Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits

These cheesy garlic biscuits are pretty much the best thing next to sliced bread. I mean, come on. How can you go wrong with something that has garlic and cheese, right? And the best part, they only take 30 minutes from start to ready to eat. Now we are talking. These biscuits are crisp on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside and the perfect accompaniment to your weeknight soup or big family dinner. Or if you are like me, who needs dinner to enjoy them? I dream about these and the smell they fill my house with. Garlic and cheese are pretty much a match made in heaven. Let me tell you just how easy these are to make. Be warned though - once you start making these, you may want them all the time. You can thank me later.

Okay, biscuits. Here we go. Other than the baking staples you already have in your kitchen (flour, salt, etc), you'll need grated cheese (don't use the pre grated, it has starch all over and won't get all ooey gooey), buttermilk and garlic powder. Biscuits also must have butter - it's what makes them so good! But who wants to sit there and cut all the butter in with a pastry cutter or your hands? Not me. I have a new trick that will change your life - grate your butter with a box grater. No need to cut it in any more, just mix it right in with everything else. So easy, right? I think so! Once the butter is all grated, just mix in all the dry ingredients and then mix in all the wet until everything is just combined. You want to make sure to not over mix it. This will give you a tougher biscuit. Not that those are bad, but you want those bad boys nice and fluffy. Once the mixture is ready, you'll want to use a spoon to make 12 plops (technical term) on your baking sheet. They will rise, so leave a bit of room between them. Not too much, but enough. If you need two pans, that's fine. My baking pans seem to be a bit larger than normal, so I could fit them all. Once the biscuits are all measured out and ready to go, pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes, give or take.

While the biscuits are baking, here is where you make the stuff that takes these from good to great. The garlic butter sauce! In a small pan, melt the butter, parsley and more garlic powder until everything is combined. When the timer goes off and the biscuits come out of the oven, you will brush each one with the garlic butter. There is just something about when that butter soaks right in and the smell of garlic hits your nose. And then you realize you must eat one now! These biscuits are so incredibly easy to make that once you make them,you'll wonder why you never made homemade biscuits before!

these biscuits are ready for their closeup

Cheesy Garlic Biscuits (Handle the Heat)

For Biscuits:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, grated
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup cold buttermilk

For Butter:
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or silpat, if you have one).

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, garlic powder and salt. If you've grated the butter, throw it in now. If you have not and want to cut your butter in, add the cubed butter and use a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until the butter is pea size, give or take. Then add in the cheese and then the buttermilk. Mix everything until just combined. Don't over mix it here.

Drop the dough in about 1/4 cup sizes on to the baking sheet. You should get about 12 biscuits using this measurement. Bake until golden brown about 15 to 17 minutes.

While the biscuits are baking, mix together the melted butter, parsley and garlic powder. When the biscuits come out of the oven. brush each one with the garlic butter and enjoy!

These cheesy garlic biscuits are pretty much life changing.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken

It's that time of the year where we all want to start eating a little better and working out a bit more. Hello New Year's resolutions, right? Plus, I am always looking for new tasty and lighter dishes to make. Here comes skinny honey lemon chicken! I know what you are thinking. Skinny? Does that mean it even tastes good? Well, let me tell you, this skinny honey lemon chicken is loaded (and I mean loaded) with flavor. And best of all, it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish and you have a meal that is quick, easy to make and it's even gluten free! Let me tell you all about how to make it.

This honey lemon chicken starts off with a super easy and quick marinade of soy sauce (use tamari or other gluten free soy sauce here is going gluten free!), sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. You just dump the diced chicken and the soy, sesame and vinegar, give it a little toss and let it do its thing. I would suggest a couple of hours for maximum flavor, but who has that much time when you are hungry. Am I right? A 10 minute marinade will be just fine here and will give just enough time for the chicken to get all that yumminess. When you are ready to start cooking, drain off the juices and toss them away. You won't need them. Then, salt and pepper the chicken to your liking and then start cooking it up. While the chicken is cooking (which only takes 5-8 minutes), you'll need to throw the honey lemon sauce together. Grab a bowl and add in chicken stock (or broth), fresh (none of that pre-squeezed stuff here!), honey (duh), cornstarch, lemon zest and a pinch of fresh or ground ginger. Oh and make sure to zest the lemon before you squeeze it. You'll never get the zest off if you've already squeezed out all the juice. I've tried. It doesn't work well and it's dangerous to your knuckles! 

