Wednesday, December 15, 2010

White Chocolate Honey Nut Saltine Brittle


As a child, I was obsessed by crafts. When you’re very young you’re blissfully unaware of the fact that the green construction paper Christmas tree you’re adorning with shiny ornaments cut from purple tinfoil will be only beautiful in the eyes of your mother. Whenever my school would take us to museums, I would always, always use the $2.00 we were allowed as souvenir money to purchase little statues of animals with fuzzy coats and make them diorama habitats out of shoeboxes at home. I lived a very exiting life, as you can tell.  

At some point such thoughts as: “hey, an empty spool with a plastic lid can make a great doll table” seems to go away.  I think that decorating cakes, cookies, and candy and wrapping presents is as close to crafts as most grownups get, unless they have a profession in the arts.  This very simple recipe is almost more of a craft than a recipe, but it’s fun, easy enough to make with kids, yet can look quite fancy if you use good ingredients.

White Chocolate Honey Nut Saltine Brittle

For a half batch:

Ingredients
20-25 Saltine crackers
1 stick of butter
1/ 2 cup of light brown sugar
3/ 4 cup (or more) of white chocolate chips (room temperature)
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts (or cashews or chopped pecans)

Procedure
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Cover half a cookie sheet with parchment paper or tinfoil.
  3. Put a single layer of saltine crackers, side by side, on the  covered sheet (approximately 20-25).
  4. Melt one stick of butter (1/2 a cup) and 1/ 2 a cup brown sugar in a saucepan until bubbling.
  5. Pour the mixture over the saltines.
  6. Bake until the saltines are bubbling in the hot sugar and butter mixture, approximately 5-7 minutes
  7. Cover the saltines with  white chocolate chips
The original recipe specified 3/ 4 of a cup of chocolate for an ENTIRE pan (40 crackers). I found that to be far too stingy—3/4 of a cup was just enough to cover my 1 /2 a pan with 20 crackers.

  1. As the chips melt , spread them with a knife until the saltines are covered with a smooth layer of chocolate
  2. If your chips don’t melt, you can put the pan back in the oven for a minute—But only AFTER you’ve turned off the oven. Don’t put the pan in a ‘hot’ oven, only a warm one, because the chips will turn to liquid.  You want them to be the consistency of soft butter.
  3. Sprinkle the nuts on the chocolate.
  4. Chill until very hard, approximately 2-3 hours.  Some versions of this recipe suggest freezing  the saltines.  However, my refrigerator solidified the brittle quite quickly. The freezer would have made it too hard.
  5.  Break or cut the brittle into sections. Unless you have a very sharp knife, I’d suggest breaking over cutting.
  6. When wrapping the pieces as a gift, make sure to put down a piece of wax paper in the container, as the candy will still be slightly sticky.
Saltine brittle is usually made with chocolate and chopped walnuts or pecans, so this is my ‘twist’ on the idea. However, you can use any combination of chocolate, nuts, or other add-ons.

For kids, using colored sprinkles, M&Ms, chopped peanut butter cups, crushed Butterfingers or Heath bars would be fun.  Make sure to cut the candy bars in small pieces.

The fact that this is so easy and inexpensive also makes it a great 'thank-you' gift to give in small bags around the holidays. I've heard it suggested as a 'teacher's gift.'  However, as one of my jobs involves working with students, please note that I don't mind cash, either.

There are  many variations you can try on this recipe. Here is the full pan recipe. Similar to mine, only with milk chocolate and an addition of vanilla to the butter and sugar (which I don't really think is required). There's an even sweeter version with graham crackers and butterscotch. And if you're from Texas, all of this will seem far too austere, so I have to direct you to Cookie Madness' version, which uses Fritos as a base.

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