Who actually knows what toffee is? Before making this recipe, I thought maybe it was another word for caramel, but I was so wrong: toffee is essentially just sugar and butter, while caramel can be a mixture of sugar and water, cream or milk; sometimes it's just sugar! Toffee is cooked to 300 degrees F, while caramel is cooked to about 248 degrees F. Got it? Good. My dreams of learning to make other candy floated away the moment I took my first bite of Saltine toffee. Sweet and crunchy and buttery and salty and chocolatey, it’s honestly everything I’ve ever wanted in my mouth all together in one neat package. And it smells INCREDIBLE. If there was a way to make Saltine toffee perfume, I’d probably have more suitors than I’d know what to do with. And I can’t stress enough how unbelievably easy it is to make! It takes all of 15 minutes to assemble and then it goes into the fridge. SO easy. And when placed in a tin it makes the cutest homemade gift! It does not disappoint. Recipe very loosely adapted from allrecipes.com.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking tray with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange the crackers as neatly as possible on the tray and roughly crush the remaining 5 crackers.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and sugar, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches a rolling boil. Pour toffee over the crackers, spreading it a bit if it looks too thick in some areas (don’t worry if it doesn’t cover them completely). Bake for five minutes, until the toffee is bubbling all over. Pour the chocolate chips over the toffee crackers, and place tray back in the oven, making sure the oven is OFF. Let the heat of the oven melt the chocolate for a minute or two, then remove from the oven and spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers with a large spoon or offset spatula.
While the chocolate is still melty, pour reserved crushed saltines, pretzels, nuts, and/or chopped fruit over the top (I used pretzels for my first batch, and peanuts and walnuts for my second- see photos). Place in the fridge for about an hour so the chocolate has time to firm up a bit. Break up the candy into whatever size pieces float your boat and return to the fridge for a few hours to really firm it up or simply consume immediately! Store in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for months!
Rebecca Firkser is a freelance food writer and recipe developer. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, among them Food52, TASTE, Edible Manhattan, Extra Crispy, The Strategist, and Bon Appetit's Healthyish. She contributed recipes and words to the book "Breakfast: The Most Important Book About the Best Meal of the Day." Once upon a time, she studied theatre design and art history at Smith College, so if you need a last-minute avocado costume or want to talk about Wayne Thiebaud's cakes, she's your girl.