I was thinking about baking traditions. Usually around Christmas time people like to get nostalgic and partake in rituals like baking the same things that they did last year. Funny how fine the line is between rituals and repetitive behaviour (dementia?) Sigh, consistency is so comforting.
Anyway, I came to a somewhat sad realization: my parents didn’t really bake much when I was little – at best, there was the occasional use of muffin mix….when it went on sale.
I guess that’s why I turned out to be a mousy weirdo who reads cookbooks like novels and plans meals in her head while waiting at the bus stop.
However, after further thinking, I did remember a recipe that I learned in my rosy-tinged childhood – it wasn’t from my parents, but from a friend. It was called, “Sex on a Platter” – so exciting when I first heard of it (sex? Mysterious! Intriguing! Baby making?! Oh my!), but with the greying effect of experience, I realize now it’s not that titillating, and at best, tawdry. (Soda crackers? Clearly a grandmother came up with this one.) It is still a good recipe, but I would rename it so that the build-up isn’t so great that the end result is anticlimactic (which similarly wouldn’t be very desirable in the bedroom either). Though “Caramel and Chocolate Covered Soda Crackers” doesn’t have quite the same zeal, albeit, near scientific accuracy.
Anyway, here it is! For now we’ll call it, “Another Dessert,” until a more imaginative (but not misleading, no no) title comes to mind.
Some soda crackers
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
Some toasted nuts (cashews, for instance)
Sea salt or kosher salt
Pour water into a little saucepan and add sugar on top. Heat gently to dissolve sugar. You are making a caramel. It’s going to be fantastic to watch the transformation of crystalline to amorphous. Let it boil and bubble until it becomes a golden colour. This will take a while so you can busy yourself with lining a baking pan with foil and then placing one tight-knit layer of soda crackers on top. Keep an eye on the sugar, because once it starts to get a bit of colour, it’ll get dark very quickly. Don’t stir it, because you don’t want the sugar to crystallize (I could explain why, but I don’t want to bore you. Ask me later.) Once the caramel is ready (careful, it’s really bloody hot) quickly pour it evenly over the crackers. Sprinkle over some chocolate chips and pop the whole lot into the oven and broil for a couple of minutes to melt the chocolate. Smooth the chocolate out with a spatula, and then sprinkle over the nuts and a pinch of salt (the salt was not part of the original recipe, but an attempt to bring it into a new era since sweet/salty flavouring is so sexy right now). Let it cool and then peel off the foil and cut or break the Dessert into appropriate serving sizes (you can decide). Bring to a dinner party (serve on a platter, of course) and have jolly laughs over the origin of the recipe.