There’s a reason everyone adores Christmas crackers (also known as Christmas crack) – it hits all the right notes – sweet-salty-crunchy-chewy-buttery-chocolatey – and is easier to make than any batch of cookies. Sold? I’m sorry. And you’re welcome.
The formula is all over the internet: lay about a sleeve and a half of (salted!) saltines on a parchment-lined sheet. Bring a cup each of butter and brown sugar to a boil – at first it will look like it’s swimming in melted butter, but after a minute of stirring, will look like proper caramel. Let it bubble for 3 minutes, then pour it over the crackers. Slide it into a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes (watch toward the end to make sure it’s not burning), until it’s deep golden, then pull it out and scatter a handful or two of chocolate chips overtop. About a cup and a half.
Leave them for a minute or two, then spread the chocolate (which will be perfectly melted and not scorched or seized) over the caramel. That’s it.
Then all you need to do is let it cool, bash it into pieces and make yourself and anyone around you very happy.
Funnily enough, I went to a party tonight at which a friend made a batch using Breton crackers, which made them sort of nutty/tweedy, but I still like salty saltines best. Another friend made some for another party a couple weeks ago – it was my official reminder of how much I love the stuff, and that I should bring it back into my yearly repertoire – and she doubled the caramel in hers. I heartily endorse this. Actually, for a large rimmed sheet pan and 6×8 rows of standard saltines, I did 1 1/4 cups of butter to 1 1/4 cups of packed brown sugar, and it was pretty perfect.
Comfort and joy.