Mix everything together and set aside for a few minutes. When the chicken is done cooking and looks all brown and delicious, remove it and then add the sauce to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until it gets thick and ooey gooey. At this point, if you like a bit of zing, you can add in sriracha or your favorite hot sauce. I added a bit, but not too much. Just a little bit of, hmm. Once the sauce is thick and delicious, add the chicken back in and toss it to coat. At this point, you can eat it plain, over brown rice, quinoa or with roasted veggies. Personally, I like it with a bit of brown rice and veggies to round out the dish. Healthy carbs and veggies for the win! 

This quick and easy dinner can be made during the week in a flash and the best part, you made it at home. You don't have to go out for take out and even better, it's sauteed, not fried! We all know most sweet and sour takeout dishes are fried. Delicious, but fried and not the best for our waistlines. Also, this dish is naturally sweetened with honey and not loaded with anything other than fresh and delicious ingredients. Here's to a delicious and healthy 2016!

Pucker up, it's honey lemon chicken!

Skinny Honey Lemon Chicken (slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven)

1 1/2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut in to bite size pieces
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari if going gluten free)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (can use white or white wine vinegar here, too)
Dash sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
Honey lemon sauce (see below)
Toppings (optional): sliced green onions, lemon slices and sesame seeds

For Honey Lemon Sauce:
3/4 cup chicken broth or stock (whatever you have will work just fine)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons honey (more if you want it sweeter)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of fresh or ground ginger
optional: sriracha for a bit of heat, to taste

In a large ziploc style bad, add the chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. Toss the bag around until all the chicken is coated well. Place the bag in the fridge for the chicken to marinate for at least 10 minutes, but not to exceed six hours.

When you are ready to start cooking, drain the chicken and season with salt and pepper. You can toss the marinade at this point. You will not need it. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken for about five to eight minutes, or until there is no more pink. You don't want raw chicken! When the chicken is done, remove from the pan. 

In a small bowl, add all of the honey sauce ingredients and mix well. While the pan is still hot, cook the sauce for several minutes until it's thick and bubbly. Once it's ready, add in the chicken and season to taste. If you want to add a bit of heat, now is the time to add the sriracha or hot sauce of your choice. Top with toppings and enjoy!

Who knew eating well could taste so good!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Coffee Cake Baked Donuts

In honor of my father in law, I bring you a special new year's morning edition of Stracciatella. He is a donut lover (just don't give him a maple or blueberry donut!) and always has a supply on hand. I always look forward to the donut part of the morning when we go to visit him because who doesn't love a good donut in the morning.  Especially with a good cup of coffee. Mmm. He always has a variety and boy are they good. It's really hard to choose which one you want! Maple are my favorite and there always seems to be one in the box for me! I love how he always remembers I loves maple. You're the best, Dean!

When we got back from our most recent trip to Oregon, it got me thinking about baked donuts. I loved our donut mornings, but wanted to see if I could make them a bit healthier (but taste just as good!). Plus, I had purchased a donut pan a year or two ago and it was pretty much time to pull it out and experiment. It wasn't doing any good collecting dust in the pantry. As soon as we got home, we unloaded the truck and while the hubby was unpacking, I started looking online for a baked donut recipe. There are so many recipes out there, but nothing was really saying "make me". Maybe that's because I was tired after an eight hour drive. Nevertheless, I kept going and finally found the one. A coffee cake donut with crumbs. Lots of crumbs. And you know how I like crumbs! There were lots of chocolate donuts, but for some reason. I wanted something a bit more breakfast-y. If that makes any sense at all. I thought I would go for the chocolate one at first, but nope. Maybe next weekend. Chocolate glaze is also my thing. Don't tell anyone.

