Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.
Millionaire Candy Makeover
I've had soda-cracker candy—also known as saltine candy—and, frankly, wasn't impressed. Matter of fact, I was somewhat put off. It was ugly, unappealing, and just didn't look good. Frankly, it looked like saltines with chocolate. Ew. It tasted OK but not great enough for me to want to have any more of it.
Then I started thinking about millionaire shortbread. This is a simple shortbread that is then dressed up with the addition of chocolate and caramel, maybe nuts—and I realized that the simple country cracker candy should have the same lavish spa treatment that had been given to millionaire shortbread. Think Ellie Mae Clampett getting a makeover by Zsa Zsa Gabor.
At the same time, it had to still be super easy. I want to look like a rockstar, but I don't want to work very hard at it. So after a couple of attempts, I got exactly what I wanted: Millionaire Cracker Candy. The same ease as the traditional country saltine cracker candy, but oh the difference in results!
I swapped out jarred caramel for making a lightning-quick homemade toffee. Baking the toffee into the crackers created a casing around the crackers—meaning the homey, ugly crackers didn't show. (Like not showing your Spanx under a ballgown).
Spreading the chocolate creates a lovely peekaboo effect for the toffee layer, and of course, the gorgeous almonds are just the perfect finishing touch. None of which would matter if the candy didn't taste as good as it looks. But it does, leading my daughter to announce to the other kids: "OMG! Mom's making crack!"
There you have it. Supermom. No effort. Win, win, win.
This list is so short it's almost embarrassing. Almost.
- 1 sleeve saltine crackers (maybe a few more depending on the size of your baking sheet)
- 1 1/2 cups butter
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 cups chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 2 cups chopped almonds (you can use slivered almonds if you like)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Lay crackers out on the baking sheet in a single layer. This takes about a sleeve or so; maybe a few more or less depending on the size of your baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar. Let this come up to temperature relatively slowly, don't crank the heat up. Once it does come to a full boil, boil for right at three minutes. *Important: don't skimp on the size of the saucepan. Bigger is better and safer. Boiling sugar is liquid napalm —you don't want it boiling over and making a huge mess (nothing is worse to clean up than spilled boiled sugar). Or even worse, getting on your skin. Trust me on this one.
- Pour boiled toffee (butter/sugar) evenly over the crackers. Go a little slowly—it'll spread out nicely on its own. If need be, nudge it a bit to cover the surface of all the crackers. The toffee will slow underneath and between the crackers, and create a pretty uniform sheet. That's exactly right.
- Bake cracker/toffee stuff for just about five minutes. That's literally all it takes.
- While the toffee is baking, chop almonds. Remove the toffee from the oven, and while still bubbly, spread the top with the chocolate chips, then sprinkle on almonds.
- Let the chips soften for a couple of minutes, then spread them out with a rubber spatula, patting the almonds down. Stick the baking sheet in the fridge and let it chill for at least 3 hours.
- Once chilled through, break the candy into pieces. Protect from invaders.
© 2017 Jan Charles