I’m not a huge fan of sweets… I more enjoy a sweet/salty combination than a full-out sugar attack. I think toffee might just be the best thing on Earth (for now…I’m pretty fickle). Six or seven years ago I was given a recipe for toffee candy that was easy and delicious and I’ve made it every year around the holidays with great success. Everyone asks me about it but I’ve kept my mouth shut because, gosh darnit, it’s my toffee recipe and I don’t want other people stealing my thunder.

What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, yesterday I was looking through the 34,865 (approximately) bookmarks that I’ve collected…they’re mostly recipes that I sincerely meant to make immediately until having no money kind of got in the way. I perused the list hoping to find something that we just so happened to have all of the ingredients for…With no luck. So I did what anyone else would do, I pulled a recipe out of my mental archives, said “Screw you, bookmarks!” and got to work because damnit, I wanted to bake something.

I drank at least a pot of coffee and a lot of time on my hands. Baking seemed like the right thing to do.

My lovely readers, I’m in a giving mood so I’m going to do the unthinkable and share my favorite toffee recipe with you. It’s extremely difficult and takes all day…

Nah, just kidding.

So you want 1 stick of butter (I used salted), 1 cup of packed brown sugar, about a sleeve and a half of saltine crackers, some chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet but dark chocolate is really good!), and whatever toppings your heart desires. I used walnut pieces and macadamia nuts but crunched up candy canes, pretzel pieces, or bacon could be used.

Yes, I said bacon. I happen to think it would be delicious.

Ok, so preheat your oven to 350, grease a cookie sheet (one with a lip) and arrange crackers in a single layer like this:

Set that aside, then put your butter and brown sugar in a pot on the stove:

Cook the mixture over medium high heat until it starts to boil. Make sure to stir constantly.

Have a candy thermometer handy. You’ll want to remove it from the heat when the thermometer reads 300 degrees or hard crack.

*insert crack joke here*

I know it’s tempting, but don’t stick your finger in for a little taste…it might as well be molten lava at this point, and it’ll stick to your fingers and burn like crazy. I know this from experience.

Once your thermometer reads hard crack (snicker, snicker) you can pour it over the crackers. Try to spread it around but don’t worry if you don’t get everything covered…The toffee will spread in the oven. Put the cookie sheet into the oven for 5-10 minutes. Just keep an eye on it and when the toffee has spread enough take it out. Or, get tired of waiting and take it out of the oven when the toffee is liquid enough and just spread it around yourself.

Let the toffee cool a bit, then sprinkle chocolate chips over it. They should melt enough to spread on their own, but you can put it back in the oven for a couple of seconds to speed things up. Once you’ve got your chocolate layer spread evenly across the toffee, add your toppings.

On the left I used walnut pieces and on the right are macadamia nuts. I also sprinkled sea salt over the whole thing once I realized I used unsalted nuts.

Let the chocolate cool enough to solidify…I ended up putting mine in the fridge for a few minutes because I’m impatient. Once everything’s nice and solid, bust it up into pieces! I use a butter knife to cut sections out, then I break the sections up into smaller pieces with my hands. It’s really easy to break apart once you get things started.

I like to make a bunch of this around Christmas…Whenever I’m going to see a friend or I get invited to a party I just put it in a pretty box and presto! Instant hostess gift.

The best part? Everyone thinks you slaved away at this because a lot of people seem to have the idea that toffee is SO difficult. You get to look like a shining star with minimal actual work.

Plus it tastes really, really good.