Back in my first semester of college in 2002, when I was roomates with Samye and Marissa, I met a guy named Biff. (I'm pretty sure it was that semester; correct me if I'm wrong, girls!) That was not his real name, but I don't know his real name because Biff is what he went by. One day, Biff brought us a pan of delicious...things. I guess I'll call them cookies. They were SO good. When I asked him for the recipe, he said, "It's just saltine crackers covered with butter and brown sugar and chocolate." But I never got the recipe. And I never forgot those cookie things.
Fast forward to the day after Thanksgiving. I had borrowed my Mom's Lion House Christmas cookbook (which I call her at least once a week to get a recipe from - that or the Lion House Classics) to look through on the drive to Salt Lake. I was enjoying myself immensely reading over the recipes and imagining in my mind how good everything would taste, when BAM. I found Biff's recipe. Soda cracker cookies in the Lion House cookbook. My heart sang with gladness...after all those years, this delicious treat that had eluded me would finally be mine.
So tonight after dinner, while Eva played with Leighton in the living room, I made the soda cracker cookies.
Pause. Why must there be a story behind everything I cook? Why can't I ever just cook something without it being a big fiasco? Why can't I be more like normal people? I guess it's so that all you foodically challenged blog readers can feel a little more confident in the kitchen. I just made up that word foodically, and I think I like it. I think I'll use it again someday. Resume story.
I lined up the 35 saltines close together on the greased and foiled pan. preheated the oven to 350. I melted the 1 c. butter and 1c. packed brown sugar in a pan, brought it to a boil, and stirred constantly while it boiled for 2 1/2 minutes. It reminded me alot of making caramels and toffe, actually. Except a LOT faster. Then I poured the mixture on top of the crackers and put it in the oven for 5 minutes. Ran to the pantry to get our 2 c. of chocolate chips. WHAT? I don't have enough chocolate chips?? How can that be? How can I, Stephanie Webb, be out of chocolate? I had one cup. Panicking, I rummaged around in my impeccably organized pantry and managed to find a half package of semi-sweet baking squares. Then I stood there with a knife trying to chop them up before the buzzer dinged and it was time to take the cracker pan out and sprinkle the chocolate on top. Chopping, chopping, trying to get those fatty squares to the same size as my smattering of semi-sweet and fully sweet chips. Wait, why isn't the buzzer dinging? I swear it's been 5 minutes...oh CRAP. I didn't set a timer. Of course. Leave it to me.
I checked the pan. What is it supposed to look like? The caramel was all bubbly...I'll give it one more minute. Chop, chop, chop. I took out the caramel crackers and sprinkled my chocolate chips and chunks on top. Unevenly, of course. I wouldn't want it to look presentable or anything. When they had melted sufficiently, I spread them on top. There wasn't enough to go all the way to the edges, so it looked pretty homely. Then I topped it with some chopped pecans. I should have used walnuts, but I didn't want to dig in the pantry again.
So here I sit with the whole pan of ugly cookie things on my lap. They are pretty good. They are not as good as I remember Biff's being. The caramel is a little too hard, and I wish I had used all fully-sweetened chocolate chips. Just because I'm a fully sweet kind of gal. But you can't really go TOO wrong with chocolate and caramel. I'll probably make them again.
So thank you Biff, for inspiring me all those years ago to make this treat tonight, which is only making me fatter. And by the way, I forgive you for that time when you were the emcee at the Miss BYU-Idaho pageant and you said that I enjoyed croquet instead of crochet, like the paper said. Because really, crocheting is no cooler than croqueting so it doesn't matter in the end.