Christmas Crack

Christmas Crack! Saltine crackers coated with caramel and chocolate. A salty, crunchy holiday treat. What's not to love?
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Photography Credit: Irvin Lin and Emma Christensen

I don’t know if this is called “crack” because of the way it breaks into big, wonderful pieces, because it’s made with crackers, or because it’s so darn addictive. Regardless, I’m a fan.

With this classic Christmas treat, Saltine crackers get a double dunking: first in caramel and then in chocolate.

The result is a salty, crunchy, chocolate-covered treat that’s nearly impossible to stop eating.

Christmas Crack

Constant stirring as you make the caramel mixture gives you a finished candy that’s closer to the texture of pralines than English toffee. You have a deep caramel flavor, but the bites are fairly soft and easy to chew. The crispiness comes from the crackers themselves.

You can get fancy and sprinkle nuts, coconut flakes, or holiday-colored sprinkles on top if you want, but I’m a purist when it comes to my Christmas crack. I like it just as is.

The only thing I might consider is a sprinkling of crunchy Maldon sea salt on top of the chocolate to make them even more crunchy and salty. But I’m fearful that if I do that, I might not stop eating them!

Christmas Crack

Christmas Crack Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: About 35 pieces

Feel free to add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts or coconut flakes on top once you’ve poured the melted chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 28 to 35 saltine crackers (about one sleeve, enough to line your tray)
  • 1 cup (220 g) packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (225 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (10 to 12 ounces) chopped dark chocolate

Special equipment:

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan with nonstick aluminum foil (preferred) or regular heavy duty foil, making sure that the foil completely covers the bottom and sides of the pan. If using regular foil, spray lightly with baking spray. Line the saltine crackers in a single layer on the bottom.

Christmas Crack

2 Make the caramel sauce: Place the brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium sized saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 to 5 minutes, just until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to darken. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

(Note: You're not actually making true caramel here, so you don't need to be as precise or worry about the temperature of the caramel. Just make sure it comes to a boil and wait for it to darken slightly, then continue.)

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3 Pour the hot brown sugar mixture over the saltine crackers. Spread to evenly coat the crackers.

Christmas Crack

4 Move the pan to the oven and bake for 5 minutes. The caramel will be hot and bubbly.

Christmas Crack

5 Melt the chocolate: Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook it in the microwave in 30-second intervals at full power, stirring between each cook time, until the chocolate has melted.

Christmas Crack

6 Pour the chocolate over the baked crackers: Once the crackers are done baking, remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 minute, until the caramel is no longer bubbling. Then pour the melted chocolate over the crackers. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top.

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7 Cool the crackers overnight: Let the crackers cool to room temperature then move to the refrigerator and cool over night.

8 "Crack" the crackers: The crackers will form a single sheet once cool. Remove from pan and gently peel the foil away, being careful not to tear the foil. (If any bits of foil tear and get stuck in the caramel, break those bits away and discard.) Cut the candy into snack-sized pieces using a chefs knife (you can use your hands, too, but I find it easier with a knife).

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week.

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Irvin Lin

Irvin Lin is an IACP award-winning photographer, food writer and recipe developer, blue-ribbon baker, public speaker and occasional social media consultant. His blog is Eat the Loveand his first cookbook is Marbled, Swirled and Layered.

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Christmas Crack

Showing 4 of 28 Comments

  • Serena Milan

    I would love to be a parchment paper user for more of my baking, but how do you get it to lie flat when you get it off the roll without cursing like a sailor and throwing a few plates at the wall? Otherwise, I absolutely love this recipe and make it as often as I can get away with it.

  • Cheryl

    Loved it but changed it a little. I used parchment paper so it wouldn’t stick. I first used melted 1/2 of the choc chips and put on the parchment paper immediately laying the crackers on top. ( I did the pan in 1/3rd’s). The crackers stuck in the chocolate and was easier to make doing this then added the caramel and then sprinkled it with the rest of the chocolate chips. Put in oven for 3 minutes then spread the chocolate. After spreading the chocolate I added English toffee pieces on 1/3 of the pan, chopped pecans on 1/3 of the pan & the rest got crushed up pretzels and a little crushed candy cane. Then let set…these were a hit. Thanks for a great recipe that was easy to change up for the crowd.

  • Cynthia

    use parchment paper, should just peel off..

  • Carrie

    I used crushed pretzels on top. Also i used parchment paper so it wouldnt stick

  • Julie

    Just made these! I used ghirardelli dark chocolate and modified the recipe a little by sprinkling pecan chips onto the caramel before layering on the chocolate and then sprinkled the top with sea salt. Haven’t gotten to try them yet but damn they looked and smell good.

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