Guess what, errbody! It’s Mr. P’s birthday!
He is officially in the “late” half of thirties, but I am just going to be cheerful about that and say we are actually growing old together, just as I’d hoped.
For his birthday, I wanted to make sure to have his favorite foods around: a dinner that involved mushrooms, a birthday cake (well, pie) that involved berries. And as an extra sum’n-sum’n, I dug out my mom’s handwritten recipe for her super-easy toffee. Mr. P always loves him a good Heath bar; this would be like one I made him!
But before I go any further, let me explain: my mom is not especially known for culinary expertise. She’s often said she doesn’t cook, she assembles, meaning the more pre-made things she can style into a tasty dish, the better. So this toffee recipe... it’s for cheaters. You’re gonna need a microwave, and you’re gonna need saltine crackers. Just go with me here. It’ll be delicious in the end!
First things first: line your pan with foil and grease it WELL. This is crucial! So crucial that even though I know you know how to grease a pan, I am putting a photo of it. Foil. Cooking spray. Use ‘em.
Also note that I’m using a 10x15” pan for this recipe. Yours might turn out differently with a different sized pan, so adjust if you want.
Then arrange your crackers on the pan. Forty fit my pan perfectly, and there were only a few left in the sleeve that way. Don’t forget to derive joy from arranging those crackers neatly!
Next we utilize the cheater’s favorite appliance: the microwave. Add one cup of brown sugar to two cut-up sticks of butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Salted butter, of course – cheaters don’t keep unsalted butter around.
No judgment of all that butter and sugar! I mean, what did you expect? We’re making toffee here, not kale chips.
Now microwave that for 20-second intervals, stirring and breaking up the butter in between. Mine took four intervals to look like this:
Stir it well. The sugar won’t completely dissolve in the butter, but that’s ok. (Oh, and cute spatula was a hard-won prize for sweeping all the games at our baby shower. I take my celebrity baby names very seriously.)
Pour that mixture over the crackers and spread evenly. Be sure to go all the way out to the sides to cover those telltale saltine edges. Don’t want your cheating to be THAT obvious!
Then pop the pan in a preheated 375-degree oven for 10 minutes.
While that’s baking, chop up your pecans, if they’re not already in little pieces. You want about a cup of chopped pecans, total.
Once the toffee’s done baking, take it out of the oven and quietly freak out over how your perfectly arranged crackers are no longer perfectly arranged.
Quick, set them straight with a heat-proof spatula! Then immediately pour a 12-ounce bag of chocolate chips over it. That’s about two cups, though if you have only most of a bag sitting around, that’ll work too.
Oh, and this might be obvious, but if you’re like me and tend to store your chips in the freezer, make sure they’re at room temperature before you add them.
Wait about two minutes for the chips to get all melty, then spread the chocolate around. And then while it’s all still warm and melty, distribute the pecans:
Let it sit to cool down a bit, then pop it in your fridge for at least an hour or two. Then it’s done! You made toffee, you cheater.
Well, kinda. Let’s be clear here: England is not going to award you the Best Toffee Ever award for this recipe. It’s made with saltines, for crying out loud. You can even see them in the final product broken into pieces, a cracker ghost encased in amber toffee:
So you won’t become a master chef amongst your friends for bringing a box of this stuff to a party. But that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious, and look pretty fancy too. It’d be a hit!
Although, now that I think about it, if you can make a tasty dessert out of crackers, maybe you are a master chef? Exactly. Enjoy – especially you, Mr. P!