If you happen to love a salty and sweet combination, Saltine Cracker Candy recipe is for you! This candy is made with four simple ingredients and you do not need a candy thermometer to make it. A layer of salted cracker, buttery toffee and dark chocolate melted on top is seriously the ultimate Christmas candy.
I absolutely love the combo of chocolate with salt, add in toffee, and then it is totally irresistible! This super simple candy recipe happens to go by various names. You may also know this as Toffee Bark, Christmas Crack, Crack Candy, Saltine Toffee or Soda Cracker Candy. I have seen it at almost every Christmas get together, and it is usually the first sweet to go!
Seriously addicting…this is the candy you will be making any day, just because! It is made with ingredients you probably have on hand and takes 15 minutes to prep! A serious hit whenever you decide to make it.
It is so easy to make that you’ll make it any time. But it is really nice for Christmas. I made it and broke it into sections. I placed it on paper plates and wrapped in foil.
I had plates of this prepped and wrapped in foil ready to go. I just stacked the plates on top of each other. I kept it in my fridge and gave it to mailman, the UPS driver (the two of them were howling when they took a bite as they drove off…they were so happy). So you could whip this up and give it as a little gift to anyone and make their day, and it’s so easy to make!
Once it is made, I carefully slide the tray into the fridge and let it all chill and set for at least 30 minutes, but an hour is preferable. As soon as it chills and sets, you could cut or break it into pieces. It does not have to be perfectly cut. The charming part is the broken edges. But a very sharp knife will help to get perfect pieces.
I have seen recipes where this is made without the chocolate layer. I think the chocolate layer is a definite must! Also, you could make it without any toppings at all. Since I made this at Christmas time, the sprinkles made it extra festive!
What is Saltine Cracker Candy AKA Christmas Crack?
Saltine cracker candy is a saltine cracker covered in a brown sugar sauce. It gets baked until it turns into caramel. The cracker and the caramel end up melting in the oven and turning into that bottom layer of salty, crunchy candy. The chocolate gets melted on top and spread over the bottom cracker/caramel layer. When the chocolate is still melted, sprinkles, chopped nuts, chopped pretzels …whatever you like could get tossed on top of it all. Ready in minutes, this is a serious candy treat!
So simple and easy, let’s get to how you make this sweet indulgence!
You may be over Christmas, but did you know in Italy there are 12 days of Christmas?
What are the 12 days of Christmas in Italy?
In Italy, the 12 days of Christmas are not the days leading up to Christmas Day, it is actually celebrated between Christmas Day and the Day of the Epiphany. The final night of Christmas is the with the 12th night on January 5, which happens to be when the famous La Befana delivers presents to kids all over Italy.
So we leave the stockings up, because there is one more present that you will find on January 6th in the morning. That’s also officially when my husband will take down the Christmas tree, because Christmas is really over!
But back to this amazing candy!
If you love sweet and salty desserts, this Saltine Cracker Candy is for you! Rich, buttery toffee surrounds crunchy soda crackers. Top with sweet chocolate!
Ingredients for Saltine Toffee
Saltine Cracker Candy is made with just 4 basic ingredients:
- saltine crackers
- dark brown sugar
- chocolate chips
How to Make Saltine Cracker Candy
Line a 12×17” baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (use a silicone mat if you have one). Spray lightly with baking spray (or grease it lightly with some butter).
Spread out the crackers, salted side up. Be sure to line them up as evenly as possible (they will move when the toffee gets poured on, and that’s ok), small spaces between them is totally fine.
The hardest part of this recipe is making the caramel (toffee) topping. It comes together with butter and brown sugar. You melt them together and let it come to a rolling boil for 3 minutes (use a timer). So you’ll basically need 15 minutes to put this all together. And definitely a few hours to let it set (do not rush the setting/chilling part).
You begin to melt the butter with the sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir just until the butter melts. Once it melts, be sure to no longer stir it let it come to a rolling boil for a full 3 minutes. Super important to not touch the caramel as it is at the rolling boil stage. There is no need to scrape the sides of the saucepan or the bottom (this will break up the toffee and it won’t set).
Once it reaches a full 3 minutes, very carefully pour it over the crackers. Bake them in the oven for a few minutes. The toffee will bubble up nicely. Some of the crackers may spread and separate in the sauce, and that is totally fine. Do not try to touch or move them, the caramel is burning hot. Bake it for 5 minutes.
Very carefully remove the pan from the oven and toss the chocolate chips on top.
Carefully place the pan back in the oven so it can bake about another minute.
Remove the pan from the oven and spread the chocolate chips over the caramel layer.
While the chocolate is hot and melty, toss on your toppings (sprinkles, nuts, chopped pretzels…etc).
Let the candy cool down to room temperature, and then place the tray in your fridge or freezer to completely set.
Cut or break the toffee into pieces and place in an airtight container. I prefer to store in the fridge (or even freezer), but this can be stored on the counter.
Saltine Cracker Candy Toppings
There are so many ways to top this super simple cracker candy…here are some suggestions:
- sprinkles (we used Christmas sprinkles, but you could use multi-color for a birthday candy idea)
- chopped nuts
- crushed pretzels
- mini chocolate chips
- coarse sea salt
- toffee pieces
- dried cranberry bits (I have a nice one that has orange flavor…so good!)
- dried cherry chopped in small bits
- white chocolate drizzle (this looks pretty when you add on sprinkles on top of the drizzle)
Frequently Asked Questions about this recipe:
Are soda crackers the same as saltines?