As long as you have a donut pan, these are a piece of cake. Or piece of donut. Okay, that wasn't as funny as I hoped it would be. Oh well.  Here is the pan I use - it's perfect and a great price. You can order one online, but if you can't wait for it to be shipped, you can find them at almost any store these days. The donuts are made of a simple batter of flour, butter, milk, sugar, and egg and baking powder. I added a dash of cinnamon for extra oomph, but that is up to you. I like cinnamon. The crumb topping is super easy too and is just melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Mix it all up until it's nice and crumbly. You'll know when it's ready, trust me. You'll want to make sure to spray your donut pan with non-stick spray and then pour the batter in to a plastic ziploc style bag. Snip off the end and then fill each donut indent in the pan with the batter. You should have just enough for six donuts. Then top all of the batter with the crumbs. You may have more crumbs than you need, but try to pack it all in if you can. If there is some leftover, that's okay. No need to panic. I could not get all mine to fit!

The wonderful baked donuts then go in to the oven for about 15 minutes to get nice and puffed to perfection. Once they come out, let them sit in the pan for about five minutes before removing. They will be hot and some of the crumbs may fall off. Just a warning. Let the donuts cool for about another 10 minutes and then comes the best part - the glaze! Crumbs + glaze = love. Just saying. The glaze is just powdered sugar and milk. I added a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a bit more coffee cake like flavor. I also put this in a small ziploc style bag to make it easier to drizzle over the tops. Plus it makes it look all pretty and fancy. These coffee cake donuts are soft, crumby and a little bit sweet from the glaze. They are the perfect little morning treat are too good not to make. Plus, they will make your morning just a little bit extra special (and delicious).

look at those crumbs!

Coffee Cake Baked Donuts  (Slightly adapted from Chef in Training)

For Donuts:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch cinnamon
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup milk

For Crumb Topping:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream (add more for desired consistency)
Pinch cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spray donut pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a stand mixer (or bowl and spoon!), mix together all the ingredients for the donuts except the last four ingredients. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, vanilla, melted butter and milk. Then, gently fold in the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix just until combined. Place the batter in a ziploc like bag and snip the corner. Fill each of the donut holes in the pan evenly until all batter is used. Set aside.

After the donut batter is made, you'll need to prepare the crumb topping. In a microwave proof bowl, melt the butter. Then add in the brown sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Then add the flour and mix until it resembles crumbs. Top each one of the donuts with the crumbs. Add as much as you can, but there may be some crumbs left over. Make sure to push some into the donut batter. Place prepared donuts in the oven for approximately 15 minutes until cooked and slightly browned. 

Let cooked donuts cool in the pan for five minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. While the donuts are cooling, prepare the glaze. Place both the powdered sugar, pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg and milk in a small bowl and mix until the glaze is pourable. Not to thin and not too thick. Add more powdered sugar and/or milk as needed. Once glaze is ready, pour in to a small ziploc like bag, snip end and drizzle over each one of the donuts. Enjoy!

These coffee cake baked donuts will change your life.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cheesecake Cookies

Earlier this month, my department had its annual holiday party and team building event. Instead of doing a Secret Santa exchange, we decided to all write down our favorite drink, appetizer and dessert. Then, we all randomly picked a piece of paper and had to make or buy one of the items on the list. Now this is my type of gift exchange! Of course I got the one with the dessert I don't make - cheesecake! You see, I can't give something to someone without it being homemade. It's just against my cooking religion. I was so torn and going back and forth on what to do. I was drowning in final projects and preparing for finals week and just couldn't find the time to research what to do. I even asked my husband if he would make a cheesecake (he makes the BEST cheesecakes EVER), but it was too short of notice and I really wanted to have the time to learn from him. Ugh. Baking problems!

Then a miracle happened. I sat down for a few minutes and came across how I could still make a cheesecake, but in a different form. And one that would not take two days to make or take hours for the cream cheese to soften. That may be why I don't make real cheesecakes. I am impatient and can't wait hours and hours (and more hours) for the cream cheese to soften. But that's a whole other story. Nevertheless, I came across a fabulous recipe for cheesecake cookies! I had looked for something like this before, but nothing looked this good or was even close to what I needed. How did I not see these before? They were literally cheesecake cookies. The cookies have graham cracker crumbs in batter and are filled with a cheesecake filling. They are pretty much a cheesecake thumbprint cookie that is out of this world delicious. And they taste just like cheesecake!

