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Peanut Butter Chocolate Holiday Bark With a Secret Ingredient

There’s a bit of irony in this oh-so-sweet recipe. It has to do with the secret ingredient… Saltine crackers. Sound a little strange? I thought so too. But it piqued my interest, and I had to try it.

I’m a week behind posting these days. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m a week behind on every aspect of my life. Note to friends, I did get your messages and will be in touch within the week. To the mortgage company, the check’s in the mail (no, really it is); thank you for offering a two-week grace period to your house-poor homeowners. To my son… Yes, I know we are out of chocolate chip waffles. I will make it to the store this week, and if you promise not to tell your teacher that I feed you chocolate at 7:30 in the morning, I promise I will replenish your supply!

Saltine crackers and I have a bit of a history. Saltine’s and water were about all I lived on for the first ten weeks of my pregnancy. I always seem to have a box of Saltines in my pantry, but rarely eat them (which is why I put them to use last week). This weekend, however, it’s safe to say I reached my annual quota for Saltine crackers ~ (so glad I got them all in before the new year.).  Saturday morning, I woke up with the flu, apparently, not the flu that the flu vaccinne is made to combat. It was after a girls night out, but I don’t think the two martinis were to blame.  Food poisoning… possible, but regardless I survived on my loyal Saltine’s.

This recipe is a good way to put those Saltine crackers to good use. The only tricky part is making the toffee with the brown sugar and butter. Two things to remember ~ resist the urge to stir. Trust me, you’ll want to stir it. It’s an innate human response.  Put down the spoon. Once it turns a dark amber color, it’s done and needs to be taken off the heat right away. There is a short window of time before it burns (and there’s few things worse than burnt toffee in a pan). A candy thermometer would help, but it’s not necessary. You can do this!

This is a perfect “Laura Dessert”. Laura is my good friend who faithfully reads my blog, but is not huge on baking or on dessert. Her dessert usually consists of one small piece of chocolate. She’d rather spend her calories on the wine and martinis (see why she’s my friend). This holiday bark is so rich, that you really only need a piece and you’ve got dessert covered.

Feel free to adapt it. The original recipe called for less peanut butter. I crunched up peanut M&M’s to sprinkle on top, but bits of Reese’s peanut butter cups, or chopped nuts would also be yummy.

The boy loved this! Really, what’s not to love ~ chocolate, peanut-butter, toffee, and an added crunch from those always-there-for-you Saltine’s.

Peanut Butter Toffee With Saltines

1/4 lb (one sleeve) saltines (the salted ones)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter

2 1/2 cups semi-sweet chips

1/3 cup peanut butter

Chopped M&M’s

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper (the pan needs to have a lip to it or these things will leak all over your oven.) Place saltines in pan, salted side up. Leave just a bit of space between crackers so the toffee with encase the entire cracker when done.

Bring sugar and butter to a boil in a saucepan. Boil for 3 minutes (time the boiling after the whole thing starts boiling, not just the edges). And, resist the urge to stir it.

Pour boiling mixture over crackers. Place in oven for 5 minutes.

Put dollops of peanut butter on top and return to the oven for 1 minute.

Spread melted peanut butter over mixture with spatula and top with chocolate chips. Then, put back into the oven for 1 minute.

Use spatula to spread the chocolate chips (which have melted). Top with M&M pieces (or whatever you come up with). Place in freezer for at least 1 hour. Once these are set, crack them into individual pieces.

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57 Responses to Peanut Butter Chocolate Holiday Bark With a Secret Ingredient
  1. Maggie
    December 13, 2010 | 8:43 pm

    This looks so good – peanut butter and chocolate are one of my favorite combos!

    I’ve never had a saltine based bark, but one of my coworkers does a saltine toffee cookie every Christmas that is amazing. Who would of thought they’d be such a great base for dessert??

  2. The Blue-Eyed Bakers
    December 14, 2010 | 5:44 am

    Oh goodness this looks delicious! Chocolate, peanut butter and our beloved Saltines! Yes we’re huge fans as well. No illness a sleeve of Saltines can’t combat!

  3. Michelle
    December 14, 2010 | 5:56 am

    Oh, yes, this is delicious. We’ve made this sort of “candy” before and loved it!!

  4. Paula
    December 14, 2010 | 6:34 am

    Sorry that you had the *flu* over the weekend:) This post was quite funny and I’m glad that you found a good use for all those loyal saltines. The treat looks delicious and I bet the boy would trade these for chocolate chip waffles any morning!

  5. Cupcake Crazy Gem
    December 14, 2010 | 1:08 pm

    Hmm these look so yummy, am loving the festive colours!

  6. Cookbook Queen
    December 14, 2010 | 1:54 pm

    I have made saltine toffee before, but never with peanut butter. LOVE THIS!!

    And yeah, my checks in the mail too (not really).

  7. Tiffany @ Conor & Bella
    December 15, 2010 | 5:04 am

    Ah, I have to make this!

  8. Crustabakes
    December 15, 2010 | 7:56 am

    Oh my, this sounds just like THE dessert! I love the christmas colours in these too!

  9. Heather
    December 15, 2010 | 10:49 am

    What an unbelievably great looking treat!!

  10. Karyl
    December 15, 2010 | 5:51 pm

    This is so crazy, I have to try it! And I hope you get some good catch-up time this weekend.

  11. Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    December 18, 2010 | 12:51 pm

    I bought the ingredients to make this today after seeing this on tastespotting. Hopefully there’s still some left to give to my friends… it looks perfect in every way!

  12. Liz
    December 23, 2010 | 5:35 pm

    How the heck did you get this to turn out? I made it and it was ridiculous. The whole process what nuts and when it was all done the saltines did not even stick to the rest of the bark. They all came out when I was trying to remove it from the paper. What a mess. Sad it didn’t work out as it is rather costly to make.

