans. You can also substitute a variety of different toppings--sea salt, crushed peppermint bits, toasted coconut. Get creative! The possibilities are endless! You could also try different combinations of chocolate chips--white chocolate, mint chocolate, etc.

I usually let the sheets sit on the counter for about half an hour, and then stick them in the fridge overnight. Perfection. I've found that, provided you're not storing them next to the stove or the oven, they don't really need to be refrigerated after being broken up.

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