WARNING: You will experience withdrawal symptoms once this is gone!!! Symptoms can vary, but may include: uncontrollable salivating of the mouth and a cranky attitude. This stuff is SO addicting, guys. Don't say we didn't warn you!!
Jenna and I are really trying to watch what we eat at the moment because we know that as Christmas gets closer and closer, our diets will be getting worse and worse. But full disclosure: we sat there and ate all of the pieces that "didn't break right" .... AKA we purposely broke a few pieces a little too big or a little too small so we could indulge. It's safe to say that this crack is actually unavoidable ....
There's something about the way the brown sugar and salted butter melt together to create the most amazing browned salted caramel-y sugar combination. That salty/sweet goodness combined with the salty saltine cracker and sweetness of the milk chocolate make for an amazing, out of this world treat/dessert/snack/meal/whatever. (But seriously, if you guys make this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we are not judging you.)
Lay out the saltine crackers on the bottom of the sheet pan. One sleeve of crackers will be enough to cover a 13x9 pan. Once the crackers are laid out, melt the butter and brown sugar together on the stove until the two combine and start to bubble. (Make sure you use SALTED butter. This will give the butter/brown sugar mixture the salty flavor it needs.) Once the butter and sugar combine to make a bubbling ooey-gooey caramel-y combination, remove the pot from the heat and add in the vanilla extract.
Pour the mixture over the crackers and spread evenly. If you don't hit all of the edges completely, don't stress - the baking will fix this. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 6 minutes. The pan will be bubbling when you take it out. Sprinkle a bag of milk chocolate chips over the caramel-y layer and let it sit for a couple of minutes so the chocolate chips have time to melt and soften. You also want to let it sit so that you don't accidentally mix the chocolate with the caramel-y layer when you begin to spread the chocolate. Once the chocolate chips have melted a bit, create an even layer of chocolate using a rubber spatula (or something similar.)
Now, for the fun part! Decorate the bark however you want! If you like m&m's like us, throw some m&m's on there. If you like sprinkles like us, throw some sprinkles on it. If you like pretzels, throw in some crushed pretzels. Oh, what did you say? You love Oreos?? Crush those bad boys up and toss em on! Ok, you get where we're going with this...
Let the bark cool in the refrigerator for about 30-40 minutes to give it an adequate amount of time to cool so its not melting while you're breaking it into pieces. Trust me, we know the wait is tough, but it's so worth it. Everything good in life is worth waiting for... is that the saying?? Something like that. Anyway, once the bark has cooled and your patience is at an all time low, take the bark out of the fridge and break that thang up!!! You can use your hands, a knife....your mouth (JK don't do that... I mean, you can, but don't.) BREAK IT UP AND ENJOY!!
Box of Saltine crackers
2 sticks of salted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag of milk chocolate chips
**Toppings of your choice (we used m&m's and Christmas sprinkles)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line the cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
3. Line the bottom of the cookie sheet with a layer of Saltine crackers.
4. On medium-high heat, melt together the brown sugar and butter on the stove. Stir continuously. Once the brown sugar and butter are combined and bubbling, remove from heat and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir.
5. Pour the brown sugar mixture over the top of the crackers. Spread the mixture evenly over the crackers.
6. Bake for 6 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Remove from oven and sprinkle the bag of chocolate chips over top. Let chocolate chips sit for a couple of minutes so they can soften a bit (this will make spreading the chocolate an easier process.)
8. Spread the chocolate using a rubber spatula (or something similar) in an even layer on top of the brown sugar layer.
9. Top the bark with any toppings you'd like. We used m&m's and sprinkles and thought it was the perfect combo!
10. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so it can harden.
11. Once completely cooled, break into pieces and enjoy!! (You can either cut the bark into pieces with a knife or break with your hands.)