Someone please tell me: how are we on the heels of August already? How can it be that I’ve not yet witnessed a single one of summer’s silk scarf sunsets for myself? More broadly: where have my evenings gone? I won’t for a minute complain that our darling bug takes her bath, like clockwork, at 6:30 every night and is snoozing peacefully by 8. Nor would I trade that solid hour plus of sleepytime snuggles for the sun glinting rosy on an emptying wine glass — but if I could just have my cake and eat it, too, as the saying goes. If I could have my cake at all, these days…sigh.
To be fair, I did partake in an irresponsible amount of cake this past weekend when my mom (so mommishly) picked me up a box of dairy-free cupcakes while the rest of our family luxuriated in the candy-coated cloud that is Coffee Crunch Cake when we came together to celebrate Lana’s first 100 days. (I’ve since vowed to make a dairy-free version since much of the Coffee Crunch recipe is already sans-milk, but I fear the trick is getting the whipped cream frosting as ethereally airy as the real thing. Coconut cream really only gets so whippy, you know? But I wouldn’t hold your breath or anything. Because…me.)
But that doesn’t mean I’m not completely fiending for the real thing. Or the icy cold glass of good ol’ cow’s milk that goes alongside. Still sadfaces.
Clearly, I concocted the beautifully craggy toffee situation you see here when dairy and I were still buds (hallllllooooo butter) — or rather, before I knew dairy was the alleged culprit behind Lana’s grunts and gurgles. In fact, this was one of the first recipes I turned to right after she was born when my mudroom began filling up with empty Tupperware containers just begging to be returned to their owners. (Friends that gift you hot meals when you’re too busy wondering if your nipples are going to be there in the morning to get dinner on the table are the best kinda friends.)
Following my momma’s adage that a container received filled should be returned filled, I whipped up batches of this toffee like it was going out of style. The recipe, which is heavily based on Averie’s version, is simple. A couple sleeves of crisp, salty crackers. A generous pourover of glossy butter toffee. And plenty of chocolate — not one (though if that’s all you have on hand, so be it), but two, in fact: bitter, floral dark and silky sweet white. With the brown, nutty richness of roasty toasty almonds over the top and plenty of crunchy sea salt — well, let’s just say I played a whole lotta “one for you and two for me” while doling out each sharp, crackery shard.
In the summer heat, I love nibbling on a piece or three of this aptly named Crack straight out of the fridge or freezer (it also helps with the self-control — out of sight, out of mind?), but in the cooler months, it’ll keep perfectly at room temperature, making it a pretty dandy candy to gift for the holidays. Which, at the pace things are moving these days, will be here, like, tomorrooooohhhemmmmgeee.
Here’s to enjoying every moment of this second half of summer, everyone. Take in those fiery sunsets on my behalf!
- 40-50 saltine crackers
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ½ cup chopped roasted almonds
- sea salt
- cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray liberally with cooking spray (the sprayable coconut oil stuff did the trick for me).
- Arrange crackers aligned edge-to-edge in a single layer on the sheet. (Some overlap is ok if you're really trying to cram those last two crackers from the sleeve onto the sheet!)
- In a saucepan, combine butter and sugar; bring to a boil set over medium-high flame while stirring constantly. When mixture is bubbling, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 3-5 minutes (continuing to stir frequently) until sugar has fully dissolved and mixture has thickened. Do not scorch.
- When mixture has thickened, remove pan from the heat; wait 30 seconds, then stir in vanilla.
- Pour toffee evenly over crackers.
- Bake toffee'd crackers in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, or until toffee mixture becomes melty and bubbly.
- Remove pan and allow to rest 3-5 mins.
- When toffee-crackers have rested, sprinkle white and dark chocolate chips over the top. Allow to melt 3-5 mins before using a silicone spatula to smooth them into an even layer. (You could get fancy here and attempt to do something crazy creative with the mix of white and dark chocolate, but I kinda just smeared them together kinda quick-like.)
- Scatter melted chocolate with almonds and finish with sea salt.
- Pop entire confection into the fridge or freezer until completely set before breaking into pieces. Enjoy!
OH! before you go…
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I loovveee these! They remind me of my husband’s grandmother, a woman who should win all the grandmother awards out there. Nothing against my own grandmas, but she’s just doing it right all the time. These are her signature cookies and they’re the best! Thinking about making a batch and then folding them into some ice cream.. dairy free ice cream for you, ma dear 🙂
Atta Grandma! She sounds awesome. And that is a SPECTACULAR idea, Coley. If you do that, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give me the heads up! (Or once I perfect a dairy-free version of these, I might just have to give it a try, myself!)
this used to be my mom’s go-to (back before i started baking) whenever she wanted something homemade to bring to parties but didn’t want to actually bake anything. i love your addition of almonds; the crunchier these are, the better.
I had never had anything like this until we lived in the Midwest. I think back there they call it Santa Crack or Christmas Crack or something and typically give it out at the holidays. The concept has kind of a Betty Crocker feel to it that I really groove on. 🙂 And yes — with the nuts it almost feels more substantial. Like you could eat half a pan and get away with calling it “lunch.” 😉
You are so thoughtful. 🙂 I am sure your wonderful friends will enjoy this scrumptious creation (I am drooling <3 <3 <3 ) even though they know you are so busy and probably won't expect anything to fill their containers when you return them.
P.S. I am so sorry to hear that Lana is allergic to dairy 🙁 But at this century, there are many more food for her to enjoy than before. I hope that it's not anything too severe though. Sending huge hugs to Lana. xoxo
Thanks for the hugs, Pang! <3 And it’s supposedly a pretty common allergy for little ones. Typically they outgrow it by a year or so — but YES, even if it does stick around, there are so many more alternatives now. I’m sure I could find a way to make this vegan if I really tried. (Hmm, maybe using coconut oil, margarine or shortening? Might have to give that a shot…)
I FEEL SO MUCH JOY ABOUT ALL OF THIS. Well, except the lactose intolerant part. Ugh. So sorry. But damn that salty cracker crack. I’m already finding for it.
I mean, the lactose intolerance is The Sucks, but on the upside, I’m eating fruit likes it’s going out of style. Because when all you want is a fatty chocolate milkshake, a banana totttttalllllly cuts it. :-/
This is an acceptable form of wedding gift, FYI.
I’ll remember that! <3 <3 <3
Thanks for this amazing Easy and delicious recipe that is my new favorite party dessert! I took a batch camping with friends and it was very fondly referred to it as crack too!…the container was completely empty in less than one day!
Yay, you’re so welcome, Laura! Camping is the PERFECT excuse to make up a batch (or several batches) of this stuff. And no judgement from me if you ran through an entire container in one day. Guess you just need a bigger container next time! 🙂