Friends bring all kinds of food to the house when there’s a party.
I’m still thinking about the sweet treat Sharon Russell, of Mascoutah, brought to our New Year’s Eve party. Here’s how good it was: By the time the container got around the table once (as we were playing Trivial Pursuit), there were only crumbs left and threats of tipping the bowl to somebody’s mouth to get the last bits.
What was it? We all laughed because Sharon (and many others who know about this recipe) simply call it Crack. Online it’s variously called Christmas Crack, Saltine Cracker Candy, Chocolate Toffee Crack and other names. But, it’s the same recipe — and it can be made any time of the year.
Basically, it’s crackers, butter, brown sugar and chocolate chips. Honestly, when I ate it, I didn’t know there were saltines in it. It was broken into bite-size pieces.
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I’ve come to understand that I am late to the party and lots of people know about this treat. But, I’m sure there are other late arrivals like me, so I’m printing a recipe from country singer Trisha Yearwood’s 2010 cookbook “Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood.” It’s nearly identical to many others I found online, but doesn’t have a catchy name! I adapted it slightly to include some more specific instructions.
Swiveling into another direction entirely, I really enjoy the lemony roasted potatoes I’ve eaten at Greek restaurants over the years. I came across a recipe from Allrecipes.com that I’m going to fix at home very soon.
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Sweet & Saltines (aka Crack)
40 to 50 saltine crackers, depending on pan size
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 cup light brown sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/3 cups)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line 1 large or 2 small jelly-roll pans with aluminum foil, spray with nonstick spray and arrange the saltines salt-side down in a single layer.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Once the butter mixture has melted, bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes.* Remove from the heat and pour over the crackers, covering them evenly. Spread with a knife quickly, if necessary.
Put the pan into the oven and bake 3 to 5 minutes, or until just bubbly, watching carefully. Remove from the oven and pour the chocolate chips over the crackers. When the chips melt a bit, spread them over the crackers with a knife.
Transfer the pan to the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely cold. They will form one big sheet. Break up into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
*Editor’s note: Recipes that call for boiling sugar and butter together to make toffee often say not to stir during this process. Trisha’s directions say to stir constantly. You decide.
Also, similar recipes add M&Ms, broken pretzels or nuts on top of the chocolate. Go ahead. Gild the lily.
Greek-Style Lemon Roasted Potatoes
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into thick wedges
1/3 cup olive oil
2 lemons, juiced
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Put potato wedges into a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice over the wedges and toss to coat. Season potatoes with salt, oregano and black pepper. Toss again to coat.
Spread potato wedges in a single layer in a 2 inch-deep pan. Pour chicken broth over the potatoes.
Roast potatoes in preheated oven until tender and golden brown, about 1 hour. Makes 6 servings, each with 290 calories.
Note: You could alternately roast these in a foil pan on the grill for about 30 to 40 minutes.