About 2 weeks ago, my 14 year old daughter came to me and asked if she could make a sweet snack. Apparently she found a recipe for a sweet treat and decided she didn't think it was good enough. So, she changed it up a little and asked if she could use my kitchen as her laboratory to test her changes. How could I say no? So, I agreed. However, little did I know there were some caveats that went along with my agreement to allow her to use my kitchen that she told me about AFTER I said ok. Apparently, I could not watch nor could I help or offer any assistance whatsoever. So, for a couple hours, I sat in my office next to the kitchen and kept a watchful ear as I caught up on some paperwork that had been piling up.
I listened carefully as she scurried about the kitchen, mixing this and mixing that like a miniature mad scientist. About 2 hours later, she called me into the kitchen and on one of my large cookie sheets, there was this chocolaty slab that, at first, looked like some sort of frosted brownie matter that went horribly wrong. Upon closer inspection, it became readily apparent that my first guess was not even in the same galaxy as the truth. What was this chocolaty mess? I had never seen it before.
As I cut into it with a knife, I noticed the chocolate was only the top layer. Under the chocolate was a layer that looked a lot like caramel, but, I knew it couldn't be caramel because such a concoction is presently beyond my daughter's culinary reach, at least, so I thought.
However, under the caramel layer, there it was! Saltine crackers! My little girl had just made a sweet treat with saltine crackers, caramel and chocolate. I was intrigued. So, I took a piece and popped it into my mouth. The first thing that struck me was the sweetness and then, the saltiness of the crackers kicked in. Then the caramel and chocolate did their thing. It was delicious!
So, I asked her where she got the idea for this, she said she saw it on line, but, she didn't like the original recipe and decided to change it (that's my girl right there!!). She said she replaced the cinnamon crackers called for in the original recipe with saltines because she figured the saltiness would be nice contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel. She also substituted the melted brown sugar and butter called for in the original recipe with actual caramel. She said she figured the caramel would go better with the saltiness of the saltines, too. Egads! I have raised a chef!
Her big blue eyes lit up under her curly, red locks as I told her that what she had made was absolutely delicious and that I was going to offer it to my customers in the sweets and dessert display next to the cannoli. It sold out that afternoon and all the money went into her newly started Culinary School fund!
As for the caramel mystery, I asked her where she learned to make caramel. She said she remembered how to make it from watching me. This was very special to me because I learned how to make caramel from watching my mother when I was just a young lad.
I am very proud to offer my little girl's very first recipe. She hopes you all enjoy it.
What you will need:
1 Box saltine crackers
1 Stick of butter, softened
2-3 Cups sugar
1 Package semi sweet chocolate morsels (use sweet morsels if you have a big sweet tooth)
1/2 Cup heavy cream, gently heated, but not boiled.
Preheat your oven to 375'F
While the oven is heating, spread the saltines in a single layer on a cookie sheet and set aside.
For the Caramel:
Split the recipe in half and make two batches consisting of 1 to 1 & 1/2 cups of sugar at a time.
In a medium sauce pan, add the sugar over medium heat (a copper sugar saucepan is ideal and recommended). Stir continuously. The sugar will melt and turn brown as it is stirred. Once the sugar has melted, add the softened butter. Pay special attention during this stage because the melted sugar will rapidly bubble. Keep stirring until the butter is completely melted - about 1-2 minutes. Note: For better results, first melt the butter over low heat taking care not to let it bubble and slowly pour into the melted sugar, constantly stirring with a rubber whisk.
Slowly add the warmed heavy cream constantly stirring until all of the cream is added. Allow the mixture to gently boil for about about 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and let cool just a little. The sauce should thicken as it cools. Do not let it cool all the way to room temperature.
Spread the caramel mixture evenly over the saltine crackers and place in the oven for just a few minute or until hot taking care not to let the caramel bubble. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle the chocolate morsels over the top of the hot caramel and wait a few minutes until the chocolate has softened. Spread the softened chocolate over the caramel with a rubber spatula until all of the caramel is hidden under a layer of chocolate. Place in the fridge for 2 hours to allow the chocolate and caramel to harden (I put mine in the walk-in freezer).
When the chocolate and caramel have hardened, break into pieces and serve.
As an extra special feature, you can sprinkle your favorite chopped nuts as a topping to the chocolate before placing in the fridge.
Edited by Virgil - 2/4/16 at 4:25pm