So Christmas is essentially over. Most of you are now probably suffering from turkey and stuffing induced comas, or are in the process of recovery, and have already dug out the sweatpants of shame from that dark corner of the closet. In any case, I hope everyone has enjoyed this past day, in whatever way, in gluttony or otherwise, and that it was full of laughter and love. Or, if your family is anything like mine, it was full of danger and pain - the kind of danger and pain that comes of attempting to have a fondue fest, which, theoretically speaking, seems like an awesome idea, but when made into a reality, turns into survival of the fittest, in which a group of people, armed with sharp and pointy objects, crowded around a stove in a kitchen corner, fight for the space to cook their food in pots of boiling hot oil. As it turns out, combining starving people, fork swords, small spaces, and boiling oil, results in a kind of turmoil that leads to burns, blisters, and a great deal of confusion.
I'm pretty sure my grandfather had no idea what the hell was going on - he stood in the kitchen, staring at the violence taking place around the stove, looking confused and lost, as if he was wondering where the food was and if he had wandered into the wrong house and been taken in by a group of actors now rehearsing the opening scene of Macbeth. I myself remained in the safety of the living room, drinking tea and eating a balanced dinner of Ferrero Rocher (all three flavours!).
I had fun, I hope you did too.
And so, posting a recipe for candy - now, after all the madness has ended and most people have been showered with chocolates and cookies and all forms of indulgence - seems pretty stupid, and even liable to get me shot. And while I admit the timing of this recipe is rather poor, those New Year's resolutions are still almost a week away, and so the time of indulgence has not yet ended, and maybe a fast and easy recipe for delicious candy is just the ticket for that New Year's Eve party. Or, in the coming days, you may find yourself in your kitchen (or a kitchen) at some ungodly hour of the day, after having imbibed more alcoholic beverages than is necessarily conducive to good health or motor functions, and be overwhelmed by an incredible desire for chocolate and toffee. In which case, this is the recipe for you.
1 - 2 sleeves Saltine Crackers (or Matzo); enough to fill a large cookie sheet
1 cup Unsalted Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
pinch Sea Salt (optional)
1 tsp Vanilla (optional)
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper, then cover with a single layer of crackers. You may have to break some in half to fill in the edges, so don't worry or cry if the crackers don't fill your sheet perfectly.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar together. Bring to a boil and continue to boil for approximately 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in salt and vanilla (if using) and pour over the crackers, spreading it to cover them completely with a heatproof spatula.
4. Place in the oven and cook for 6 - 8 minutes, until the entire surface is bubbling and your kitchen smells like intense deliciousness.
5. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let sit for1 - 2 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate chips over the caramel with an offset spatula or knife.
6. Let cool completely (I always stick my pan in the freezer for about 20 minutes to speed the process) then break into pieces and serve, or store in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer. Stored at room temperature, they'll be good for roughly a week, and in the freezer, they'll be good for months (not that they'll ever last that long. I also just love the taste of frozen skor bars. No need to thaw before eating - unless you have braces. In which case, I feel your pain.)