When a kid tells you at 9 p.m. he needs cookies for school the next day, pull out your recipe for No-Nut Brickle and breath a sigh of relief. This recipe will take you about 20 minutes from start to chill if you have the ingredients on hand. Ah, another reason to have a well-stocked pantry.
And even thought it’s a favorite for kids, it’s also sophisticated enough for adults. Nobody would guess that the base is saltine crackers. And nobody needs to know.
There are many Internet variations of Brickle and I have made several of them, and even developed a few of my own. The basic recipe for brickle calls for a topping of chopped pecans, but for a party marking the opening of baseball season, I’ve used chopped salted peanuts. Once I made “Red Carpet Brickle” for an Oscar-watch party. I used rich European butter, imported chocolate and chopped toasted hazelnuts as the topping. Pricey, but worth it.
Many people don’t eat nuts and some children are allergic to them. I’ve played with dried cherries on the top; that’s good but I missed the crunch. Que the English toffee bits made by Heath for baking. They look like nuts so you’ll have to explain they aren’t, even if you put up a sign that proclaims, “no nuts.” My husband, who can’t eat nuts, doubted me until I showed him the bag o’ brittle.
Make sure that you line your jelly roll pan with foil and spritz it with non-stick spray. This makes it easy to remove the brickle. Also, you can’t use a rimless baking sheet or you will end up with sticky butter-sugar on the bottom of your oven. You need a baking pan with a rim. The jelly roll pan is perfect.
Ultimately, how many pieces you get in the end depends on how big (or small) you break up the pieces. I usually get about 3 dozens, minus the pieces I nibble when packaging them up for the late-notice school party.
- 60 or more saltine crackers
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips
- English toffee bits, such as Heath
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cover large jellyroll pan (about 13 by 15 inches) with foil. Coat lightly with nonstick spray. Place saltine crackers in single layer on foil.
- In saucepan on stove, melt butter and brown sugar over low heat. Bring to full boil and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove and pour over crackers. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Leave until melted. Spread out the chocolate and sprinkle with nuts.
- Refrigerate at least 4 hours. Break into pieces.
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Does not freeze well.