Easter Praline Crackle
Easter & Spring Easy Sweet Treat
Easter Praline Crackle is my easy and quick recipe, for a Spring version of Praline Crackle. Known as Christmas Crack in the US, I want to make this popular in the UK too. It's so simple to make, tastes great and you can add any sprinkles or extra toppings you like.
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What Is Praline Crackle?
Praline Crackle (Saltine Toffee/Christmas Crack), is basically a sweet treat, popular in American & consisting of 3 layers. Base layer being salty crackers, second layer praline that is made from cooking butter and dark brown sugar, and then the top layer of chocolate, with optional sprinkles. It is left to set hard and then either cut or cracked into pieces and enjoyed.
How To Make Praline Crackle
The process for making this, is super simple. You firstly prepare everything before starting (Mise en place) as you need to be quick with some steps. Starting off with lining the baking tray/sheet well. The crackers are then placed onto the prepared tray, to neatly fit together.
Butter & dark brown sugar is then melted and cooked a little on the stove, while you melt chocolate. The cooked sugar and butter mixture (praline), is then poured on top of the crackers, immediately followed by the melted chocolate and sprinkles, before chilling to set.
Why The Name Change?
American names for this easy sweet treat include – Christmas Crack, Christmas Crack Toffee, Cracker Toffee, Saltine Toffee, Christmas Cracker Candy & Cracker Candy. The most popular name being Christmas Crack.
For obvious reasons, I wanted to name these something different and went with Praline Crackle, when I had the Christmas version on my old website in 2018. Praline for what holds the crackers together, and Crackle for the way you can just crack it into pieces.
But I was craving this easy recipe recently and wanted to not only bring it to the UK for others to enjoy, but also to have all year round. So Easter and Spring themed, seemed the perfect opportunity and hence the name Easter Praline Crackle.
Notes On The Ingredients
Easter Praline Crackle is made up of just 7 ingredients – butter, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, crackers, chocolate and sprinkles (optional).
What Kind Of Crackers To Use?
You can use any kind of cracker is available to you. In the states they tend to use saltine crackers. I have used several different kinds of crackers we have here in the UK. Jacobs’ larger square crackers (all their varieties work well), are ideal is they fit much better into the baking tray/sheet. That said you can still use round crackers too. You just need to break some up to fill in the gaps. And because the praline crackle will be broken up once ready, using broken crackers is absolutely fine.
In the photo collage below, I show a few different layers, using different crackers, and last occasion, I made up from a mixture of different crackers and shapes. I have even used Rosemary crackers before that worked well. It’s a good way to use up left-over crackers if you bought the big box of Jacobs’ cracker at Christmas 🙂
How Many Crackers Are Needed?
Well depending on the type of crackers, their shape and the exact dimensions of the baking tray/sheet you use, the number needed will vary. I tend to see what crackers I have on hand, and do a test-run to see how many I need to fit in the tray.
Baking Tray/Sheet Size To Use
If using an American Jelly Roll Pan (15.5 x 10″ / 39 x 26.5cm), and using Saltine Crackers, you will need about 30 – 35 crackers. *Make sure depth is no smaller than 3/4″ or 2cm.
For a 25 x 37cm (9.95 x 14.5″) UK cookie tray, I usually need about 20 of the larger Jacobs’ square crackers. (From the Biscuits For Cheese range). For the smaller round ones (example being Aldi’s Specially Selected Gourmet Crackers – Rosemary or Sea Salt work well), about 30 are needed and there’s usually about 37 in a packet. I have also used Jacobs’ Cream Crackers too, and despite being a much softer cracker, with the praline and the baking, they still work well.
Notes On Chocolate
Better to use bars of chocolate than chocolate chips for this recipe, as chips can cause some problems (see trouble shooting tips below).
