31 March 2010

slinging hash: matzoh toffee

Passover is upon us, and in my admittedly limited experience, only gentiles, and Jews of the Greatest Generation actually enjoy matzoh. It has a mouth feel reminiscent of cardboard, tears up the roof of your mouth, and, if that weren't insult enough, swallowing it feels like being stabbed in the esophagus. It is messy, leaving a trail of crumbs in its wake. The less said about the havoc it wreaks on one's digestive tract, the better.

I reached a new low this year when I pulled out the vacuum mid-seder to clean up the mess Sacha made by stomping a piece of matzoh to dust on the rug. I think he did it for the pure sensory joy, but it pretty well summed up my sentiments toward this contemptible cracker.

Aside from the occasional piece of matzoh brei, or slathered with butter and salt, the only redeeming thing I've found to do with matzoh is make matzoh toffee. Although I only discovered it last year, apparently this recipe has been around for eons.

It is salty, sweet, chocolaty, and crunchy; easy to make, impossible to resist. This is wicked, wicked stuff, it's only drawback being that it is very hard to resist. Were it not for the fact that you can substitute saltines for the matzoh, I'd be tempted to say this is good enough to lay in a supply of matzoh.

In keeping with my spirit, as opposed to letter of the law nature, I observe my own made-up dietary restrictions for Passover. I won't eat anything yeasted or risen, but see nothing wrong with rice, so call me Sephardic for a week. I usually make it through the week, on my makeshift rules, but this year, my heart's not in it, and I'm presently working on the assumption that where I'm concerned, when the matzoh runs out, Passover's over. Matzoh toffee disappears quickly, so I may speed this along by making a second batch.

Matzoh Toffee

4 to 5 pieces of matzo
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
generous pinch of kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the matzo in one layer on the baking sheet, breaking to fill the pan. 

In a large sauce pan, melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. When  mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional three minutes, stirrin, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat, add pinch of salt, and pour over the matzo, spreading an even layer with a heat-proof spatula.

Put the pan in the oven, then immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking frequently beginning at the 10 minute mark to make sure it doesn't burn. If it looks like it's starting to burn, turn heat down to 325.

Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips over the pan. Let sit for five minutes, spread the chocolate evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Let cool, break into pieces. I store this in the fridge, but room-temperature is also fine.

1 comment:

  1. Dagnabbit, if only I haven't given up chocolate for Lent! jo s.