Today on Tumbleweed Tidings, I interrupt the Tale of Three Condos to share a quick and easy recipe that my aunt Harriet sent me after our family picnic last summer. And since today is her 80th birthday, I wanted to share this one for her!
Recipes that use saltine or soda crackers as a base are nothing new. In fact, they are kind of old school, but making a comeback. My mother has shared that when she and my dad were first married, if they wanted a snack in the evening, they would spread saltine crackers on a cookie sheet, top them with butter, salt, and pepper, and put them under the broiler. She said they were really good, and since people didn’t keep pantries full of snack foods in those days, it was something they could make with readily available ingredients.
While my parent’s evening snack was of the savory variety, the recipe I’m sharing today is sweet. When I was preparing to make these, surprisingly, the only ingredient I didn’t have on hand were the crackers! Growing up, we always had saltines on hand. They went perfectly with soups, chili, or with peanut butter spread on top. Today, we tend to be more Wheat Thins or Triscuit people, with nary a saltine in sight. So off to the store I went, and now I have a box at the ready for future experimentation. Wait for it….
Recipe for Aunt Harriet’s Soda Cracker Bars
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
½ cup almonds or other nuts
Boil butter and brown sugar for three minutes. Line a greased jelly roll pan with crackers. Pour caramel mixture over crackers. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes or until crackers float. Take out and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Melt chips in the oven for a few minutes (it took mine about 4 minutes) and spread like frosting. I used an offset spatula which worked well. Sprinkle with sliced or chopped nuts on top. Allow to cool and break into squares. Enjoy! (NOTE: For my demonstration today, I halved the recipe, so it only covered a half jelly roll pan)
These easy treats are so fun to make, and even more important, they taste good. There is something about the combination of salty and sweet that hits all the right notes, and the fact that the crackers are already separate makes serving a breeze. The end result is something akin to a yummy Almond Roca in flavor.
To add some variety, for the holidays, I could envision using white chocolate with green and red sprinkles instead of the nuts, for a festive flair. You can also change out the nuts, which would change the flavor, as well. For those of you who are very observant, you may notice that although the bowl of nuts I photographed were slivered, in the end I decided to used sliced almonds that I thought would work better.
The next time you are looking for a quick and easy snack, or a dessert to take to a meeting, look no further than your pantry staples and make some Soda Cracker Bars. Thanks for the recipe, Harriet, and happy birthday!