Snapshot Cooking: Christmas Bark 5 Ways
Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.
Searching for a last-minute holiday treat that everyone will love? Christmas bark to the rescue! It’s a salty-sweet classic that goes by many other names (like Christmas Crunch, Christmas Crackle, or Christmas Crack), but the baseline idea is usually the same: You pour a simple homemade caramel sauce over a layer of crackers, bake it, then cover it with chocolate to create a no-fail toffee that’s broken up like bark.
Below, you’ll find our tried-and-tested take on the traditional version — plus four new variations if you’re looking for something different (and equally delicious!) this holiday season. The best part? Each one only needs a handful of ingredients to make.
A Bark By Many Names
For all of these variations on Christmas Bark, we started with a simple saltine toffee recipe, then played around with different crackers, flavors, and toppings to create five fun new variations. Here are a few key points to keep in mind.
5 Snapshot Recipes for Saltine Toffee Bark
- Toffee ingredients: You’ll use the same toffee recipe for all 5 variations: 2 sticks unsalted butter, 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. (The full recipe is below.) This mixture will cover one sleeve of saltines or butter crackers or two sleeves of graham crackers.
- Pan prep: Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
- Toffee magic: While the toffee mixture comes together on the stovetop, the actual magic of this recipe happens in the oven. With just 15 minutes at 375°F, the sugar cooks to a hard crack temperature and the crackers absorb the sugar and butter.
- Chocolate finish: While the toffee is still hot, you’ll sprinkle it with 2 cups chocolate chips or chunks, which will melt on their own.
Chocolate Peppermint Bark
Follow the below recipe, using 2 sleeves chocolate graham crackers instead of saltines (you may have to halve the last two pieces). Add 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract along with the vanilla extract. Swap the semisweet chips for 2 cups (11-ounce bag) white chocolate chips and top with 1/2 cup crushed crushed candy canes (about 4 standard-sized candy canes).
Follow the below recipe, using 2 sleeves classic graham crackers instead of saltines. Swap the semisweet chips for 2 cups (one 11-ounce bag) white chocolate chips. After the 5-minute cool time, add 6 to 8 drops food coloring (I used blue and pink) before swirling and spreading the melted chips. Top with 1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles.
Follow the below recipe, using 2 sleeves Ritz crackers instead of saltines. Swap 1 cup of the semi-sweet chips for 1 cup peanut butter chips. After the chips are melted and swirled, top with 1/2 cup chopped Reeses Pieces™ .
Follow the below recipe, swapping the semisweet chocolate for 2 cups dark chocolate chips. Top with 1 cup chopped, candied pecans.
saltine crackers (about 1 sleeve; enough to line a rimmed baking sheet)
- 2 sticks
(8 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups
packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon
- 2 cups
semisweet chocolate chips (about 11 ounces)
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the saltine crackers in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Place the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring just a few times, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be thickened slightly and homogeneous.
Working quickly, pour the hot toffee mixture over the crackers, spreading it so most of the crackers are completely covered.
Bake until the toffee is bubbling and both the crackers and toffee are beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and immediately sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Let the chocolate melt for 5 minutes, then use a spatula to spread the chocolate into an even layer. Set aside to cool for at least 2 hours before cutting into 30 pieces.
Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.