Christmas Crack Candy

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?

plate of christmas crack with text overlay for facebook


 

But this classic saltine toffee now goes by another name. Christmas Crack.

You will love this Christmas Crack Recipe!!

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.

Why Is Ours Different?

With so many versions out there, how do you know ours is the best?

  • Butter Crackers– 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?
  • Festive Toppings- 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.
  • Year Round! 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!
pieces of christmas crack on parchment paper

Saltine Cracker Toffee Ingredients

These simple ingredients can all be found at your local grocery store!

  • 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!
straight on shot of plate of saltine toffee

Christmas Crack Variations

There are plenty of ways you can make this Christmas candy your own.

  • 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. Dark chocolate chips would give a richer flavor, while milk chocolate chips are sweeter. You could even try peanut butter chips.
  • 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.
  • Nuts – You could add even more crunch and variety by adding chopped nuts on top. Try something like pecans, peanuts or almonds.
  • Crackers – Use any type of crackers you’d like to. In fact, you can even use graham crackers for a fun, sweet twist.

If you like this butter toffee, also check out my Candy Toffee and Bacon Chocolate Saltine Toffee.

How to Make Christmas Crack Candy

The best part of this Christmas treat is how easy it is to make. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bake. Bake, remove and turn off oven.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Saltine Toffee Tips and Troubleshooting

If you want the perfect Christmas cracker candy every time, be sure to follow these steps!

  • 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.
plate of christmas crack

How to store Saltine Cracker Toffee

Now you’ve made it- how do you store Christmas Crack?

How to Store Toffee

Christmas crack is make ahead and freezer friendly. To store, simply place in an airtight container at room temperature in a dry and cool place. They can be refrigerated as well, but toffee tends to get a little hard (like break-your-teeth hard).

Can You Freeze Saltine Toffee?

Christmas crack does freeze well. Wrap in freezer paper and then place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature and store like freshly made toffee.

straight on shot of stack of saltine toffee

Christmas Crack Saltines FAQs

Why did my Christmas crack turn out grainy?

There could be a few reasons why your Christmas crack turned out grainy:
– Overcooking the caramel: If the caramel mixture is cooked for too long or at too high of a temperature, it can result in a grainy texture. It’s important to follow the recipe instructions carefully and cook the caramel to the desired consistency.
– Improperly melted chocolate: If the chocolate used for topping the Christmas crack is not melted properly, it can become grainy when it cools. Make sure to melt the chocolate gently and slowly, either using a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave, stirring frequently to ensure smoothness.
– Use of low-quality ingredients: The quality of the ingredients used can affect the final texture of the Christmas crack. Using high-quality chocolate, butter, and sugar can help achieve a smoother consistency.
– Insufficient stirring: Proper stirring during the cooking process is essential to prevent sugar crystals from forming and resulting in a grainy texture. Ensure that you stir the caramel mixture continuously until it reaches the desired consistency.

Why is my Christmas crack chewy?

If your Christmas crack turned out chewy instead of crunchy, there could be a couple of reasons. Undercooking the caramel, not allowing enough time for cooling and using low quality ingredients are all possible reasons for chewy toffee bars.

Why is my Christmas crack sticky?

The same reasons Christmas crack is chewy are also why it is sticky: undercooked caramel, not enough cooling and low quality ingredients.

stack of christmas crack with text overlay for pinterest

More Easy Christmas Dessert Recipes

Enjoy even more delicious Christmas recipes!

close up of christmas wreath cookies

Christmas Corn Flake Wreaths

These classic no bake Cornflake Wreaths only use a handful of ingredients and are ready in just 15 minutes! Perfect for Christmas!
See The Recipe!
overhead shot of cut christmas blondies

Christmas Blondies

These EASY Christmas Blondies, with their chewy texture and fun dots of red and green, are the perfect dessert for the Christmas season!
See The Recipe!
peppermint macarons in crushed candy on a white plate

Peppermint Macaron Recipe

Peppermint Twist Macarons are an easy macaron recipe with a buttercream filling. Perfect recette macarons for Christmas cookies and holiday parties. 
See The Recipe!
straight on shot of plate of saltine toffee

Christmas Crack Saltines

4.35 from 32 votes
Saltine Cracker Toffee is a classic butter toffee on top of crunchy, buttery crackers. Make this classic holiday treat in just 20 minutes using 5 ingredients!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 440 kcal, Carbohydrates: 39 g, Protein: 1 g, Fat: 31 g, Saturated Fat: 19 g, Cholesterol: 62 mg, Sodium: 797 mg, Potassium: 170 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 34 g, Vitamin A: 720 IU, Calcium: 44 mg, Iron: 1.6 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 440
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butter toffee, christmas crack, saltine cracker toffee
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of christmas crack for pinterest
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.35 from 32 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    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!
    Thank you.

    1. I think the melting depends on the brand of chips. I’ll make a note in the recipe to specify. Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

    1. Ugh, Amy, I am so sorry! I re-read the instructions and that is how I make them. I’m sure this was disappointing.

  5. Instructions mention maple syrup in step #3 but no quantity listed in ingredients.
    Please advise how much maple syrup.
    Can’t wait to try!

    1. 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.

  6. 5 stars
    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. 😉