Yesterday afternoon was the second annual Bloggers without Borders Holiday Cookie Swap at Hill Country Barbecue to benefit WhyHunger. While I agonized over what to make, Mom (ever the genius) had a plan — it started in the candy aisle of her grocery store and ended with a bag of caramel Hershey’s Kisses. Thus the idea for these Chocolate-Caramel Saltines was born. As you might expect (and as many have commented), these are highly, highly addictive. And so easy to make.
For the second year in a row, the Holiday Cookie Swap was held at Hill Country Barbecue in New York City. Elizabeth Karmel (pictured top right with Mom) is the best hostess a group of food-lovin’ bloggers could ask for: hands down the best barbecue in town, tables of sweet treats, margaritas and Bloody Mary’s, and even a little gift on our way out the door. And, of course, she’s got enough space for scores of bloggers and all their cookies! We could not be more grateful to Elizabeth and her welcoming staff for hosting us. If you haven’t yet been to Hill Country Barbecue, put it on your list of must-try restaurants in New York City. Their corn pudding is nothing short of life-changing.
Every year the inimitable Gail Dosik of One Tough Cookie steals the show with her mindbogglingly awesome cookies. This year her creations were Texas-themed and included cowboys, cacti, 10-gallon hats, and boots! Not surprisingly, these were the first cookies to go.
I also loved that this year Abby Dodge has changed the name of her Coconut Caramel Macadamia Squares to “Sharon’s Wedding Cookies”. The inside joke is that mom loved these so much at last year’s swap, she begged Abby for the recipe before the release of her cookbook so that she could make them for Sharon’s wedding (that story and Abby’s recipe HERE).
We also had the likes of these beautiful sandwich cookies from Michelle Jaffee at Sweet & Simple, a gorgeous table of gluten-free offerings, and your classic Brown Butter / Brown Sugar M&M Cookies from Tara at Chip Chip Hooray!
We drank margaritas, ate barbecue, stuffed ourselves with homemade cookies, and best of all, we did it for a great cause. While we enjoy this time of year, millions and millions of people in the United States and around the world lack access to healthy, nourishing food.
Bloggers without Borders concluded their three-month partnership with the New York-based non-profit, WhyHunger, with this fundraiser. WhyHunger believes that the root cause of hunger is poverty, and that the root cause of poverty is powerlessness. This problem of hunger can’t be solved by providing people with cans and calories. Everyone deserves the right to nutritious, affordable food. Thus, WhyHunger works to end global poverty and hunger by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment. Working with over 8,000 community-based organizations in 15 countries, WhyHunger is a leader in the development of solutions to the fight against hunger. This holiday season, please consider supporting the important work WhyHunger do year-round: DONATE HERE.
Makes 2 dozen
If you like, you can coat the crackers with bittersweet and then drizzle with melted white chocolate. To get the white chocolate soft enough to drizzle, whisk in a few drops of vegetable oil.
6 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons sugar
24 saltine crackers
4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
24 Hershey’s Kisses filed with Caramel, foils removed
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, line a 13- by 9-inch rimmed baking sheet with a sheet of heavy-duty foil, leaving an overhang on the two long sides to facilitate removal. Spray foil with vegetable cooking spray. Arrange 24 crackers close together in prepared pan.
Pour butter mixture over crackers, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake until butter-sugar mixture starts to harden and crackers are caramel colored, 8 to 10 minutes.
Scatter white chocolate over hot crackers and let stand until soft. Use a spatula to evenly spread chocolate over the crackers. Transfer crackers to a wire rack to cool to lukewarm. Place empty baking sheet under crackers; top each cracker with a Hershey’s Kiss. Using fork tins, drizzle dark chocolate over crackers. Freeze to set. (Can be covered and frozen for a couple of weeks.) Serve!