Thursday, April 9, 2009

chocolate caramel crack(ers)

chocolate caramel toffee crack

Yes, crack. As in “made with crackers”, as in “crackly like toffee” but also in reference to the addictive nature of this stuff. I may make what seems like an elaborate cake a week these days, I might bake my own icebox wafers and fill and frost my cupcakes but these things right here? They’re the thing everyone asks for by name, and they take almost no time to make.

Thus, despite that fact that this recipe is incredibly easy to find elsewhere on the web, it only seems right to give it a home here as well. Because if there was one person out there that hasn’t made it yet that makes it after reading this, my work here will be done.

making brown sugar caramelcaramelizing the matzocaramel-coated matzospreading the chocolate

You start with a foil and parchment-lined baking sheet, a fantastic thing if you, like me, hate doing dishes. (And seriously, if you don’t hate doing dishes, who are you? And would you like to come over?) You lay out the cracker of your choice — for this week’s festivities, we used matzo but, trust me, if you try it with Saltine crackers, it just might blow your mind — in a single sheet, make a quick brown sugar caramel and bake it onto the crackers for a few minutes. Hot from the oven, you drop chocolate chips on top and when they’ve softened a minute later, spread them into a thin layer. Sprinkling it with sea salt or toasted, chopped nuts is optional, all that matters is that you share with me.

Oh, and this can be our little secret, but you might consider not putting all of the crack(ers) out when your friends and family come over. Because it might just disappear before you get any, and then you’ll wake up the next morning, well, fiending and regretful that you didn’t get any, with no choice but to make some more. Don’t say these didn’t come with a warning label.

chocolate toffee crack(ers)

One year ago: Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake
Two years ago: Potato Rosemary Bread

Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers)
Adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted it from Marcy Goldman who is the genius that first applied this to matzo

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. [If using matzo, you’ll need to break pieces to fit any extra spaces, which will be annoying because despite being perforated, it does not actually break in straight lines. I have some luck pressing a serrated knife straight down along a section between perforations, if that (hopefully) makes sense.]

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. 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. (The sea salt is great on matzo. On Saltines, it’s really not necessary.)

Once completely cool — I sometimes speed this process up in the fridge, impatient as should be expected in the face of caramel crack(ers) — break it into pieces and store it in a container. It should keep for a week but I’ve never seen it last that long.


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