"Sweet" Holiday Memories

Author: Kelly McHugh-Stewart

The friendships made within a military community are unlike any other. Growing up on U.S. Army posts across the country, I was fortunate to make friends all over the world. Moving here to there, none of us Army Brats had regular "hometowns;" rather, each post we were stationed at became our hometown, and with every new friendship came a close bond. 

Even after my dad's death in 2010, the traditions and friendships we made as an Army family remained strong. Today, this recipe serves as a reminder of that simple fact — and every time I make it, it reminds me of my military roots.

Kelly and Dad

Christmas Cracker Candy

My mom got this recipe from an Army spouse friend who got it from another Army spouse friend. It's delicious, yes, but in addition to that, it also brings back all the "sweet" memories of growing up among what I consider to be one of the best communities in the world. 


Christmas Cracker Candy



  • 1 sleeve of saltine crackers
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 12-ounce bag of peanut butter chips
  • 1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 9x13 baking dish with tin foil, then line it with saltine crackers so the entire bottom of the pan is covered.
  • Melt the butter and sugar together in a medium-sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. Continue to  cook, stirring frequently for another 3 to 5 minutes,  until the mixture comes to a boil and starts to darken.
  • Pour the hot brown butter and sugar mixture over the top of the saltine crackers and spread evenly to coat them all.
  • Pour the bag of peanut butter chips evenly over the top of  the crackers and put the pan in the oven for 5 minutes or until the peanut butter chips are melted.
  • Remove from the oven and use a spatula to spread the melted chips evenly over the crackers.
  • Once the peanut butter chips are spread, pour the bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips over top and place the pan back in the oven for 5 more minutes, until the chocolate chips are melted.
  • Using your spatula, spread the melted chocolate chips evenly over the peanut butter. Let the pan cool entirely before putting it in the freezer to harden (about 3-5 hours).
  • Once completely frozen, remove from the freezer, remove from the glass pan, and use a knife to break the candy into small pieces.


Have a recipe to share?

Special recipes have a way of bringing families and friends together, especially during the holiday season, and these recipes take on new meaning when they’re connected to a loved one you’ve lost. Just the aroma of a certain cookie in the oven can bring to mind fun, flour-coated memories in the kitchen. That first taste of a favorite holiday dish your loved one requested year after year can bring a warm wave of comfort on even the coldest winter’s day.

Recipes and memories are best shared, and TAPS wants to hear both! Email editor@taps.org with your recipe, a memory of your loved one you connect to it, and any photos you’d like to share with your TAPS family. We would love to feature it in next year’s TAPS Magazine Winter issue.

Kelly McHugh-Stewart is the surviving daughter of Colonel John McHugh, U.S. Army and TAPS External Communications Manager.

Photos courtesy of Kelly McHugh-Stewart