You also don’t need to buy special baking chocolate, tempered chocolate, or even high cocoa content chocolate. I always use Aldi’s Everyday Essentials range for all my baking. It is very inexpensive, and I find that if I want a rich chocolate taste, using the dark (plain/bitter) chocolate works great. If you are not keen on dark chocolate, I advise on using a combination of the dark and milk (semi-sweet) chocolate. Using just all inexpensive milk chocolate can well, not taste that great. You can go a 50/50 split, or even 75% dark.
For this Easter Praline Crackle, having a higher cocoa content (like in more premium bars of chocolate), can actually lead to the chocolate separating from the praline and crackers. So best avoided.
Ideal For Easter/Spring Gifting
This Praline Crackle is ideal for gifting this Easter or Springtime. Here is an example, with a pastel pink coloured basket, picked up from Poundland (UK) for £1. I also included a cute little egg decoration, made to look like a little bunny (see photo below). That was part of 4 pack that they had for £1 also. If you look closely, you can see the little hen-egg hiding at the back. Lots of cute little Easter and Spring decorations and mini eggs in just now. Previously I also purchased a 4 pack of mini birds’ nests and just swapped out the plastic eggs for some real mini chocolate eggs (see previous photo, in front of the basket).
Use some tissue paper to fill the bottom of the basket (a little trick if you want more padding before you add your gift items, is to fill with some crumpled newspaper, before placing the tissue paper on top. Then add in your gifts, having them standing upright. I like to use a big roll of clear cellophane to wrap my gift baskets, and tie at the top, with a bow and some ribbon.
See some examples in my Last Minute Home Made Christmas Treats article.
Be sure to write on the food gift tags, what each thing is, if there are any nuts etc in it, and how to store.
Trouble Shooting Praline Crackle
Here are some tips for avoiding problems with your Easter Praline Crackle.
Have the crackers ready and waiting for the layer of praline to be poured on top. Don’t wait for cooling as it will harden really quickly and make pouring on to the crackers very difficult. If however, this happens and is too thick to even spread on, pop the pan of praline back on the stove, on the lowest heat, and mix till it starts to thin down and is workable.
Same goes for the baked praline and crackers. As soon as it’s out of the oven, add on the melted chocolate and spread as quickly as you can. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth and if covering, nobody will see. Just ensure you get all the way into the corners.
If you are having problems spreading the chocolate on, or it seems to be separating, either melt the chocolate more, or if already on top of the crackle praline layer, pop in the oven (while it’s switched off), for a few minutes until the chocolate melts. Then spread out as best you can.
Have the sprinkles or whatever you want to add, ready before you start. They need to be added as soon as you spread the chocolate on, so that they will set in position.
Prevent the Layers From Separating
Avoid chocolate chips – these are designed not to melt and have a coating on them. This can cause a separation between the praline and chocolate once set.
Avoid high cocoa content chocolate – this sets harder and so can have a tendency to cause separation.
Ensure completely melted and timed to be ready when the praline cracker layer is coming out of the oven.
Tips For Setting Quicker
As soon as you have topped the praline crackle, pop the tray in the fridge for about 1 hour. You can also leave out somewhere if it’s quite cold (at Christmas, I had 2 trays, with clean tea-towels on top, in the garage as it was quite cold. That only took about 1 hour but will depend on the temperature). Just don’t be tempted to place in the freezer, as this might cause the layers to separate.
Once the hour or so is up – I remove the paper and foil. And since it’s not been left over-night to set, I like to place on top of a clean sheet of baking/parchment paper, back into the tray, and into the fridge again for another 30 minutes. This just makes sure it’s completely set up for cutting. The chocolate will set quite quickly, but the praline layer takes a bit longer.
Customize Your Toppings
There is no reason why praline crackle should only be kept to Christmas, and so that’s why I made some for Spring. In fact you can customize for any season or occasion. Add sprinkles for a particular season or theme. All a certain colour scheme. Add favourites like chopped marshmallows, chopped nuts, dried fruits like cranberries. Absolutely anything goes. This is what makes it such a great recipe, where you can use up whatever you have in the cupboard.
