First off, some apologies are in order. This Christmas I made “Nana’s Candy” from memory to give to some co-workers and neighbors. Then on Christmas Day my mother brought bags of her delicious candy to give to her children and grandchildren, as has been her tradition, and I noticed it tasted and looked a little different than mine. Then we started talking ingredients. Turns out I forgot a key one: sugar. I left sugar out of a candy recipe. I also shortchanged on the butter and bought the Toll House chocolate chips instead of her preferred Ghirardelli brand.
Some people can cook without following a recipe. I am not one of those people. My sister used to laugh when I set the timer to boil pasta. I like to measure; any advice to add a dollop of this, or a dash of that, is ultimately a recipe for disaster, or at least food that doesn’t taste as good as it could.
Shortly after our first daughter was born, I remember my utter panic when I asked the pediatrician for advice, and he said it’s up to me to decide what felt right. I can’t even remember the question, but was seeking definitive answers on how to care for this helpless infant completely dependent on us for everything. ‘Trust your instincts’ wasn’t one of them. YOU’RE THE EXPERT. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT TO DO. I eventually did learn to trust my gut as I navigated this motherhood thing. Most of the time I’m just winging it. But in the kitchen, I like rules.
Before I share the recipe, my mother wants to make sure everyone knows she didn’t invent it. There are many versions out there. And she also noted that it’s “not the healthiest thing in the world.” You would have figured that out for yourself. But the salt-sweet combination is delicious, and addictive. It has magical powers over me, like the trance-inducing Turkish Delight that The White Witch used to control her subjects in The Chronicles of Narnia. More than once, I have climbed out of a warm bed, late at night, because I craved one more piece of my mother’s candy before I drifted off to sleep.
Without further ado, here is the recipe:
1 sleeve of Saltine crackers
1 1/2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 12-ounce package of Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup crushed walnuts.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Arrange Saltines on cookie sheet.
In saucepan on low heat, combine butter and sugar, stirring occasionally, Once butter is completely melted, pour over Saltines, trying to distribute equally.
Then bake for 15 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and sprinkle crackers with chocolate chips.
Using plastic spatula, spread the melting chips out evenly over the crackers.
Then sprinkle walnuts on top.
Place cookie sheet in freezer for at least three hours; I left them in there overnight. Remove from freezer and break into small pieces.
You could create small bags of candy to give away on Valentine’s Day, or you could hide it and keep it all for yourself.
Nana approves of either approach.