It seems strange to do a post the night of Thanksgiving for a dessert that’s not a Thanksgiving dessert, but I'm still recovering from my food coma and don't think I can handle posting the Thanksgiving recipes tonight. I'm also pretty obsessed with this saltine toffee.

One of the many wonderful things about the holidays is that you are always cooking for a crowd. That’s when you want desserts like this. It is SO easy and SO good. I made it last Saturday night, and we had finished all of it by Sunday night. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that the crowd I made it for wasn’t all that big, but after a few glasses of wine we weren’t counting how many pieces we were eating.

It’s an incredibly simple recipe with ingredients you might already have at home. I was skeptical about the Saltines, but the airy crunch mixed with the solid chocolate layer is perfect. I made another batch last night just to have as an option if we got tired of eating pumpkin desserts. There was really no need for another dessert around here, but 1) I’ve been missing it in my life for the past four days, 2) I enjoy baking significantly more when I’m back home because I don’t have to pay for ingredients and 3) who doesn’t like options?

Decorate it with anything you’d like – candy, sprinkles, toasted nuts of some sort. I chose M&Ms and sprinkles. I’ll probably change up the sprinkles to red and green once December hits (when yes, I will inevitably be making this again).  If you use candy I’d recommend crushing it up a bit like you can see I’ve done with the M&Ms. I stored the finished product in the fridge because I thought it was delicious cold, but storage is up to you!


Saltine Toffee
Recipe from Cooking Classy
  • 40 saltine crackers (I recommend using Nabisco Saltines with Sea Salt)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (whichever you prefer, milk, semi or bittersweet. I used half milk chocolate half semi-sweet)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla
  • 3/4 cup chopped, toasted nuts of choice - pecans, walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts (optional)*
  • Sprinkles (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Align crackers side by side in a single layer along baking sheet, set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan combined butter and brown sugar. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it reaches a boil stop stirring and allow to boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla bean paste then immediately and carefully pour mixture over crackers in an even layer (spread out as needed). Transfer to oven and bake 5 to 6 minutes until bubbly.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle top evenly with chocolate chips. Let rest 5 minutes then spread chocolate into a smooth even layer. Sprinkle with nuts or sprinkles. Transfer to freezer and allow to chill 20 minutes or until chocolate has set. Remove from freezer and break or cut into pieces. Store in an airtight container.
  • *I just toasted the nuts in a skillet over medium heat several minutes until fragrant and toasted (while the crackers were baking). Toasting them is optional though.

I'm sorry to put up two peanut butter recipes in a row, but the proportion of peanut butter recipes I make to other recipes is so high that this sort of thing is inevitable...and these cookies are amazing, so you need them in your life sooner rather than later.

Back when my metabolism was still going strong, I used to love Lofthouse cookies. I realize I haven't really cut back on my cookie consumption since then, but somehow making homemade cookies instead of store bought helps me justify eating a cookie or two a day (I wish I was lying). The amazing thing about Lofthouse cookies is the incredible, inexplicably soft cookie paired with the overly sweet and amazing frosting. If you can't think of what they look like, here's the website for reference. If you've never them, go to your grocery store immediately and buy the ingredients for this recipe as well as a box of the real deal. It's not excessive. It's just necessary.

Anywho - I've never had a bad batch. They literally melt in your mouth. I'm not sure if it's some sort of preservative that we've never heard of, or just plain magic makes the cookies so soft, but I wouldn't want the Lofthouse elves (or equivalent) to change a thing.

Averie, being the queen of all things delicious, came up with this copycat recipe to try to achieve that same combination of soft (not underdone) cookie and sweet, creamy frosting. As she acknowledges, they aren't exactly like Lofthouse cookies, but they are still incredible. I prefer everything cooked no more than the amount of time called for in the recipe, and usually a little less depending on the recipe. Cooking time is essential with this recipe. Some people like crispy cookies. I get that. This is not the recipe to tweak to make them crispy. Because of the ingredients they will not get crispy. Instead they will just be dry, and no one wants that. I cooked mine about nine minutes for a full cookie sheet. I also love the idea to freeze this cookie dough for quick baking at a later date. Enjoy!

Lofthouse-Style Soft Peanut Butter Chip Sugar Cookies with Peanut Butter Frosting
Recipe from Averie Cooks 
Yield: about 13 medium cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: about 8 minutes
Total Time: 3+ hours, for dough chilling


1 large egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups cake flour (no substitutions)
2 teaspoons cornstach
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4  teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
one 10-ounce bag Reese's Peanut Butter Chips (about 1 2/3 cups)

Peanut Butter Frosting
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (use Peter Pan, Jif, Skippy, etc. -- Not homemade or natural PB because they'll separate and so will the frosting)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of 1 stick), softened
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
pinch salt, optional and to taste
splash cream or milk, if needed to achieve proper consistency
chocolate sprinkles, optional for garnishing

  1. For the Cookies - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the first 5 ingredients (through vanilla) on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the next 5 ingredients (through optional salt), and mix on low speed until just incorporated, about 1 minute; don't overmix.
  3. Add the peanut butter chips and mix until just incorporated. Dough will be on the sticky and tacky side.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping two-tablespoon mounds (I made 13). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not overbake because cookies will firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet  for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooking. Meanwhile, make the frosting.
  6. For the Peanut Butter Frosting - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), combine the peanut butter and butter, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  7. Slowly add the sugar, optional salt, and mix until frosting comes together.
  8. Add a splash of cream or milk as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
  9. Add a generous dollop (about 2 tablespoons) to each cookie, and smooth it as desired with a knife or spatula.
  10. Optionally garnish with sprinkles or chocolate chips. Serve immediately.
Note from Averie: Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for a few days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. I'm okay with leaving buttercream frosting at room temperature for a couple days; if you aren't, refrigerate the cookies, knowing they'll dry out more. Unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

I love it when someone else makes a dessert that I try and immediately know I need to make myself. It takes the guessing out of whether the final product is going to be good or bad, and if it's not great I can go ahead and save myself the time and money of making it. I have zero shame asking people for recipes, which I'll admit is sometimes awkward since people get very protective over these things. Thankfully my roommate and fellow peanut butter lover Brooke finds recipes in a lot of the same places I do, so getting this one wasn't an issue. Had I tried this fudge and not been able to get the recipe, I would've known forevermore that my peanut butter game was not up to par.

