Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Holiday High Jinx.

The holiday season, the happiest of times for some; hell on earth for many.  I have to tell you that I am personally not a great lover of the holiday season.  Like the many, bad memories and extreme sadness creep up into my mind and heart.  They squeeze tightly, attempting to make me fall into a black hole of depression; sort of like those carpet gremlins who like to grab at my sneakers and trip me up.  Unlike the many, I have found a way to banish those monsters; laughter, pure, complete, fun loving laughter does the trick every time.

This year I decided to make folks think I had completely gone off the deep end; that I had decided to go into a life of crime.  To social media I typed, “Financially the hardship has become too much; I am now going to make crack.  First free samples to find out if the quality is acceptable.  Then I will begin to process, package and distribute….will I need to get a food handler’s permit for this I wonder?”  The reactions were few; laugh and like icons, but barely any comments; definitely not the reaction I was expecting.  I wondered if our new Chief of Police, Clayton Black, would be knocking on my door as people reported to him I was now a local drug dealer advertising on Facebook.

To waylay holiday sadness, I have, since moving to Monticello, created goodies to distribute to those establishments that I have dealt with happily.  The City Office, banking institution, Post Office were the beginning; imagine my surprise when I was told, “Mary, no one has ever done this for us before.  Thank you!”  I was enveloped with confusion; why would no one show appreciation for these places, especially during the holidays?  I have added a few more establishments during our eight winter seasons here; and surprise is still a reaction from them.

This year I was pleased by the reactions when I walked in, carrying a foil wrapped package, and exclaimed, “Happy Holidays, I’ve brought you crack.  Enjoy!”  There were raised eyebrows, hesitation in accepting the package, a slow unwrapping and then a peek; but best of all was the look of joy as they saw the Toffee and Peppermint Crack Candy.  That’s correct, Crack Candy, an obnoxiously sweet candy created with brown sugar, butter, saltine crackers, melted chocolate and a topping.  The toppings can be toffee bits, crushed candy cane, roasted/chopped nuts, even a combination of candy with nuts.  The name “crack” comes from the sound the candy makes when it has completely cooled and is broken apart.

Researching this candy, I found so many variations, including something called “Reindeer Crack” made with pretzels, M&M candies, Chex cereal and melted white chocolate.  Many of the recipes were very simple, some so complicated I would have needed a culinary degree to get through it.  My recipe is a simple one, but big hint, make sure to have all the ingredients lined up and ready to go; the process goes quickly!

Once again, Joyous Yule, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Brightest Blessings for the New Year.   Keep laughing and the future will look so bright, you’ve got to wear shades.

Crack Candy


40 saltine crackers
1 and ¼ cups salted butter, cubed
1 and ¼ cups brown sugar, packed (light, dark or combination of both)
1 (10 oz.) package dark chocolate morsels (milk, semi-sweet, or white chocolate morsels are options)

Options for Toppings

1 and ½ cups toffee bits
1 and ½ cups crushed peppermint sticks
1 and ½ cups roasted and chopped: pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts
Or a 3/4 cup combination of two items, equaling 1 and ½ cups.


Preheat oven to 350F; line 18” x 12” x 1” deep jelly roll pan with aluminum foil; lightly spray foil with nonstick baking spray.


Place saltines on foil 5 down, 8 across; no spaces in between.  Make sure to leave a ¼ inch space from all four sides of the pan.


In a medium sauce pan, medium heat, melt butter.  Stir in brown sugar, bring mixture to a boil; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes until all sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens slightly.


Pour mixture over crackers; if crackers separate, push back together with rubber spatula.  Do NOT touch sugar mixture or it will burn the skin.  Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes, until bubbly. Remove from oven (turn oven off, no longer needed); again, if crackers have separated, push back together with rubber spatula.  Sprinkle chocolate morsels over crackers; allow to soften for a minute and spread melted chocolate evenly over the crackers.


Sprinkle topping (s) over chocolate; refrigerate for one hour.  Break apart; lifting the foil and folding it over the candy makes it easier to grab and “crack” the candy.

Peppermint Crack
Toffee Crack

Makes about 2 pounds of candy.

Mary Cokenour

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