Hometown Cooking with Barbara DeLeo

Hometown Cooking
Who doesn’t love cooking during the holiday season?

ME! That’s who. There’s something about the fact that everyone’s at home and hungry all the time that makes me more than happy to transfer the responsibility of keeping food in everyone’s bellies.

Down here in New Zealand we generally go to my parent’s house for Christmas and my mother likes to organise all the nibbly bits, but as my kids have gotten older they’ve increasingly wanted to contribute to the dinner table as well.

So last year when one of my ten year old twin boys asked me if he could make this recipe I said “Go for it.” And OMG, I can’t tell you how good this is. For some reason the salt and the sweetness of the caramel and the fruitiness of the cranberries and the crunch of the pistachios just join together to have a party in your mouth. It LOOKS festive too with the red and green and salt flakes like snow. (Can you tell that I’d eat the whole tray if no one was looking??)

From my family to yours I wish you a VERY happy holiday season and I do hope you get to try our Salted Caramel Cranberry Crunch.

Barbara DeLeo X

Barbara is the author of ‘Contract for Marriage’, ‘Dishing up Desire’, ‘Last Chance Proposal’ and ‘The Bouquet List’


100g (3 and 1/2 ozs) plain salted crackers such as Saltine/Salada
225g (8ozs) butter
¾ cup brown sugar
200g (7 ounces) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped
½ cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

Line a 22cm x 33cm shallow baking tray with baking paper.
Place the crackers in the base of the tray without overlapping, so they cover the base, breaking them to fit if required.

Melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring well until it boils and is combined. Remove from the heat and pour immediately over the crackers,
spreading it evenly over the top. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until bubbling all over and the caramel is starting to darken.

Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the chocolate, then return to the oven for a further minute until the chocolate has just melted enough to spread. Using a
spatula or palette knife, spread the chocolate evenly so it is smooth on the surface.

Sprinkle over the pistachios and cranberries and leave until the chocolate is set before cutting into pieces. Store the crackers in an airtight container for up to 1

Alternative toppings
Dried apricots and roasted hazelnuts
Crystallized ginger and roasted walnuts
Dried papaya or mango and roasted macadamia nuts




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