Monday, December 6, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Crackers

This weekend was a flurry of baking for me. I know that many people bake cookies around the Christmas holiday but this is one of the first years that I've actually participated in the tradition. I was making cookies for our church and for the base so I wanted to make a couple different kinds. (Of course, I made Bryant's award winning cookies but felt that I couldn't just stop there.)

Enter: Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers).  The blog Smitten Kitchen, who is my go-to for all things dessert and/or butter, appropriately nicknamed these Crack(ers) because these are so darn addictive.  And it's true! I was torn between "get-these-cookies-away-from-me-right-now" and "I-don't-want-to-share-these-with-anyone-else."  Let's just say it's a good thing that I promised these beforehand.

They're also incredibly simple to make -- definitely one of the easiest cookie recipes.  With just a handful of ingredients, it doesn't take too long to make these, either.

So if you happen to be doing any holiday baking, I highly recommend these.  Just keep them away from me.

Chocolate Caramel Crackers
Taken from: Smitten Kitchen
Makes 30-40
  • 4 to 6 sheets matzo or approximately 40 Saltine crackers or crackers of your choice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into a few large pieces
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • A big pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi- or bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate)
  • 1 cup toasted chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts or a nut of your choice (optional)
  • Extra sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
-Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet completely with foil, and then line the base of the foil with parchment paper, cut to fit.
-Line the bottom of the baking sheet with matzo or crackers, covering all parts.
-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, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring it well. It will thicken a bit as it cooks. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the matzo or crackers. You’ll want to spread it quickly, as it will begin to set as soon as it is poured.
-Bake the caramel-covered crackers for 15 minutes, watching carefully as it will bubble and the corners might darken too quickly and/or burn (I just checked it every couple minutes). You can reduce the heat if you see this happening.
-Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand five minutes, and then spread them evenly across the caramel. An offset spatula works great here. If you’re using them, sprinkle the chocolate with toasted chopped nuts and/or sea salt.
-Once completely cool (this process can be sped up by throwing the baking sheet in the fridge), break it into pieces and store it in a container. It should keep for a week (ha).

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