Toffee Saltine Bars with Chocolate and Nuts

We have been waking up for a few weeks now with part of our kitchen counter top covered in holiday baking ingredients. It is now starting to dwindle down which is great because to be honest, I’m a bit tired of looking at all of it taking up space, but what I still love about it is that every time I walk by them I begin thinking of things I can make out of them. Sure it is pretty much the same ingredients (butter, flour, sugars, variety of chocolate chips, extracts, nuts, and snacks) but something always comes to mind, well at least after a few thought attempts!

I made these toffee saltine bars for a couple of reasons. I recall someone in my family stating they did not like coffee, or nuts on their desserts, and for my advantage I wanted to use up some leftover saltine crackers that were just on the brink of getting stale, so this was an easy challenge to make haters of toffee and nuts into lovers and get rid of the crackers. I will mention that I won on both accounts!

Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts
Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped, optional
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • parchment paper, recommended

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Start by heating a small pot on medium heat. Add in your sugar and butter, and let that begin to come to a light simmer.

During this time, line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper. Lay the saltine crackers onto the parchment paper, covering edge to edge if possible, salt side up.

Once the butter and sugar is completely melted and bubbling, let it bubble for about 1 minute, the pour the mixture over all of the saltines, covering all of them.

Place these into the preheated oven and bake for about 8 minutes.

 

Remove from the oven, and pour on the chocolate chips, covering all of the crackers.

Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts
Toffee Saltine Crackers with Chocolate and Nuts

Let the chocolate chips set for about 2-3 minutes, then use an offset spatula or spatula and gently spread the chips as they should easily be melted.

Once covered, top with the chopped nuts. As you can see I did a half sheet of nuts, and one with just chocolate. A win/win for everyone. Doing so prevents kids or adults from taking a bar covered in nuts and stopping them from brushing off any nuts!

Let these cool and harden, about 1 hour or 10 minutes in my garage, and then begin breaking them into bite sized pieces. Place them onto a serving platter, or freeze in a ziplock bag until ready to gift.

The result is a real crowd pleaser. These a chocolaty, buttery, and crunchy deliciousness. There was no doubt on the toffee part would be a overall treat, and something that won over the family. Hope you enjoy!

 

Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

It is holiday season, and one thing that I probably would never thought I would really get into from a cooking experience is baking cookies. I think that ‘time’ is currently on my hand and when I heard my wife and daughter talking about making cookies for guests this year, I decided I would get my feet wet and dive in. This baking of sweets is something I typically always stay on the sidelines with as I am not into desserts or sweets (I stand corrected), so I have always let my wife take the lead during this time of year.

I’ve said it countless times of how I am not into desserts, and I stood by that for many, many years. That is until recently. Now, I cannot get enough of sweets, whether it is candy, cookies, bars, or anything in between… I am trying these sweets, loving every bite, and making attempts at baking. So to say the least, I have been on a roll in the baking zone now for nearly a few weeks now, typically batching out at least two different types of holiday cookies a week. This recipe is just too simple not to make and the combination of sweet and salty just make them very addictive. These are the Pretzel and Hershey Kiss bites.

Christmas Cookies - Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites
Christmas Cookies – Pretzel and Hershey Kiss Bites

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag mini salted pretzels
  • 1 bag Hershey Kisses
  • 1 bag Christmas colored M&Ms
  • Parchment paper, optional

That’s it. Sometimes it is crazy to think about how little a few ingredients combined can make something so delicious and addictive. This is one of those.

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.

Now for the monotonous part, and a great task to hand over to kids. In my case I was home alone and I had to take this one over. Talk about a test of patience, this is it but if you can get over this hurdle, then you are going to be a winner.

Lay the pretzels onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Unwrap and place a Hershey Kiss onto the center of each pretzel piece.

Repeat until all pretzels are completed. Place the sheet(s) into the preheated oven and bake for about 7-10 minutes, making sure that the kisses do not melt. You want the chocolate to be nice and glossy.

Carefully remove them from the oven and gently push a M&M piece into the Hershey Kiss. Repeat (again, super monotonous) until all Kisses have been topped. I place the baking sheets in my garage for about 10 minutes to set. Did I mention I love having the garage as my second refrigerator/freezer?

Once the chocolate is cool and hardened a bit, plate them up, take a few for snacking, and freeze what you want in a ziplock bag for future holiday plating.

Your patience will pay off, trust me. I know mine was well worth it seeing the expressions on my kids faces, and their constant intake of these little morsels. Hope you enjoy and I’m curious as I trek through lots of holiday baking… what is your favorite holiday cookie?