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Friday, May 18, 2012

Soda Cracker Bark

One taste of this confection brought me back to afternoons at my grandparents house. Salty and crunchy, with sweet and bitter dark chocolate and toffee-like brown sugar mixture beneath, this stuff is seriously addicting. With only five ingredients, its super easy to whip up a batch. Almost too easy.

For whatever reason, I love saltine crackers. I think it's because my grandpa would always have a handful for me to eat with ramen. I also love ramen, but when I was a little kid I didn't eat the noodles, just the broth with saltines. I was a crazy kid, and that meal probably had a whopping 200 calories. No wonder I was skinny then.  But saltines are definitely an unusual choice of comfort food.  Most comfort foods are rich, hot and filling, like my biscuits and gravy.

But saltines are one of my many weird foods that remind me of my childhood. I'll eventually be doing a post about one of my favorites, pink pickled garlic.

But back to saltines. I picked up some saltines the other day to go with my soups, when I spied a recipe for saltines on Serious Eats. The recipe was called "Chocolate 'Crack'" but I didn't particularly care for that name, just because I kept getting jibes about it,

"Do I need a pipe for it?"

"What's in it? What, no crack?!"

Anyhow, its been called soda cracker bark and saltine bark in the past, so I'm going to call it soda cracker bark, because I am tired of people and their crack jokes.

Soda Cracker Bark

1-2 Sleeves of Saltine Crackers
2 sticks of butter (1 cup)
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
10-12 oz dark chocolate, in chips or chopped into chip sized chunks
optional toppings (like Heath toffee bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover a jelly roll pan in foil. Line the pan in saltines with the salted tops up. Do not overlap, but place as tightly as possible. At the edges of the pan, break crackers in halves to fit as needed. On the stovetop, melt the butter over medium heat. After all the butter has melted, pour in the sugar and extract, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture has turned into a thick caramel sauce. Pour over the crackers and use a spatula to completely cover. Place in the over for about 5-7 minutes, or until the sugar mixture is bubbly. Remove from over and sprinkle chocolate over the sugar mixture. Use a spatula to smooth the chocolate over the entire surface. Sprinkle with toffee bits if using. Place in fridge to harden, then break bark into pieces.

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