A cookie that taste like cheesecake and is easier to make than cheesecake? Heck yes. These cookies really are simple to make and a whole batch was made and baked within 40 minutes. Now that's what I'm talking about. The batter is simple to make and the best part, no chilling the dough. A lot of thumbprint style cookies require you to chill  the dough for a least an hour after making it, if not more. No one has time for that. At least I don't. I want cookies now! Once the dough is all ready to go, you scoop it out and make an indentation in the top to hold the cheesecake filling goodness. While a thumb works pretty well for this part of the process, I would recommends using a measuring teaspoon. This seemed to give me a good size indent and didn't cause cookie dough to get all under my nails. Win win. I would also suggest saving a bit of graham cracker crumbs for here. Before you indent the cookie, dip the teaspoon in the grahams. This way, the cookies won't stick and you can get them all done in a flash! That's just my two cents though. Flour or brown sugar would work just fine here too.

You can enjoy these cheesecake cookies just as they are or fancy them up a bit. You can top them with a cherry pie filling, drizzle with caramel or chocolate or even add fresh fruit of your choice. How good would chopped strawberries be on these? Mmm. No matter how you enjoy these wonderful cookies, you are sure to love them. I know my secret santa cheesecake cookie recipient did!

mmm, cookies!

Cheesecake Cookies (slightly varied from My Baking Addiction)

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg, separated
4 ounces of softened cream cheese
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray well with non-stick spray.

In a stand mixer, add the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. About three minutes. Then add in the egg white and mix until combined. Once mixed well, add in the graham cracker crumbs flour and baking powder. Once the batter is ready, you'll need to make the filling. In another bowl,. add the cream cheese and sugar and mix until it's nice and creamy. Then add in the egg yolk and vanilla and mix until combined.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out the dough leaving about an inch between cookies. Once you've scooped out all the cookies, you'll need to make an indent in the tops to hold the cheesecake filling. You can use your thumb or a teaspoon. Then, fill each of the cookies with the cheesecake filling. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the filling is just set and the cookies are slightly browned on the top. Enjoy!

Cheesecake in a cookie form? Heck yes!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Candy Cane Vodka

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I totally failed to share this candy cane vodka with ya'll three days ago. Oops. Between getting home after vacation and actually unpacking my suitcase (instead of waiting two weeks to do it), I completely forgot. Please forgive me. By the way, did you know that the day after Christmas is National Candy Cane Day? I wonder why it's not the 25th. That seems like the perfect day, doesn't it? Nevertheless, since it's still the holidays and candy canes are everywhere to be found (and now even cheaper as stores are trying to clear their shelves for Valentines Day sweets!), you need to make this super amazing holiday treat. It's literally just candy canes and vodka. Nothing else. Seriously. Candy canes and vodka!

One of my super sweet classmates this semester told me that she makes all kinds of flavored vodka with a variety of candies. Skittles, Jolly Ranchers, etc. It got me thinking - what could I make that was extra holiday-y? I did a quick search online and low and behold, candy cane vodka. I wondered if it was really as easy as it said it was, and let me tell you, it was! The hubby and I have several handles of vodka left over from our wedding so this was the perfect opportunity to try something new and festive for quick and easy holiday gifts. I ran to the store and bought a ton of candy canes. Handfuls and handfuls of candy canes. I think the lady behind the register at our local grocery store thought I had gone crazy with a cart of candy canes. Once I had the candy canes at home, I literally got a big jar (I used a gallon size Mason jar), filled it with vodka and then plopped in the candy canes. The hardest part about all of this was unwrapping those darn things. For some reason, the tops always seemed to break! I thew everything in, closed up the jar and in just a few hours, the candy canes dissolved and created a wonderful flavored vodka. 

The more candy canes you add, the more flavorful it will get, but the minty level is up to you. This vodka can be enjoyed over ice by itself, mixed in to make your favorite holiday cocktail or my favorite way to enjoy it is in hot cocoa. Hello deliciousness! No matter how you enjoy it, it's too easy not to make and everyone will wonder how you did it (and you don't have to tell him just how easy it was!). How easy was that? Now I am channeling my inner Barefoot Contessa.

