I have been on the road for much of the last two weeks. So, when Saturday morning arrived, I settled into my kitchen to start a little baking. It finally felt like Christmas.  There seems to be a basic rhythm to our family holiday. A few parties that hit the same date on the calendar every year. There are a couple of mad dashes to the shops, the outside lights go up, the trees get trimmed and then rush to get the Christmas cards addressed. There are a few skipped beats now that three of the kids are at university but for the most part the season has its own playlist that keeps us tapping our toes the entire month of December. There is however one deliciously sweet and simple treat that has become the annual chart topper for my kids. As soon as the first pan comes out of the oven Christmas has officially arrived.

I can’t remember where I found this recipe. I think I have been making it every Christmas for at least 15 years. We call it “Bretton Brittle” because we use the crackers by the same name as the base. They make a gluten free version as well so Celiacs and gluten sensitive don’t have to miss out on this one! There are four basic ingredients: crackers, butter, brown sugar and chocolate chips. That’s it. You can sprinkle to the top with crushed nuts or candy cane but my crew likes it just as it is.  I think there are a few different versions out there and I once heard someone call it Christmas Crack because it is so addictive and the reason why I only make it at Christmas time!

Christmas Cadence

I gift this treat to lots of family and friends over the holiday.  For the next week and a half leading up to the big day I keep stocked up on ingredients and gift boxes so I can have a little treat ready to share if guests stop by or to bring along as a host gift.

As you head into the final days of the holiday season I hope you finds your own Christmas Cadence and the rhythm of what makes you happy fills your heart and brings you and your family joy.


  • Bretton Crackers, original or gluten free
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1.5 cups of chocolate chips


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a 9×13 pan with foil.  Line your crackers up on the bottom of the pan.  You will get four across.  They will over-lap a little.  Set aside.
  3. Using a medium saucepan melt 1 cup of butter and 1 cup brown sugar over low heat.  Once melted increase temperature to medium heat and bring butter and sugar mixture to a boil for a couple of minutes. Keep stirring.
  4. Pour over crackers and place in oven.  Bake until bubbles start to form, about ten minutes.
  5. Remove and pour 1.5 cups of chocolate chips on top.  When melted take the back of a spoon and smooth chocolate.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  I usually leave mine in the fridge over night.
  6. When set. Remove from fridge.  Grabbing the edges of the foil lift the candy out of the baking pan, carefully pull foil away and place on a cutting board.  Give the candy a few minutes to before cutting into squares. 
  7. Place in container and keep in the fridge until ready to share!
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Crystal likes to think about her forays in journalism like interval training. " I have had a wonderful freedom to be home when I needed to be and work when the spirit moved me. In the spaces between I have learned things about myself, my family and my community that I hope will find a rightful place in the new and refreshed pages of At Home on the North Shore. "