Passover: a Seder and a Sundae
I am trying to calm my excitement while I write this post. Passover begins tonight at sundown, Wednesday April 8th. This is the Jewish holiday best known for its rule against eating leavened foods. (Sounds pretty exciting, huh?!) In their place, we eat paper thin, square sheets of matzoh, made from just flour and water, baked for 18 minutes – and not a second longer. You can eat just about everything on these matzoh, think of them like crackers – salted butter, cream cheese and lox, fruit jam, etc. I remember, as a child, making grilled cheese matzoh sandwiches and matzoh tuna melts, while my sister’s favorite was matzoh pizza. There are people who love matzoh and eat it all year round. I’m part of that group, especially when I’m being served my Grandfather’s matzoh brei – fried matzoh with eggs, pretty much the Passover equivalent of French toast or scrambled eggs and matzoh. Even more, I’m especially a member of that group when said matzoh is hidden beneath layers of golden butter caramel and creamy dark chocolate.
Seems that nowadays, there are lots of recipes and versions of matzoh buttercrunch around, the deliciously irresistible dessert that transforms matzoh into a light and crispy, delectably sweet, chocolate covered concoction. I make it every year, and this year is no exception. It’s real simple, fast and everyone loves it, Jews and non-Jews alike. I always use dark chocolate, but sometimes drizzle that with milk or white chocolate as well, for a fun presentation. This time it was mocha matzoh buttercrunch. I used a bar of dark chocolate made with crushed coffee beans. But that’s not why I am so excited.
Listen up, here’s the best part. It comes after you make the dessert. You’ve cooked the caramel to a golden and bubbly mixture. You’ve poured that over your sheets of matzoh, that fit together like a puzzle on your baking sheet. You’ve baked that and drizzled chocolate all over it. You’ve spread the melted chocolate, so that not a trace of matzoh or caramel is visible. You’ve sprinkled it with sea salt (Maldon being my salt of choice here). You’ve even let that cool before cutting it into small squares or irregular chunks. Ok, so you stole a piece to taste too. Now… get ready. What is left before you is a baking sheet with parchment paper and a whole mess of crumbs. YES! That’s it, that’s the very best part!! Tiny little pieces of caramel and chocolate and matzoh crumbs. Don’t even think of throwing this all away. Rather, go ahead, bunch some up with your fingers and taste it. Better yet, grab a spoon.
Best of all, serve yourself a bowl of ice cream. I happened to have a pint of coffee ice cream, my favorite. Pour the chocolately, caramelized matzoh crumbs all over it, and you will have just prepared yourself the most delicious ice cream sundae ever. You’ll be wishing it were Passover all year round.
I’ve got tons of ideas for next year already… I’m thinking, forgo my traditional squares of matzoh buttercrunch. I may just serve individual ice cream sundaes instead. What will you be doing with your matzoh??
Either way, wishing those who celebrate, to you and your families, a very happy Passover !
Mocha Matzoh Buttercrunch
2-3 sheets of matzoh
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (85 grams) light brown sugar
1 cup (100 grams) chopped chocolate, coffee flavored
handful of Maldon salt crystals (or other large grain sea salt)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with tin foil and then parchment paper on top of that. (Facilitates clean up later!) Lay 2 sheets of matzoh side by side and break extra pieces of another to fit like a puzzle, as evenly as possible.
Combine butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Cook another minute or two, while continuing to stir. Remove from heat and pour over matzoh. Smooth over matzoh and spread to all edges.
Bake for 13-15 minutes, checking every now and then to make sure the caramel is not burning. (You can always lower the oven further to 325 F/165 C).
Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate over caramel. Wait a few minutes for it to melt, and then spread evenly. Sprinkle flakes of salt. Let sit for another few minutes, then while still warm, break into squares or odd shapes. Keep in the refrigerator.
Oh, and don’t forget those crumbs!