Saturday, December 26, 2009

What Not To Bake

This post was not originally going to have this title. I thought it would be so cool to try to be like The Pioneer Woman and feature a fabulous holiday recipe, complete with step-by-step photos of the entire process from start to finish so that you could be inspired to make it yourself! If you've ever visited PW's blog, especially the cooking section, you'll see the similarities immediately - minus the fabulous photography, modern appliances, really cool cooking utensils and the sparkling oven.

Our sad story begins when I found a recipe at the Tasty Kitchen blog. It is called Soda Cracker Toffee. I know 'soda cracker' and 'toffee' sound a little weird together. I've even seen it called Redneck Toffee or Trailer Trash Toffee. Don't let that scare you - I've had this before and it's delicious. You can't even tell there are crackers in it! At least you shouldn't be able to tell.

Let's start with what it is supposed to look like:

photo courtesy of television

With that mouth-watering image firmly in mind, let's start baking, shall we?

Step 1 is to line a jelly roll pan with foil and then lay a sleeve of crackers to cover the bottom. Except my jelly roll pan must be bigger than the recipe-writer's because it took more than one sleeve of crackers. This was my first red flag. The recipe did say 10x15 but who can be bothered with measuring your pans?

Measure 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup butter into a saucepan.

Bring the sugar and butter to a gentle boil, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes. (Blurry - I know. But look at the focus on that adjacent burner!)

Carefully pour the hot butter and sugar over the crackers. So far, so good!

Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.

Turn off the oven. Sprinkle a 12 oz. package of chocolate chips over the top of the cracker mixture and return to the oven for 4 -5 minutes. (Red flag #2 - this still looks like a bunch of Saltines. Hmmmm.)

Remove from the oven and spread melted chocolate chips over the entire top of the cracker mixture. Sprinkle with nuts if desired. Let set.

Here is where it gets ugly.

It was extremely difficult to separate the 'candy' from the foil. I may or may not have whined and moaned at this point.

I was finally able to do it but the result was a whole mess of buttery, sticky crackers that still just looked like soda crackers and not candy at all. Notice the legs of a few sympathetic family members who came running when they heard me crying gathered around to offer support.

Does this look mouth-watering to you? It wasn't. Trust me.

So in conclusion:
  1. You would most likely have more success than I did with this recipe.
  2. I am not Pioneer Woman. I must accept this and go back to my boring old blog.
  3. I may be a redneck.

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