Pastry chef Nicole Plue, of Julia's Kitchen at Copia in Napa Valley, was intrigued by a recipe she discovered for matzo covered in toffee and chocolate. But she knew she could improve it by using crackers instead of matzo for a hit of salt. Now the saltines, slathered with buttery toffee and bittersweet chocolate, are a favorite on her petit four tray.
More 30-Minute Desserts
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds (6 ounces)
Approximately 60 saltine crackers (not low-sodium)
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 sticks (3/4 pound) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast for about 6 minutes, until golden.
Line a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat or lightly buttered parchment paper. Arrange the saltine crackers on the baking sheet in a single layer, patching any holes with cracker bits; slight gaps are okay.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter and corn syrup and cook over low heat until the sugar is melted. Brush the side of the pan with a moistened pastry brush to wash down any sugar crystals. Cook the syrup over moderate heat without stirring until it starts to brown around the edge, about 5 minutes. Insert a candy thermometer into the syrup and simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon, until honey-colored caramel forms and the temperature reaches 300°, about 6 minutes longer.
Slowly and carefully pour the caramel over the crackers, being sure to cover most of them evenly. Using an offset spatula, spread the caramel to cover any gaps. Let cool for 3 minutes, then sprinkle the chopped chocolate evenly on top. Let stand until the chocolate is melted, about 3 minutes, then spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee. Spread the almonds evenly over the chocolate. Freeze the toffee until set, about 15 minutes.
Invert the toffee onto a work surface and peel off the mat or paper. Invert again, break into large shards and serve.
The chocolate-almond saltine toffee can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.
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