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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