You can even divide up the praline crackle with different toppings. Example being, if say it’s for a family of 3, and you all like different things. Well mentally divide the crackle into 3 sections, and add the 3 different toppings, one at a time, to each third.
Make In Smaller Trays & Making More
Another option, like I did at the holidays last year, was to make 2 trays, where the trays were slightly smaller. So for that I used my Maths skills (I studied Mathematics at Uni many many years ago), and calculated the area of the original tin and the 2 smaller ones. From that I increased the recipe by a certain ratio to have enough for the 2 smaller trays. (At the bottom of the recipe, I will also include these measurements and ingredient quantities in case anyone needs them).
See the recipe card below, with full instructions, which you can save, share or print, with or without the photos. Check out the cool feature – ‘Cook Mode’. This stops the screen on your phone going dark, if you are using it to follow the recipe, while baking.
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Now on to the recipe!
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Easter Praline Crackle
Easter Praline Crackle
- Measuring Spoons
- Scales or measuring cups
- Chopping Board
- Bowl for melting chocolate
- Medium sized cooking pot
- Baking spatula or wooden spoon
- Baking tray/sheet (25x37cm/9¾ x 14½", or a Jelly Roll/Swiss Roll Pan. Needs to be at least 2cm/¾" deep. See notes.)
- Baking or Cooking Spray for greasing (Frylight Spray, Cake release spray etc)
- Baking/parchment paper
- Tin Foil (aluminium foil)
- 220 grams Dark Brown Sugar (7¾ oz, 1 packed cup + 1 tbsp)
- 225 grams Butter, unsalted & cubed (7¾ oz, 1 cup, 2 sticks, see notes)
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (click for home made Vanilla Extract recipe)
- 250 grams Chocolate (mixture of Milk & Dark) (9 oz, semi-sweet & bitter/dark chocolate, combination of.)
- Packet of Crackers (Square or round, enough to cover your baking sheet/tray – see notes)
For The Topping (optional)
- Sprinkles (seasonal, or colour themed – optional)
- Small Easter eggs, marshmallows etc
- Begin by gathering all your ingredients in place (Mise en place). I usually try to recommend using the minimum number of bowls possible, but for this recipe, we have to be quick or problems can occur.
- This includes any sprinkles, mini eggs etc you want to use on the top. Have your chocolate broken up into pieces in a microwave safe bowl, with a spoon for mixing. Alternatively you can melt the chocolate on the hob on a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Have everything ready for melting when time comes.
- Before preparing the baking tin/pan, you want to gather your crackers and see how many you need and how you will position them. If you have all square ones, this won't take much or matter as much, but if using round ones, it's best to have an idea how you lay them out and break up pieces ready for filling gaps. Also, if it turns out you don't have enough crackers to fill the chosen baking tray/sheet, you can then use a slightly smaller one. If only slightly smaller, you can still keep the ingredients as they are.
- Heat your oven to: 180°c/160°c Fan Oven/360°f/Gas Mark 4, and try and time it so that it comes to temperature by the time you have taken the sugar/butter off the heat.
- Prepare the cake tin/pan by firstly greasing well, including up the shallow sides/edges. I use Frylight cooking spray, but Cake Release Spray, or even melted butter will work too. (See Photo 1 above). Then cover the entire tin/pan with tin foil/aluminium foil. Be sure to go all the way up the edges, folding the foil down over the outside. Push into position neatly. If your foil is not big enough, you can use 2 pieces – one horizontally and one vertically, ensuring all is covered. Follow that with more greasing like before. Then cut out a piece of baking/parchment paper to fit the bottom of the tin/pan. Place on top of the greased foil and follow that with more greasing. (See Photo 1 above). This ensures no paper or foil sticks to your praline, easy removal, as well as not ruining your baking tray/sheet. Place to the side.
