This easy Christmas Crack recipe is one of my favorite holiday indulgences. I mean really, it is basically hardened caramel covered in chocolate. How could you go wrong?
But this classic saltine toffee now goes by another name. Christmas Crack.
What's In This Article
Christmas Crack Toffee
It got its name from being pretty cravable and then again from being made mostly at Christmas time. It was originally known as saltine toffee, but about a decade ago earned its street name, the slang Christmas Crack.
I have a love for toffee; stick-to-my-teeth toffee. Whether it be just plain, dotted with nuts or drizzled with melted chocolate, I love every type, but my love for the salty and sweet flavor affinity makes any type of saltine cracker toffee my absolute favorite.
Most recipes use a single layer of saltine crackers. Light and delicate, but covered in salt, these are the perfect base to be smothered in liquid gold butter toffee mix.
But I like using Ritz crackers. They are essentially a buttery version of saltine. Still flaky and salty, but with more flavor in the actual cracker. Why not add more butter?
Christmas Crack has historically been topped with shredded coconut or chopped nuts. Any type of chopped candy also works well. M&Ms are a family favorite.
I like to top my saltine toffee off with a spread of chocolate, but you can make yours with or without. If you like this butter toffee, also check out my Candy Toffee and Bacon Chocolate Saltine Toffee.
As the name suggests, Christmas is the most popular time of year for this Christmas crack candy. It’s a holiday favorite and the perfect addition to your cookie trays. It’s ideal for making ahead and taking to potluck parties. People always go ga-ga over a simple treat like toffee!
- Crackers – My favorites to use are either Ritz crackers or Saltine crackers. I haven’t personally used them, but I know some people have also used Club crackers.
- Butter – This is one of the few recipes that I will tell you it doesn’t matter if you use unsalted butter or salted. This is an inherently salty treat already, so I usually use unsalted.
- Light brown sugar – When mixed with melted butter and heated to a specific temperature, brown sugar makes a toffee that hardens into a delightfully crispy texture.
- Vanilla extract – Vanilla helps to being all of the flavors of this easy Christmas crack recipe together. You could use almond for an added flavor.
- Chocolate chips – I like to use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but feel free to use milk chocolate, white chocolate chips or even dark chocolate for the chocolate layer if you prefer.
- Fleur de sel – This is optional but highly recommended! It adds an extra element of salty flavor, and if you’ve been around for awhile, you know how much I love salt!
How to Make Christmas Cracker Candy
- Prepare sheet pan and oven. Preheat oven and line a baking dish with parchment paper, carefully folding the edges so you can easily lay the crackers flat.
- Line baking sheet with a single layer of crackers. If using Ritz, the circles won’t line up perfectly, so break a few into halves and do a second layer to cover holes. It doesn’t need to look pretty.
- Make brown sugar mixture. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently until fully combined and smooth. Allow it to reach 285 degrees using a candy thermometer.
- Pour over crackers. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Mixture will spit a little, this is normal. Pour over crackers while hot. It will start to set immediately.
- Bake. Bake, remove and turn off oven.
- Add chocolate chips. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips, then return to the warm oven (oven is off, but warm). Allow to sit in warm oven until chocolate starts to glisten slightly. Using an offset spatula to smooth it out.
- Top with fleur de sel. Remove, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and allow to cool slightly before putting the fridge to set. This will take several hours before toffee is easily cut.
Christmas Crack Tips & Troubleshooting
- Make sure your toffee mixture comes to 285 degrees using a candy thermometer. This ensures it has reached the correct temperature to chemically change and also evaporate enough water out of the mixture to set correctly. Toffee can be temperamental.
- Avoid making toffee on humid days. Just like not enough water evaporating out, if it is a super humid day, it can impact setting.
- This toffee won’t be super hard and crunchy like peanut brittle.
- If you have a little grittiness, it likely isn’t the sugar if you took care to let it dissolve. It is the crackers. Even after being slathered in a butter mixture, they will still retain a crumb.
- Some folks reported their chocolate didn’t soften enough to spread. I’ve never had a problem just using a warm oven, but feel free to leave the oven heat on to ensure it being hot enough.
Storage & Freezing
Christmas crack is make ahead and freezer friendly. To store, simply place in an airtight container at room temperture in a dry and cool place. They can be refrigerated as well, but toffee tends to get a little hard.
Christmas crack does freeze well. Wrap in freezer paper and then place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 months.
- Chocolate – As mentioned above, you can switch up the type of chocolate you use for the chocolate layer. If using white chocolate, you can even dye it red and green.
- Topping – While the chocolate is still melted, top your saltine cracker candy with some crushed candy canes, coconut flakes or fun and festive holiday sprinkles! It makes them fun for cookie exchanges during the holiday season.