  13. Kate
    December 27, 2010 | 10:08 pm

    Oh no, what a bummer. I’m sorry you went to all of that work. I know how frustrating that is when you make a recipe and it doesn’t turn out the way it says it should. When I made these I left a little space between the Saltines and made sure the liquid covered them completely. I don’t know if that was the glitch or not. I’m not really sure why it didn’t work for you.

  14. medical blog
    January 3, 2011 | 9:35 pm

    Love the recipe. Always looking for ways the get the peanut butter benefits for health in recipes as great as this.

  15. In This Wonderful Life
    April 20, 2011 | 12:45 pm

    Hi lady – I made this recipe and loved it!!

    Is it okay that I shared it with my readers here? –

    My blogging network told me it would be best to get your permission!

    Thanks :)

  16. Kate
    April 20, 2011 | 1:55 pm

    Thanks for linking back Megan!

  17. Alison Privat
    April 20, 2011 | 3:24 pm

    I just tried making this and it looks great but it is stuck to the paper and impossible to get off. Help? Any suggestions?

  18. shelly (cookies and cups)
    October 19, 2011 | 2:55 pm

    So yum!! Love the addition of peanut butter :)

  19. Sarah
    December 3, 2011 | 4:15 pm

    Just took my batch out of the freezer and it was perfection! Instead of using parchment paper, I covered my jelly roll pan with crisco and flower. I was able to pick up with whole sheet of bark and break it into pieces. Ready to enjoy!

  20. Marybeth
    December 6, 2011 | 4:02 pm

    This looks SO delicious! Does it need to be refrigerated to store it so it doesn’t get sticky and melt? I made this without peanut butter once and mine also stuck badly. Any ideas?

  21. Christine
    December 6, 2011 | 6:09 pm

    I’ve made saltine bark before and I lined my pan with foil and sprayed it with cooking spray and had no sticking problems.

  22. Nicole Leffer
    December 7, 2011 | 6:55 pm

    Awesome interesting recipe! Thanks for posting this. We just pinned it on our new Pinterest page ( :)

  23. kathy ostrem
    December 10, 2011 | 3:51 pm

    Looks great but stuck to parchment paper. Impossible to get off.

  24. cate
    January 16, 2012 | 9:58 am

    Fabulous stuff! I love it

  25. Meg S
    January 27, 2012 | 12:21 pm

    I made this last night – AMAZING!! and no stickiness problems with the parchment paper. Thank you for a great recipe! (PS – found you through pinterest)

  26. Shane
    February 27, 2012 | 12:42 pm

    I make this once a month…Instead of M&M’s, I use roasted sunflower seeds on top, and I cut back the brown sugar to 1/2 a cup. This is by far my family’s favorite treat!

    To those having issues with sticking: I line a broiler pan with foil (I don’t use non-stick spray). I think the secret is to make sure the treats are hard frozen before attempting to take them out of the pan, and like Kate said, make sure you leave space between the crackers so the butter/sugar mixture gets below them.

    Great post! Thanks! (StumbleUpon brought me here, and I was like, “HEY!, I make that!”)

  27. Jackie B
    October 13, 2012 | 1:03 pm

    I made this recipe from the original blogger’s post almost a year ago. You have it copied here — word for word — with no link to the original blogger. That just isn’t right. And then another blogger asked for YOUR permission to copy it with a nod to you!

  28. Emmy
    November 19, 2012 | 5:51 pm

    Found this recipe via Pinterest and I made it tonight. This is delicious and so easy to make! Be warned though, it is very rich, but this would be great to take to holiday parties and get togethers.

  29. Kristin
    November 27, 2012 | 7:19 pm

    This looks amazing! My kiddos are going to love it! Very festive

  30. Tara
    November 27, 2012 | 7:42 pm

    Hi, Im excited to try this recipe but Im wondering if its ok to use unsalted saltines as I never buy the salted ones?? THX!

  31. carolyn lucas
    December 6, 2012 | 6:09 pm

    Looks great with the M&M’s on top! Been making this for years – one of my family’s favorite. Instead of the chocolate chips & peanut butter, I use chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I think it has an even better flavor served cold. I line my baking sheet with foil and it just peels off. Glad you’re better!

  32. Dena
    December 12, 2012 | 1:17 pm

    This is the best Christmas Treat….and I’ve made a lot. Follow the recipe exactly, and it will turn out perfect!! Let it harden in the freezer long enough and then you can break into pieces. Absolutely delicious!!
    Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good treat!

  33. Joy
    December 14, 2012 | 12:04 pm

    I don’t think my pan will fit in my freezer without having to be tilted which is not an option with all of the ingredients on the pan. Does it have to go into the freezer? Is there another option to this step? Thanks for any help you can provide.

  34. Irene
    December 15, 2012 | 8:46 pm

    If it is cold enough outside, I set it out on the porch since I don’t have room in my freezer. Can also make with pretzels instead of crackers. And I prefer milk chocolate chips instead of semi sweet.

  35. Brenda
    December 17, 2012 | 9:25 am

    Delicious! I added extra peanut butter…I think next time I’ll break up the crackers first. I thought the best part was the butter/sugar that collected around the bottom.

  36. Rachel @ Bakerita
    December 17, 2012 | 10:16 am

    Yum! I’ve made these before, but it’s been a while, and now you have me wanting to make them again! Yours look delicious, love the colors :)

  37. Amanda
    December 17, 2012 | 5:44 pm

    I have been looking for this recipe! Found you through Pinterest! Thanks for sharing!

  38. Lauren Carey
    January 6, 2013 | 7:11 am

    I used this recipe during the Christmas season, I’ve also featured this recipe as well as your site on my blog! Check it out if you have a minute

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