The first time I made this, I used peppermint candies. It worked, but make the vodka look more like Pepto Bismol!

Candy Cane Vodka

Jar or container (with a lid!) large enough to hold the vodka and candy canes
1 bottle (750 ml) of your favorite vodka
10-12 candy canes (more if you want it really minty, less if you want it not so minty)

Pour vodka into a large jar. Unwrap candy canes and place in the jar. Seal the jar and give it a little shake. Let sit for one to two hours, or until candy canes are dissolved. Enjoy!

This candy cane vodka is also amazing in coffee to give it a little bit of extra holiday cheer!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Overnight Cranberry Eggnog Coffee Cake

You know it's the holiday season when the eggnog comes out. Creamy, delicious, nutmeggy eggnog. And this overnight cranberry eggnog coffee cake is the perfect holiday morning breakfast treat. There is always something a little extra special about Christmas morning and this coffee cake fits that bill. Even better, you can make it the night before so all you have to do is pop it in the oven before everyone gets up or while everyone is opening gifts. I love anything you can make ahead and this recipe is just perfect. I never ever would have thought to do coffee cake over night, but this recipe has changed my mind. There is something that happens to the batter that makes it so moist and dense. But in a good way of course. It's the perfect holiday coffee cake.

To get this coffee cake started, you'll need the basic coffee cake ingredients, plus a few extra special things - eggnog, dried cranberries and orange zest. Those three things take this coffee cake over the top to holiday special goodness.  Oh, that and the eggnog glaze that is poured over the crumby top after it has baked to perfection. Mmm, eggnog glaze. Just give me a spoon! Okay, back to coffee cake. Once the batter is made (please try not to eat it all before it goes in the pan), you'll spread it out in to a 9x13 prepared pan. You can use butter and flour to prepare the pan or non-stick spray. I use the latter, but it's up to you and what you like. Once the batter is in the pan and all ready to go, you'll need to prepare the crumb topping. To me, this is the best part, but I am a crumby person. Some people don't like crumbs. Those are strange people. The crumbs are just flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and nuts. If you don't like nuts or are allergic, you an leave them out. Top the batter with the crumb mixture and then cover with plastic wrap (or a lid, if your pan has one) and place in the fridge overnight.

When you wake up in the morning, all you have to do is remove the plastic wrap and/or lid and place in to a 350 degree oven. In about 35 minutes, your home will be filled with the best holiday smell ever. And the best part, you had to do little work in the morning to get it all ready to go and can spend more time with your family and loved ones. Once the cake has baked and cooled for about 20 minutes, then you can pour the glaze all over the top. I doubled my glaze (I really like glaze), but this is up to you. Also, make sure to use teaspoons of eggnog and not tablespoons. I am not sure I was fully away the first time I made this and wondered why the glaze was so darn runny. Oops. Thank goodness I caught it before I poured it all over the top.

Once the cake is glazed, it's ready to diving in and enjoying. This coffee cake could not be more perfect and is wonderful for the holiday season or when you have guest over. Easy. Delicious. Wonderful. Now that's my kind of coffee cake. Here's to wishing you wonderful coffee cake a very merry holiday season!

Mmm, eggnog!

Overnight Cranberry Eggnog Coffee Cake (slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

For the Cake:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup eggnog
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
¾ cup dried cranberries

pinch or two of nutmeg (if you want your coffee cake a bit more eggnoggy)

For the Streusel:
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans (or any nut you prefer)

For the Glaze:
½ cup powdered sugar
4 teaspoons eggnog

pinch or two of nutmeg (if you want your glaze a bit more eggnoggy)

Prepare a 9x13 baking pan with non stick spray or butter and flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the eggnog, sour cream and vanilla extract. In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar with the orange zest. Using your fingers, work the zest into the sugar until all of the sugar is evenly moistened. Add the butter and cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the eggnog mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (The batter will be thick.) Using a rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan and spread into an even layer.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Work the butter into the mixture using your fingertips or a pastry blender until it is completely incorporated, then stir in the chopped pecans. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over batter. Then cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the pan from the refrigerator while the oven heats. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes. While the coffee cake cools, in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and eggnog until smooth; drizzle over cake. Allow the glaze to set for about 15 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature. Leftover cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature for up to five days or so. Enjoy!