- Candy – If not making for Christmas, you can add smaller pieces of any type of candy on top of the chocolate. Heath bits, toffee bits or even M&M’s would all be a great addition.
More Easy Dessert Recipes
- Caramel Apple Bites with Brie
- Chocolate Bacon Jam Cookies
- Chocolate Caramel Pretzels
- No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
- Crockpot Peanut Clusters
Christmas Crack Recipe
- 50 Ritz Crackers or Saltine Crackers
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoons fleur de sel , optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper, carefully folding the edges so you can easily lay the crackers flat.
- Line baking dish with crackers. If using Ritz, the circles won't line up perfectly, so break a few into halves and do a second layer to cover holes. It doesn't need to look pretty.
- In a medium saucepan, heat butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently until fully combined and smooth. Allow it to reach 285 degrees using a candy thermometer and then let is stay at this heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Mixture will spit a little, this is normal. Pour over crackers while hot. It will start to set immediately.
- Bake for 8 minutes. Remove and turn off oven.
- Sprinkle top with chocolate chips, then return to the warm oven (oven is off, but warm). Allow to sit in warm oven for 1-2 minutes or until chocolate starts to glisten slightly. Using an offset spatula to smooth it out.
- Using an offset spatula to smooth it out.
- Remove, sprinkle with fleur de sel, and allow to cool slightly before putting the fridge to set. This will take several hours before toffee is easily cut.
- Remove parchment paper and cut into squares.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.
This we usually eat at Christmas time, there’s no need to wait for Christmas time to eat this it tastes good at any time of the year! we usually bake it for movie nights or such occasions, it tastes so good whenever you eat it. So this my recommendation for it. Although l do not like the peanut butter version of it.
Margaret Jones from The beautiful shores of Georgian Bay. On. Canada
OOOO…You lucky ducky! Spent every summer on the Georgian Bay for over 33 years. Now too old to travel and Passport and such is also too much in todays world. Sit back eat Christmas Crack and look (10000’s of photo’s!) and think back on the waves, the Pickerel, moss and the rocks and a Big Slice of Heaven; Parry Sound Britt area.
Oh! And THIS recipe is THE BEST!
Love this version of Christmas crack. I’ve tried it with pretzels but much prefer the way you make them. Can’t wait to whip up a batch this holiday season.
This was amazing and such a treat! Thank you! Everyone in my family loved it.
This is one of my favourite treats, and I can admit without shame that I made it in the middle of August and enjoyed it for days with a cup of coffee! Really good recipe, easy and quick! Would highly recommend it!
The best Christmas Crack recipe there is! So tasty!
Yes! I’ve been looking for this recipe and this is perfect. I used the ritz which I thought was a fun change from the traditional saltines!
Tried your recipe for the first time. Had a slightly larger glass pan. So far so good, but I did have to ad additional chips to spread around. It was a bit difficult spreading. I had to put it back in over for an additional 5 minutes.But I’m sure to gonna be delicious!
I think the melting depends on the brand of chips. I’ll make a note in the recipe to specify. Thanks!
I had no issues with the chocolate. Maybe it is the type of chocolate people are using? I will say that I didn’t cook the brown sugar long enough initially and it was still grainy and not smooth. But that was my fault. I don’t think it is supposed to fully “set”. If this is like my grandmother’s it is kind of sticky and chewy. Great and easy recipe!
This recipe didn’t work for me as well. The chocolate chips didn’t melt…just bubbled in place and I wasnt able to spread it. Total fail. I had to make a 2nd batch; this time I melted the chocolate chips in the microwave and then spread it over the toffee layer. That worked better!
Thanks for the feedback!
This did not work for me at all. A big portion of the bottom didn’t set up and the chocolate was sunken in and charred. I think there is some issue with the recipe steps-perhaps the choc needs to go on after the crackers covered in butter and sugar are baked? I have made something similar using a different recipe using that method and that seemed to work. I’m bummed cause this was a huge Pinterest fail for me.
Ugh, Amy, I am so sorry! I re-read the instructions and that is how I make them. I’m sure this was disappointing.
Instructions mention maple syrup in step #3 but no quantity listed in ingredients.
Please advise how much maple syrup.
Can’t wait to try!
Hi Renee- total honesty, I have NO CLUE how that got in there! I must have been working late. No maple syrup in this. I wonder how others made it, LOL.
Yes! I LOVE making cracker with Ritz crackers instead of saltines. It’s soooo good. And your photos are making me wish I were eating butter toffee for breakfast right now. 😉
Love how easy this is to put together! Must give it a go 🙂
Salty sweet is my favourite combination, I love the idea of using buttery ritz crackers.
Yes! I love toffee, and this one looks super easy.
Yum! This looks incredible! I love that layer of chocolate and sea salt on top. So perfect for the holidays!