Much as we all want to be Martha Stewart come the holidays, time is one gift Santa has yet to leave in our stockings. The good news is you can still enjoy making homemade treats with minimal mess and effort. All you need is four ingredients to transform pantry baking staples into an addictive holiday sweet treat that's aptly-named Christmas Crack. Come your next trip to the supermarket, make sure to add saltine crackers, butter, brown sugar, and chocolate chips to your shopping list.
Butter and brown sugar cook into a bubbly toffee mixture, in essence turning into a candy “glue” that holds a layer of saltine crackers underneath together. You can get creative with the toffee, and infuse it with instant espresso powder for a mocha Christmas crack, or top with dried pineapple and coconut flakes for a tropical Christmas crack (and perfect packed in a mason jar or tin to send to loved ones near and far). The possibilities for variation on making your own unique Christmas crack are only limited to the depths of your imagination—we’ve got a few more suggestions to inspire you below!
- 1 sleeve (35 to 40) saltine crackers
- 16 tablespoons butter (preferably unsalted)
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (omit if using salted butter)
- 2 cups/10 ounces mini chocolate chips
- Optional: decorative holiday sprinkles
Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line a rimmed 9x13-inch sheet pan with foil, making sure it also covers the sides of the pan, then lay a sheet of parchment paper over the foil.
Arrange the crackers in the pan single layer, using any broken bits to fill in the gaps. You want to make sure the pan is completely covered.
Combine the butter, sugar, and salt (if using) in a deep pot over medium heat. Cook until butter is melted, sugar dissolved, and it comes to a boil.
Let boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, takes on a melted caramel consistency, and pulls away from the edges of the pot, 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour the toffee over the crackers (be careful—it’s VERY hot). Using an offset spatula, spread into an even layer to the edges of the pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until bubbly and deep golden.
Remove tray from oven. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the toffee. Let sit for 1 to 2 minutes until they begin to melt. Using a clean offset spatula, spread the chips into a thin layer of melted chocolate over the toffee.
Scatter sprinkles on top, if using (or try one of the fun variation below).
Let sit at room temperature until chocolate is hardened, at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight. You can stick in the fridge after 30 minutes if you’re in a rush.
Break into pieces, and store in an airtight tin, in a cool spot, for up to 2 weeks.
Serve and enjoy!
- Minty Christmas Crack: Top with crushed candy canes.
- Peanut Butter Cup Christmas Crack: Swap out half of the chocolate chips with peanut butter chips.
- White Christmas: Substitute in white chocolate.
- Tropical Christmas Crack: Top with chopped freeze-dried pineapple and coconut flakes.
- Merry Cherry Christmas Crack: Garnish with chopped sweetened dried or freeze-dried cherries.
- Blue Christmas: Finish with freeze-dried blueberries.
- Naughty & Nice Christmas Crack: Add smoked paprika to the butter and sugar while it's cooking on the stovetop. Dust with cracked pink peppercorns.
- Mocha Christmas Crack: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of instant espresso to the butter. Top with coarsely cracked coffee beans.