Yes! Saltine crackers are also referred to as soda crackers. That is probably because they are made with baking soda.
Can I make these with other crackers?
YES! I have had this with Ritz crackers. I have seen them made with graham crackers and I have even tried them with matzo crackers (SO good!).
Do I need to use a candy thermometer for saltine cracker candy?
No, a candy thermometer is not needed. Just be sure that the sugar mixture is brought to a full rolling boiling for a full 3 minutes. IF you want to use your candy thermometer, the temperature should be at the “soft ball stage”, or 235-245 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can you use margarine instead of butter?
I did not try to make this with margarine. Since I was making this as a gift, pure butter was used. And it doesn’t matter if you use salted or unsalted butter. IF you use salted butter, make sure you use an unsalted cracker, otherwise it will be too salty.
Can light brown sugar be used to sub dark brown?
Yes! Light brown sugar can be used to substitute brown sugar. I even made a batch with coconut sugar, but the caramel sauce was not the same (but it tasted amazing).
How do I prevent the caramel/toffee from becoming gritty?
The best solution for that is to melt the butter and sugar starting out on a low heat. You can stir it as this low heat stage. Once the butter melts, raise the heat and let it come to a rolling boil (do not stir at this point or scrape sides or bottom of pan). Let it do it’s thing at a rolling boil for a full 3 minutes (set a timer!!).
Can I use parchment paper in place of foil paper?
Yes! It doesn’t matter what you use, parchment or foil paper is fine. Or a silicone baking mat (if you own one).
What kind of chocolate chips are used for saltine cracker candy?
I recommend using a better quality chocolate chip, like Ghirardelli. I have tried it with Nestle’ and they did not melt the right way (it was gloppy…and I will not try again with Nestle’). Any sort of chip is fine, like semi-sweet, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. I used dark chocolate! Also, be sure to use fresh chocolate chips. If they aren’t fresh, that will also affect how they melt.
Why did my caramel become sticky?
If your caramel (toffee) is sticky, it could be you didn’t boil it long enough or there is humidity affecting the result. Be sure to bring to a rolling boil for a full 3 minutes.
Can you freeze saltine toffee?
Because this candy has saltine crackers that could potentially get soggy when you defrost them, you’ll generally hear that you shouldn’t freeze saltine toffee. I have heard of the candy getting soggy as it defrosts from the freezer, but it didn’t happen with ours.
How long can you store Saltine cracker candy (AKA Christmas Crack)?
This candy keeps safely at room temperature for up to a week in an airtight container. But I do prefer to keep this in the fridge or the freezer. It could melt and come together in a warm kitchen, so I do not recommend storing on a kitchen counter.
How to clean caramel sauce stuck in the saucepan?
The best way to clean up that sticky toffee is to fill up the pan halfway with water and bring it to a boil. The sauce should melt away from the pan and make it easier to clean with a sponge. I have also soaked the pan with very hot water for a few minutes and then it cleans right out.
Just one more note…the candy is fine at room temperature. But the chocolate does melt pretty fast as soon as you touch it. My personal preference is to keep it in the fridge, nice and cold! If you forgot to give a special someone you know a little baked something…this is what you should make today!
Some other Christmas sweets recipes:
Saltine Cracker Candy
- 1 ½ sleeves salted saltine crackers about 45 crackers
- 1 ½ cups unsalted butter* 3 sticks
- 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
- 12 ounces chocolate chips*
- Preheat the oven to 400º Fahrenheit.
- Line a 12×17” baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (use a silicone mat if you have one). Spray lightly with baking spray (or grease it lightly with some butter).
- Spread out the crackers, salted side up. Be sure to line them up as evenly as possible (they will move when the toffee gets poured on, and that’s ok), small spaces between them is totally fine.
- In a medium sized saucepan, add the butter and brown sugar. Over low heat, begin to melt the butter. It is ok to stir the butter at this point to combine it with the sugar.
- Once the butter melts, bring it to a rolling boil with the sugar. Set the timer for 3 minutes and do not stir it at this point.
- As soon as timer is up, immediately remove the pan from the heat and very carefully pour it over the crackers. Some of the crackers may float a little, and that is totally fine. Use a heatproof spatula to coat crackers completely with this caramel sauce, trying to keep it in as even a layer as possible. You could carefully straighten the stray crackers. But it does not have to be perfectly lined up.
- Very carefully place the tray in the oven.
- Bake for 5-6 minutes. The toffee will be nicely bubbling.
- Carefully remove the pan from the oven. You could adjust any of the crackers that floated too far apart. Sprinkle on the chocolate chips evenly over the top.
- Return the pan to the oven for 2 more minutes.
- Remove and then spread the chocolate evenly over the crackers.
- While the chocolate layer is still warm and melted, sprinkle on your preferred topping choice-or you could leave it as is, topping free (I used sprinkles).
- Slide the tray into the fridge and let it chill for 30 minutes (1 hour is preferable).
- Using a very sharp knife, cut into small pieces, or you could use your clean hands and break it into pieces.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Butter: If you are using salted crackers, use unsalted butter.
If you happen to be using an unsalted cracker, you could use salted butter.
- Sugar: light brown or dark brown sugar is best. I did try to use coconut sugar, and it wasn’t working correctly. The sauce had a strange texture, but I did end up using it and it firmed up very nicely.
- Chocolate: Best to use a high quality chocolate chip. I used Ghirardelli and it melts perfectly. I have had issues with Nestle’ not melting correctly.
- Topping: I used sprinkles, but you could use chopped nuts, or whatever toppings you prefer.