My Material Life

Secret Toffee

Some day I’d like to get good at making old-timey candies like fudge, divinity, brittles and honeycomb or sea foam.  But I’m just not there yet.  I can either get the texture right and the taste wrong or the taste right and the texture wrong.  I can’t seem to get the two working together.  I thought I’d make penuche to bring to my sister’s for Thanksgiving because it was always a favorite of hers, but the practice batch I made right after Halloween (I wanted to make it with candy corn) just turned to sand.

Happily, the recipe I’m sharing with you here* for secret toffee doesn’t present any of the candy-making difficulties I’ve encountered so far.  It’s just easy, fun to make, and delicious.

Would you like to know the secret?

It’s unsalted soda (aka saltine) crackers.  But I splurged with this batch and didn’t use any old soda cracker.  These are the Diamond brand from Hawaii that were recently on sale at Whole Foods.  They’re a little thicker and more sturdy than a regular saltine.  You don’t have to use these of course, but if you can find them and you don’t mind the price, use them.  I think they make a better secret toffee than the standard saltine.

You’ll spend next to no time on the stove making this toffee.  You’ll melt some butter and heat it to a boil for 30 seconds with some brown sugar.  Then you’ll pour your toffee syrup into a foil-lined pan, top it with the crackers and bake it for 10 minutes.  After that, you’ll sprinkle chocolate chips over the crackers, put the pan back in the oven for another minute and then spread the melting chips evenly over the crackers.  You can add nuts when you sprinkle on the chocolate chips or leave them out.  I sprinkled coarse sea salt over my melted chocolate instead of using nuts.  Then I put the pan in the fridge for one hour and broke up the toffee along the cracker lines when I took it out.

Package the toffee in a tin or some other airtight container for a yummy hostess or holiday gift.

Secret Toffee

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 24 unsalted soda crackers
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 375°.  Line a 13×9 inch baking pan with foil, letting foil extend up the sides.

Melt butter in small saucepan; add sugar and let come to a full boil until sugar melts and turns syrupy, about 30 seconds.  Pour into the foil-lined pan, tilt to cover the bottom evenly.  Top with a single layer of soda crackers, leaving about 1/8 inch between crackers.  Bake 10 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate morsels and nuts evenly over top.  Return to oven for 1 minute.  Spread chocolate-nut mixture with a rubber spatula into an even layer, being careful not to disturb cracker layer.  Refrigerate 1 hour until firm.

Lift from pan, peel off foil and break into chunks.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Yields 1-1/2 pounds.

* I believe my clipping for this recipe came from The San Francisco Chronicle.


  1. Kathie

    Thanks for the recipe, Colleen! These were delicious! I’m going to Whole Foods this week to pick up some of those crackers, and can’t wait to make some of these melt-in-your-mouth treats!

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