Brooke gave the majority of her batch of fudge away, and yet somehow we still were snacking on it for a week. I made another batch the same day that we finished the last piece of hers. So much for even pretending to eat healthy.

It'd be hard for this fudge to be any easier.  The only part about the recipe that's not ideal is getting to four cups of sifted powdered sugar...and really that's only because my patience with sifting usually goes out the window around two cups. The payoff is amazing, though. I think most people put considerably more effort into making fudge, and all of those other fudge recipes pale in comparison to this one. It's rich, creamy, delicious and the perfect consistency. We both used mini Reese's cups, which I highly recommend, but I plan on making this fudge often enough that I'll try other variations as well. Brooke and I have already decided on M&Ms for next time--maybe even peanut butter M&M's. I honestly might die of food bliss with that combination.

When cutting fudge, I like to use a hot knife so I can get a perfect line. Once the fudge is cold this is not a necessity, but I find it helps. Run a knife under hot water, quickly dry it off and start cutting. Once the knife cools down repeat this process. I suggest cutting small fudge squares, maybe an inch across. Keep the fudge in the refrigerator.

Side Note: If you count the optional ingredients it's six ingredient fudge instead of four ingredient fudge. Since you may or may not be adding the optional ingredients, I've labeled it 4 ingredient fudge anyways. It sounds better, don't you think?

4 Ingredient Fudge
Recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction

  • 1 cup (250g) creamy peanut butter*
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 4 cups (460g) sifted confectioners' sugar*
  • 3/4 cup add-ins, such as chocolate chips, peanuts, or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (optional)

Line an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on the sides to lift the finished fudge out.

Melt the peanut butter and butter together in a large bowl. I prefer to slice the butter to make melting easier. Stop the microwave and stir the mixture every minute until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the microwave and stir in the vanilla using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Add the salt if you prefer a salty/sweet fudge. Add the sifted confectioners' sugar and stir until completely combined. The mixture is very, very thick and resembles cookie dough. If using any add-ins, fold them into the fudge while it is still warm.

Press the fudge into prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spatula or spoon. The top will be somewhat oily. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and chill for at least 4 hours or until firm. Cut into pieces.

Store fudge in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Fudge may be frozen for up to 2 months. To thaw, simply transfer to the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

*Sally also mentions to use store-bought peanut butter. I am a peanut butter purist, so I never mess with the natural or homemade stuff, but for those who do, ditch that for this recipe. You also must, must, must sift the sugar. This is key to the smooth creaminess of the fudge.

Everyone has a few areas of their cooking they'd like to improve on. For me, it's yeast breads and candy. Since this post has nothing to do with yeast breads, I'll explain the candy issues. If I'm supposed to judge a candy by consistency alone (no thermometer), I'm in trouble. I always take the bubbling mixture off too soon or leave it for just a bit too long. I love pralines, and I've got the taste part down, but I've never quite been able to achieve the perfect mix of creamy and crunch. I tried, and failed, the other day to make two different varieties of pralines. The first didn't harden enough and the second burnt in the pan which was the most difficult dish I've ever had to clean. I had to soak it for five days. I would've thrown it out if it hadn't been one of my favorite pans.

To get my praline fix without having to mess with a very particular cooking time, I decided to turn to my trusty crockpot and just make cinnamon sugar pecans. I realize I'm posting two crockpot recipes in a row, but if you don't have one you really should invest. I use one that was $20 at the grocery store, and it's never let me down. These cinnamon sugar pecans are delicious and are PERFECT for the holidays. I bought a bag of pecans at Costco because nuts always strike me as ridiculously expensive. Other than that you will probably have all of the ingredients on hand.

Now, I know that stirring every 20 minutes seems like a hassle. I'd usually agree. However, I chose to sit in bed and catch up on scandal during the three hours of cooking. Every 20 minutes I'd press pause and go stir. A) It helped me justify three hours of Scandal ("I mean, I have to do something to occupy my time while the pecans are cooking.") B) It takes about 30 seconds total to get up and go give them a quick stir. Easy. As an added bonus, your house will smell amazing!

Slow Cooker Cinnamon Sugar Pecans
Recipe from The Recipe Critic
  • 1¼ C. Sugar
  • 1¼ C. Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. Salt
  • 1 Egg White
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 Cups Pecans
  • ¼ C. Water
  1. Mix together in a large bowl sugars, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In another bowl with a whisk, mix together the egg white and vanilla until it is frothy. Add the pecans and coat thoroughly. This will help the mixture stick to the pecans during the cooking process.
  3. Prepare your slow cooker by spraying it with cooking spray. I used a 4 quart. Add the cinnamon pecan mixture to the pecans and turn it to low. Stir until the cinnamon sugar mixture is coated well on the almonds. Be prepared for your house to smell amazing!
  4. You want to cook for about 3-4 hours. Mine took about 3. Stirring every 20 minutes. In the very last hour, add ¼ cup water and stir well. This will ensure a crunchy coating and help the mixture to harden.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the pecans onto the sheet to cool. The pecans should be pretty sticky so be sure to seperate them the best that you can and let them cool!

 *These pictures don't really convey the deliciousness of these pecans, but it's because I was forced to sneakily take them in my office.