Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Toffee Squares aka 30 Minutes to Heaven

My friend Marina is an INCREDIBLE baker! We met over 10 years ago (HOLY COW!), when we both worked at Scholastic. Back then, she would amaze me with all of the yummy treats she would whip up for family and friends and to this day, she still rocks my world with her sinful sweets. She recently shared this recipe with the world via Facebook and boy am I glad she did. It's the perfect treat for those who are intimidated by baking because it doesn't even require an oven!

Feel like you should still try to make something festive? Lack time/enthusiasm? Both? Do try these then: Sweet, caramelly, crispy, salty, chocolatey. Four ingredients. Fifteen minutes to prep. NO OVEN necessary! The New York Times, to my surprise/amusement, published a version of this recipe last week as well, though theirs is needlessly complicated. But you know I would not do that to you all.

Toffee Squares aka 30 Minutes to Heaven by: Marina Padakis

Yields: 2 lbs of treats


1 sleeve (48 crackers total), saltines (Krispy Brand is preffered)

2 sticks butter

1 cup sugar

1 (12-oz) bag chocolate chips (preferably, Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet)

*optional: 2 cups chopped nuts (I used toasted hazelnuts), crushed candy canes work too and add a festive touch


1) Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and whisk in. Let it bubble away without stirring.

2) Arrange saltines side by side in a grid on your cookie sheet. Broken ones can be used too. You do not need to grease/foil the pan.

3) Let butter mixture cook till it turns a caramel color--no longer yellow, but not mahogany--like a Heath bar inside. If it is all separated/curdled looking that is perfectly OK.

4) Remove from heat. Let the bubbles subside, then whisk the mixture till it comes together into a nice shiny brown goo.

5) Pour in a back-and-forth motion over the saltines. Use spatula to spread evenly over the crackers--and take care, that sh*t is hot! Do not worry if it's a mess, the chocolate covers any mistakes etc.

6) Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the whole thing. They will melt in 2-3 mins, then use the spatula to spread evenly. If you want nuts etc…on top, sprinkle on now.

7) Stick in the freezer for 15 minutes till chocolate is set (or longer in the fridge if you are not in a hurry). The whole thing should pop off the pan in one piece. Use a big knife to cut into squarish pieces; they will shatter/crumble in places, but that is part of their charm. You also get to nibble all the yummy little bits as you go.


-Put them in little cellophane bags tied with twine. Perfect for a last minute holiday edible gift!

Note: The caramel in this recipe is SUPER HOT! Use caution when having children help you in the kitchen for this recipe. Have them stand back while you are working with the hot liquidy caramel. There's plenty for them to do that isn't dangerous such as: arranging the saltines on the cookie sheet and breaking up the cooled toffee into pieces.


  1. Oh these squares sound delicious! I better make them before the start of the new year along with the dreaded new years resolution. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you! And I agree! I only have a few more weeks of guilt-free eating before baby # 2 arrives. Eat up and enjoy! No guilt till next year!