Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Clinging to Christmas

Happy New Year and welcome to 2012! I am, as the title indicates, still clinging on to Christmas, despite hauling out the tree and packing away all of the decorations yesterday.

It was a simply perfect holiday down on the North Carolina coast and up here in DC with plenty of parties and happy time spent with family and friends. It is my favorite time of the year and I've been down in the dumps all weekend thinking that I have to wait another 11 months for Santa mugs filled with spiced (and spiked) cider.

One thing I really should wait 11 months before indulging in again was one of our favorite dessert discoveries of this season. I've included the recipe below with the warning that this is dangerously easy and totally decadent. Create with caution...

Saltine Toffee
1 sleeve saltine crackers
2 sticks butter (I like salted)
1 cup brown sugar (dark)
12 oz. high quality semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Line an 11 x 17 pan with foil. I find it's best to use only one sheet to cover the bottom if possible - sides do not need to be covered all the way up. Lay out your saltines in the pan with their sides touching - fit in as many as possible. Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over high heat. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Once mixture starts to boil, stop stirring and start the timer for 3 minutes. It will look dramatic, you will be afraid that it may burn - but be brave, keep the heat on high, because the darker the caramel, the more delicious. 

Once the timer goes off, immediately remove the caramel from the heat and stir a few times. Pour over prepared saltines and use spoon to spread the caramel so all crackers are covered. Pop into the oven for seven minutes. 

Meanwhile, place chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat for one minute at at time, stirring in between microwave blasts until chocolate is nice and melted. 

Remove saltines from the oven and pour chocolate over the top smoothing with a spatula until a thick layer of chocolate covers all of the crackers. 

Refrigerate for one hour- or until everything is nicely set up. Break into chunks. Devour.