My 4-Ingredient Christmas Pretzel Toffee Is Always the First to Disappear at Holiday Parties

published Dec 22, 2023
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Overhead shot of pretzel toffee broken up on parchment paper.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Debbie Wee

You can always count on seeing at least one large tray of Christmas toffee at a holiday party, and there’s a good explanation as to why. Christmas toffee, also sometimes called saltine toffee, is a delightfully simple and extremely tasty treat that is likely much easier to make than any holiday cookie.

While this recipe is often made with regular saltine crackers or even buttery Ritz crackers, what if I told you there was a better, more creative way to make it at home that’s equally if not more delicious? Yes, when a recipe works well you often don’t want to change it, but this year, you should consider using pretzel sticks to make Christmas toffee instead of the usual saltines!

Saltine crackers act as a good base for traditional Christmas toffee, but they aren’t the most flavorful and they are relatively delicate in texture. Ritz crackers are much more rich but they don’t offer the same structure and texture of a crisp pretzel stick. 

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Debbie Wee

Ingredients for Christmas Pretzel Toffee

  • 2 cups pretzel sticks
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 12-ounce package of semisweet, milk, dark, or bittersweet chocolate chips

How to Make Christmas Pretzel Toffee

Start with the right type of pretzel: For this toffee, be sure to use pretzel sticks, as opposed to pretzel twists or other varieties. These are the types of pretzels that you usually see in a snack mix or the chip aisle at a grocery store, which means they’re relatively easy to track down. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper: Cover a half baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper and spray with cooking spray. Spray both sides of the parchment paper, as this will help the paper adhere to the bottom of the baking sheet more easily.

Place the pretzel sticks in the baking sheet: Add a couple large handfuls of pretzel sticks to the baking sheet, making sure to not crush them. Flatten the pretzel sticks and spread them out so they lay in a single layer and cover as much of the parchment as possible. You can break some of the pretzel sticks in order to cover more of the parchment paper.

Boil the brown sugar and butter: Add the brown sugar and butter to a saucepan over medium high heat. Allow the mixture to melt and come together, about five minutes. Let the mixture come to a boil until bubbly and aromatic, a few more minutes. Pour the mixture carefully over the pretzel sticks making sure to coat as many of them as possible. It’s OK if they aren’t all covered, as the mixture will spread in the oven.

Credit: Cory Fernandez

Bake the pretzel sticks in the oven: Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture has spread out. Keep watch after 10 minutes to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn.

Credit: Cory Fernandez

Sprinkle with the chocolate chips: Take the baking sheet out of the oven and immediately sprinkle all over with the chocolate chips. Let the chocolate chips sit for about 5 minutes while they start to melt. Carefully, use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread the chocolate chips all over the pretzels, being sure to cover them all as much as you can. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings!

Credit: Cory Fernandez

Chill for at least an hour: Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and allow to sit for about an hour or up to overnight. Break the toffee into shards and medium-sized pieces.

Credit: Cory Fernandez