Prepare The Praline
- Place the dark brown sugar and butter into a medium sized saucepan and place on the hob on a low-medium heat setting. See Photo 2 below. Allow the mixture to melt and break down, mixing occasionaly.
- Meanwhile, position your crackers in position on the prepared baking tray/sheet as planned. See Photo 3 below.
- Go back to the stove and let the sugar/butter mixture come to a boil and leave to cook down and thicken a little, for about 5 or 6 minutes. (See Photo 4 below)
Construct The Praline Crackle
- Immediately add the hot sugar/butter mixture (praline) to the prepared crackers. Pour over and spread out, covering all the crackers and allowing it to fall into any gaps. If the mixture has been left to cool too long this can be difficult. In which case, best to pop back on a low heat till it thins and slacken enough to be pourable. See Photo 4 above.
- Pop the cracker/praline layer into the heated oven and bake for 5 minutes.
- If using the microwave to melt your chocolate, you can do so while the praline was cooking on the stove top, or when in the oven. Microwave in 30 second bursts, mixing in-between each burst (no more than 30 seconds or you run the risk of burning and ruining the chocolate). Once melted, have ready to go. If using the stove top to melt the chocolate, do so at step 2 of Preparation. See Photo 5.
Topping The Praline Crackle
- After 5 minutes in the oven, the sugar/butter mixture, will be bubbling and very hot, so be careful. Remove from the oven and immediately pour/spoon the melted chocolate on top of the hot crackers. See Photos 6 & 7 below. Keep a little chocolate back, and proceed to spread the chocolate all over the praline layer into an even layer. Use the reserved small amount, to fill in any gaps.
- As soon as applying the chocolate layer, add any sprinkles, mini eggs etc that you would like to add as decoration now. The chocolate will set quite quickly, so you want to get them on quick to adhere better. You can leave as is with no sprinkles (I love that way), or divide it up and have a few different toppings, separate from each other. See Photo 7.
Chilling, Setting & Serving
- Place the Spring Praline Crackle in the fridge or somewhere cold, for about 1 hour minimum. The chocolate will set quick, but the praline takes longer. You can leave overnight if you like. After the one hour, turn the baking tray/sheet out onto a piece of baking/parchment paper, or clean worktop/counter. Greasing the tin before adding the foil, should mean it pops out easily.
- Remove the foil, and then carefully peel off the baking/parchment paper from the bottom of the praline crackle. See Photo 8 above. Clean your hands (it gets messy), and then add a new sheet of paper to the bottom of the baking tin/sheet, before flipping the praline crackle, back into the tin. Pop back in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Prepare an area that you can chop or break the praline crackle up on, or use a large enough chopping board. Then remove from the fridge and lift out. See Photo 9 above. If you want to just break it up by hand, you could just leave in the tin. I prefer to cut it into triangles, and get more pieces, making it ideal for sharing or gifting. Simply cut it into 6 strips width-wise, and then into 4 in the opposite direction, to make 24 squares. From there I just cut each square in half into a triangle, making 48 pieces. Don't worry if some break and don't all look the same. This is the idea, and where the crackle (crack) comes into the name. The idea originally was to just 'crack it into pieces', random shaped pieces. And they are now ready to enjoy!
Storing Spring Praline Crackle
- The praline crackle can be stored in the fridge or somewhere cold to keep the chocolate from softening too much. I prefer not to have any I am going to eat, being stored in the fridge as I prefer it a little softer. Just don't have anywhere particularly warm.
- Spring Praline crackle, stored in an airtight container in the fridge, can last up to 2 weeks. I gift the praline in little cellophane food bags, in with my food hampers for the holidays. Praline Crackle is often in my Christmas baked gifts, but you can give out any time of the year. Here is an example of an Easter gift hamper. I would just finish it off with gift tags on the home made foods, wrap it all in cellophane, and tie with a pretty bow. Be sure to write on the food gift tags, what each thing is, if there are any nuts etc in it, and how to store, **Just keep away from moisture that can soften the crackers. **
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