“Because I grew up on the Adelaide Plains, Christmas to me is always a time of blistering heat. And dust. And driving from A to B, and then to C, and falling asleep in the car on the way home. Christmas dinner was always at Grandma and Grandpa’s place. We’d all turn up at around nightfall, and Grandma always put out a bowl of beer nuts and sultanas, mixed together. Was this a thing generally in the 1970s? I cannot taste those two things together without thinking of Grandma.”
Recipe: Salted Caramel Crack
1 x 250g pack of Salada biscuits
185g (1 cup) soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
generous pinch of salt
200g dark chocolate, chopped
50g slivered pistachios
15g dried raspberries
Rummage through your baking trays to find one that will fit three Salada crackers in one direction and four in the other. You can of course snap them to fit if you can’t find quite the right tray, but this is the surface area you’re after. Line your baking tray with foil and then baking paper, and lay out the Saladas in a single layer.
To make the caramel, melt the butter and sugar together in a saucepan, over medium heat, then cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. The caramel should be thick and gloopy, and bubbling away sullenly. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Take the caramel off the heat and quickly pour it all over the Saladas. Smooth with an offset palette knife or spatula, if you have one; if you don’t, get one immediately – for real, it will change your life. (This would be an awesome time to remember that you forgot to preheat the oven. All is not lost: jack it up quickly – 180°C/160°C fan, okay?)
Now, into the oven with the lot for 15 minutes, or until the caramel has darkened to a deep gold. Keep an eye on it, as it can quickly turn. When it’s a good dark colour, remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle the chocolate over the toffee. As the chocolate melts, use your spatula to spread it out evenly – this is extremely satisfying. While the chocolate is still soft, sprinkle over the pistachios and raspberries.
Allow your salted caramel “crack” to cool (not in the fridge, please), then snap into pieces and store in an airtight container.
This version is tarted up with some festive pistachio slivers and dried raspberries – you could use any sort of nuts. Or use half dark, half white chocolate and swirl to mix! I’ve also had good results with Schär gluten-free crackers.
For pudding club, I would dole out bowls of bought ice cream with a couple of crack shards stuck in like wafers.
>> This recipe was first published in Ed#576.
Credit: Images and recipes from Special Guest by Annabel Crabb and Wendy Sharpe, Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99
Photography: Rob Palmer.