Salty crackers, caramelized butter and brown sugar plus a layer of creamy, rich chocolate dusted with pecans – this simple combination creates the holiday sweet known as Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack).
When I was a little girl, my favorite snack was Saltine crackers with butter. I am not ashamed to admit, this still sounds good to me.
In this recipe, the simplicity of Saltines and butter is fancied up for the holidays as Saltine Toffee aka Christmas Crack. It’s an irresistible combination of salty crackers, caramelized butter and brown sugar and creamy, rich chocolate topped with a dusting of pecans.
This year I made two versions of saltine toffee. Traditional salted pecan and cherry pistachio.
The cherry pistachio adds a little color to the plate and the salted pecan is classic perfection.
I have a trick to give this easy holiday toffee an extra something – more salt. I sprinkle sea salt or Kosher salt on top with the pecans to contrast the super sweet butter toffee layer. Although there is already salt in the crackers, it needs more to complement the sweetness. Similar to the idea behind salted caramels.
Have you ever wondered why this sweet + salty combination is so amazing?
Researchers at University of Florida, tested salted caramel on 150 participants and found that when we eat something sweet, salty or fatty, the brain releases heroin-like chemicals called endogenous opioids. And since salted caramel hits all three – sweet, salty and fatty – on the mark, it’s an addictive flavor both for your tastebuds and your brain! No wonder they nicknamed this Saltine Toffee Christmas Crack!
Step by Step Photos for making Saltine Toffee
Salty crackers, caramelized butter and brown sugar plus a layer of creamy, rich chocolate dusted with pecans - this simple combination creates the holiday sweet known as Saltine Toffee (aka Christmas Crack).
- 1.5 sleeves Saltine crackers (about 48 crackers)
- 14 Tbs butter (almost 2 sticks)
- 1 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- 1 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup pecans, finely chopped alternative option: finely chopped pistachios and dried cherries
- Sea salt or Kosher salt (to sprinkle on pecan version as topping)
Heat oven to 350F.
Line a 9 x 13 rimmed sheet pan with foil.
Layer with saltine crackers (about 48 crackers) so that each cracker is touching without space between.
Melt butter in saucepan. Add 1 cup brown sugar. Boil for 2 min, stirring constantly until butter and sugar are emulsified.
Pour evenly over saltines. Spread out edges if you need to. Bake at 350° for 5-8 minutes until foaming and bubbly.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Wait 1 minute until the chocolate chips begin to melt. (The crackers may shift a bit in this process, just push them back in place as best you can.)
When melted spread evenly with an offset spatula. Dust with finely chopped pecans or pistachios and dried cherries. For the pecan version, sprinkle Kosher salt across the entire sheet pan.
Let chocolate set by chilling or freezing. Break into pieces to serve.
*For the nutrition information I have based a serving on the size of 1 cracker. However, you'll break pieces big and small - so calories will vary from piece to piece!