So ya all know if you follow me (and if you don’t, I’d love it if you do! Check on the sidebar at the right) that I just posted out my Saltine Cracker Caramel Bars. I just couldn’t resist taking another crack (bad pun) at a cracker treat. I am all about quick, fun and easy this year! I’ve been so behind at getting my holiday treats posted because of my various “ailments” (Btw, my hand & shoulder seem to be better after cortisone shots although I had my doubts at first!) that I’m doubling up and posting two treats, today.
Actually, as I made this recipe I realized that it’s really not that much different than making toffee, like Aunt Ginny’s Toffee. But the nice thing about Ritz Cracker Toffee, even if you are making toffee when you melt together the butter and the sugar is that it’s a smaller amount and once poured over the crackers, pretty forgiving. That makes it super easy and it is oh so delish!
About Ritz Cracker Toffee:
But let’s talk a little bit about this salty-sweet buttery treat. Hey, that rhymes! First of all, Ritz crackers are delicious. I love them, always have and probably always will. They were the cracker that was only bought for the most special of occasions when I was growing up. And then there were all the commercials back in the ’70s by Andy Griffin. If you can’t trust Sherrif Andy, who you gonna trust? So everything tastes better when it sits on a Ritz. That being said, this same recipe can be made with saltines or graham crackers.
Then there’s the layer of buttery toffee, that gets spread over the crackers and fills in all the spaces between. You’re gonna want to sneak the edge pieces because they always have more of the toffee! Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone else! Using the Ritz in this toffee keeps the toffee a bit lighter and cuts the sweetness while adding a crunchy salty deliciousness.
And of course, the top layer is chocolate, milk or semi-sweet or really any chocolate you want. And you’re done! Oh, wait. Embellishments! We can’t forget those. Sprinkle with a few sprinkles customized for the occasion. Sprinkle with any kind of chopped nut you’d like or no nuts at all. Maybe you’d like to go rogue and let your spirit guide you? Chopped up m&m’s, anyone? Crushed up Ritz crackers, lightly pressed into the chocolate? Maybe crushed pretzels? Hey, it’s up to you.
Making Ritz Cracker Toffee:
There’s really hardly anything to making this treat of Ritz Cracker Toffee. Just cook the butter-sugar mixture, stirring until butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. Then let it go. Don’t touch it again. Just let it boil away until a light or dark amber color is reached, whatever your preference. Lighter amber will be delish and sweet, darker will be a little more brittle with toasty flavors. If you see any crystals forming as the toffee boils, use a wet pastry brush and press on the side of the pan just above the crystals and let the water from the brush flow down the side of the pan, washing away the crystals. If there is any whiff of a burnt smell, remove from heat and immediately stir in your vanilla and pour over the crackers.
Once the toffee is done, pour immediately over the crackers and spread into all the cracks with the back of a spoon. Work fast and don’t lollygag or that toffee will harden right in your pan. By the way, a good soak is all that is needed to clean the pan…time is your friend. No need to scrub, it will dissolve eventually. And by eventually, a few hours or overnight works wonders even if it looks hopeless.
I always have a larger pan ready to aid in melting the chips. Take the toffee crackers out of the oven, immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips – don’t fuss too much trying to get even just get them on while the toffee is hot. Put another pan right on top of your pan, not touching the chocolate and let it sit for five minutes. Remove the top pan and with an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon, spread the chocolate out. Shoot for a few beautiful waves across the pan rather than one flawless sheet of chocolate because flawless just probably won’t happen. I always found I can get a smoother chocolate layer using Hershey’s Chocolate bars rather than chocolate chips, but with a few embellishments, it hardly matters. See my Aunt Ginny’s English Toffee Recipe.
Saving Money on Ritz Cracker Toffee:
During just about any holiday is the best time to buy crackers, whether plain old saltines or a fancier version. In my area crackers are often included in sales that buy so many for so much money, like buy 2 Nabisco Saltines for $5.00 and sometimes they are included in sales that might have a variety of products from the same producer. Since my store no longer doubles coupons, I don’t use them as much but I do try to watch around the Winter Holidays when there are so many coupons it’s a no-brainer and the sales are worthwhile.
Baking items like Chocolate Chips are always going to be on sale during the Winter Holidays and at Easter. Really, it is worthwhile to stock up at a low. Costco or Aldi, if you have one, is a great place to pick up chocolate chips.
Chocolate keeps for a good amount of time, especially if it isn’t going through a lot of temperature changes, so it’s worth stocking up on at a low. Temperature changes can cause “bloom” (a whitish powder) which isn’t a safety issue. Don’t toss it, use it for baking if you don’t think it’s attractive enough to eat. Chocolate bloom can actually be fixed by slowly melting the chocolate and pouring it into some kind of container that can act as a mold. You can read more about chocolate bloom at Wikipedia.
Ritz Cracker Toffee
40 Ritz™ crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag (11.5 oz) milk chocolate chips (abt 2 cups) or (12 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips (abt 2 cups)
1 tablespoon candy sprinkles, nuts or other decorations
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15x10x1-inch pan with foil. Spray foil generously with cooking spray. Place crackers in single layer, salt side down in pan.
In 2-quart saucepan, cook and stir butter, sugar, and salt over medium heat until butter is melted. Heat to boiling, gently stirring, being careful to not splash mixture up the sides of the pan. Once boiling, stir no longer but continue to boil until light brown color, three to four minutes, washing down any crystals on the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Remove from heat. Add vanilla; stir until blended. Immediately pour mixture evenly over crackers in pan; spread to cover.
Bake about 10 minutes or until bubbly and brown in color. Remove from oven. Quickly sprinkle chocolate chips on top of cracker mixture. Cover with a larger pan, being careful not to touch the chocolate with the pan (or use heavy duty aluminum foil.) Let stand 5 minutes. Spread chocolate evenly over cracker mixture. While chocolate is still wet, decorate as desired.
Cool completely, about 2 hours or until chocolate is set. Peel off foil and break into pieces. Store covered up to 1 week.