This coffee cake is sure to become a family holiday favorite!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Saltine Toffee

Disclaimer: This saltine toffee is highly addictive.

This saltine toffee is one of the most amazingly strange holiday treats ever known to man. I kid you not. Who would have ever thought that you could make toffee with saltines. Right? Let me just say that once you make this, you won't go back to making toffee any other way. It couldn't be simpler (no candy thermometer needed!) and it takes only 20 minutes to make from start to finish. And depending on your oven size and number of pans you have, you can make two batches at a time!

Okay, so let's get to it. Here is what you will need to make this incredible and addictive toffee - saltines (of course), brown sugar, butter and chocolate chips. As for the saltines, don't use the fat free ones or unsalted ones. I tried that and it just didn't taste right. Go for the regular 'ol saltines in the cracker isle. I also highly recommend using non-stick foil. I know I've mentioned it before, but it's seriously the best thing ever. You can find it right next to the regular aluminum foil. If you don't use this or don't want to buy it, make sure to spray your foil with nonstick spray. Otherwise, you'll never get the toffee off. Maybe you will, but it may have little bits of foil on it and no one wants to eat foil. At least I don't.

Once you have all your ingredients ready to go, line your cookie sheet with foil. Make sure the foil goes up the edges just a little as the toffee mixture will bubble up the sides a bit. Once the pan is all ready to go, line up saltines side by side until the entire pan is covered. If you need to break up some of the saltines to fit in the areas that don't have any. Broken up pieces are just fine. It doesn't have to be pretty, just cover up the foil. Then, add the butter and brown sugar to a pan on the stove. Heat until all melted and bubbly. Pour the mixture over the saltines to coat them all. You may need to use a spatula to spread it out a bit, but it does not need to be perfect. Then comes the part where it gets all its toffee goodness - place the pan in the oven for 10 minutes. Once the time is up for the oven, pull the pan out and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let those sit for about five minutes and then spread it all out to coat. At this point, you can leave the toffee as is or add whatever toppings you like. I like to add crushed saltines on top, but you can add toffee chunks, sprinkles, any kind of chopped nuts, or candies such as mini m&m's. 

After you've added whatever toppings you like, let the pan cool for 30 minutes and then place in the fridge to harden up for at least an hour. I like to leave mine overnight, but sometimes it's hard to wait that long. I told you this stuff was addictive. Once it's all set and hardened up, remove the foil from the toffee and break up in to chunks. At this point you can just shovel it in to your mouth or place it in tins or bags to give away as a wonderful gift anytime of the year. It's so easy to make and something that is now part of my annual holiday treat making extravaganza. In fact, I am almost certain I've made over 10 pounds of this stuff already this season! What are you waiting for - get in there and make this saltine toffee today!

So toffee-y, so delicious!

Saltine Toffee (my wonderful coworker, Jan)

30-45 saltine crackers (or however many you need to fill your cookie sheet)
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter 
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
Toppings, as desired (toffee bits, crushed saltines, candies, nuts, etc)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet (or 9x13 pan) with foil. If you are not using non-stick foil, spray your foil with cooking spray. Place the saltine crackers in a single later on the foil and if needed, break some of the crackers to fit the areas where a whole cracker will not fit. Little pieces of cracker are okay, but try not to overlap too much.

Once the pan is ready to go, melt the butter and brown sugar in a pan on the stove over medium heat. Once everything is melted, boil the mixture for 1-2 minutes and then pour evenly over the saltine crackers. You may need to spread it over the crackers to get it totally coated. Then, place in the oven for 10 minutes, until hot a bubbly. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Allow the chocolate chips to soften up for about five minutes and then spread in to an even layer. Add toppings at this point, if using.

Let the pan cool for about 30 minutes and then place in the fridge for at least an hour or until set. Once toffee is set, remove foil, break up in to pieces and enjoy!

This toffee will last for about two weeks at room temperature or int he fridge for several weeks. But, it will probably be gone before before you can say saltine toffee!