Saltine Toffee

My partner graduated with a Master’s Degree in Special Education in June ’10, and I took her to Napa, CA, to celebrate the occasion.  It was something that we had talked about wanting to do for a number of years, and just never got to do it.  So her graduation was the perfect reason!  We stayed at a wonderful and cozy bed and breakfast, Arbor Guest House.  If you like B&Bs, I suggest you check it out.  The food was phenomenal, the happy our wine and appetizers were plentiful, the rooms were spacious and comfortable, and the hosts were exceptionally friendly.

When we arrived in Napa, we immediately checked into our B&B, changed into “date night” clothes, and ready to get our food on!  I had been scoping out restaurants for several months before our trip and decided on Richard Reddington’s Redd for our first night there.  Redd (located in Yountville, CA; about 10-15 minutes north of Napa) is currently featured as a one-star rated restaurant according to the 2011 Bay Area Michelin Guide.  It had gotten lots of really good reviews, so it was something we had to try.  We arrived a few minutes late after our reservation, but were immediately seated.  The restaurant was chic and modern, but not pretentious.  The service was fantastic.  We ordered too much food and devoured all of it.  The food was just exceptional.

We were presented with the dessert menu but just couldn’t bring ourselves to eat more.  We were so full that it was uncomfortable, but a good kind of uncomfortable, if you know what I mean.  So we asked for the check and when the bill arrived, so did a small dish of candy.  Two words… saltine toffee.  What??  Exactly.  We never heard of such a thing either, but leave it to Richard Reddington and his magnificent staff.  It was the perfect combination of sweet from the toffee/chocolate, and saltiness from the old-school saltine crackers.  It was… well, there were just no words to describe how much we enjoyed those small morsels of sweet and savory goodness.

Upon our arrival back to reality, I immediately sought out for saltine toffee recipes.  I actually found a lot of recipes, all with a slight variation of another.  I bookmarked a few for our sweet & savory holiday gift bags, and just now had the opportunity to make them.

Saltine Toffee

1.5 sleeves of saltine crackers
1 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and coat it with non-stick cooking spray.  Lay the crackers out onto the sheet pan, in an even layer, filling in any gaps with broken pieces. You will have some crackers left over.  Set them aside for now.

Heat the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Pour the toffee over the crackers, then use a spatula to smooth it out over the entire surface.  Transfer to the oven & bake for about 5 minutes, or until the toffee is bubbling all over.

Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the hot toffee and let them sit for about five minutes or pop the pan back into the oven for a minute or two, until they have begun to soften and melt. Use a spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the toffee.  Take the reserved crackers and crumble them over the chocolate while it is still soft.

Chill the pan, until the toffee and chocolate are set, which takes about 30 to 45 minutes. Break it up into small pieces and serve.  The toffee can be stored in an airtight container (chilled, or in a cool, dry spot) for up to one week.