Get Baked for Passover: Matzo Caramel Crunch

It’s Passover time! Every year around Passover my mother sends my brother and I a series of emails asking about our plans for seder, phrased in the style of somebody who assumes we have plans for seder. It’s sort of cute because for the last ten years I’ve not once had plans for seder, yet every year she begins the conversation anew, awash with optimism about the quality of my personal Judaism. This year was no exception, which is just to say that I have absolutely no recipes of my own to offer you, but guess who does? My Jewish Lesbian Mother! Aren’t we lucky ducks?


 

Matzo Caramel Crunch (Dairy, Passover)

This has become my new ‘must bring to Seder’ dessert, usurping Riese’s childhood favorite, Banana Sponge Cake. Keeping Kosher (observance of the Jewish Dietary Laws) on a daily basis can be challenging, and during Passover there are additional laws and restrictions.

This recipe is considered a “Dairy” recipe because I use butter rather than a margarine sans any dairy ingredients. I use “Kosher for Passover” chocolate chips, but any semi-sweet chips can be used. The basic ingredients can be altered here and there, but the prep work and the timing is really important. For example, I’ve tried to cut corners with prepping the cookie sheet and I now have one less cookie sheet

Prep Time: 10 min. Cook Time: 15 min. Total Time: 25 min.

1

Enough matzos to cover the bottom of a jelly pan, (1/2 a box)
1/2 pound butter (much preferred over pareve margarine)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or almonds)
2 cups (or enough to cover the matzos) chocolate chips

Preparation:

1. Cover a large jellyroll pan with aluminum foil. Spray well and line with parchment paper.

2. Lay matzos flat in the prepared pan. Be sure the entire pan bottom is covered with matzo, trimming matzo if necessary. (this is the trickiest part for the spatial-relationship-challenged)

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3. Combine butter and sugar in a pot on the stovetop. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. (This gets really really hot, not a good time to have a small child helping you stir the pot)

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4. Pour butter-sugar mixture over matzos. (quickly! It hardens as it cools) (licking the spoon can cause loss of tastebuds on the tongue. Just saying …)

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Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning.

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5. Sprinkle chocolate chips over hot brittle.

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Let the chocolate melt, and then spread with a knife.

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6. Top with chopped nuts. (I leave some of it nut-less for those with nut allergies)

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7. Refrigerate.

8. Break into pieces and serve.

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Riese is the 33-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1763 articles for us.

24 Comments

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      It varies depending on how you practice your Judaism, but for the most part no wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats, as well as unleavened bread (hence matzo!). Anything that comes in contact with these forbidden grains is considered not kosher.

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      A pretty good run-down from Google: “In addition to avoiding leavened bread, Jews are also supposed to avoid foods made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats – unless those foods are labeled “kosher for Passover.” The reason these grains can be eaten under some circumstances is that the rabbis determined foods containing these grains must be cooked in 18 minutes or less in order to be considered kosher for Passover. They felt that was just enough time to prevent any natural leavening in the grains from making food rise. “Kosher for Passover” foods are made with flour that is specifically prepared for Passover consumption and are usually made under the supervision of a rabbi.” Additionally: ”
      “What Is Kosher for Passover?”

      Matzah
      Getty Images/Nancy R. Cohen
      See More About

      passover
      pesach
      jewish holidays

      Observing Passover requires a certain amount of knowledge when it comes to kosher do’s and don’ts. In addition to eating matzah during your seder, Jews are prohibited from eating leavened bread during the entire week of Passover. A number of specific foods are also off limits.

      This article will provide a brief overview of what foods should be avoided during Passover, but should not be taken as a definitive guide – if you have specific questions about Passover kashrut, it’s always best to check with your rabbi.
      Passover Chametz

      In addition to avoiding leavened bread, Jews are also supposed to avoid foods made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt or oats – unless those foods are labeled “kosher for Passover.” The reason these grains can be eaten under some circumstances is that the rabbis determined foods containing these grains must be cooked in 18 minutes or less in order to be considered kosher for Passover. They felt that was just enough time to prevent any natural leavening in the grains from making food rise. “Kosher for Passover” foods are made with flour that is specifically prepared for Passover consumption and are usually made under the supervision of a rabbi.

      All five of these forbidden grains are collectively called “chametz.” (Pronounced ha-mets.)
      Passover Kitniot

      In the Ashkenazi tradition there are additional foods that are usually forbidden during Passover. These foods are called “kitniot” (pronounced kit-neeh-oat) and include: rice, millet, corn and legumes like beans and lentils. These foods are off limits because the rabbis determined they violated the principle of ma’arit ayin. This principle means that Jews should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. In the case of Passover, kitniot can be ground up and cooked with like flour, so they should be avoided.

      In Sephardic communities kitniot are eaten during Passover. It is also not uncommon for vegetarians who identify as Ashkenazi Jews to follow the Sephardic tradition during Passover – it’s tough to be a vegetarian during Passover if chametz and kitniot are off the table!”

  1. Thumb up 3

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    I haven’t had bread in days and I’m nearing meltdown mode, but this helped a bit. that and manischewitz’s ~tasteful and wonderful~ alcoholic products

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    This is one of my favourite pesach treats. I also add a bit of vanilla extract to it (right after heating the butter and sugar on the stovetop – careful, it kinda explodes a little bit as the alcohol in the vanilla extract burns off!) and a teensy bit of sea salt. Dried fruit or candied orange are great as garnishes too…

    For those who eat egg matzo, using that makes it even richer :)

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        It is!!! It’s so flexible, too. I have been known to make it when it isn’t even passover – matzo is more versatile than people think.

        Other toppings on my list of things to try include various savoury spices…chillies, paprika…

        If it weren’t for the bringing-food-over-the-border issue I’d bring some along to A-Camp. Or…will there be a kitchen at A-Camp? We can have a hands-on get baked!

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    guys i am a really bad practicing jew and i don’t keep passover so i’ve been eating bread all week but this makes me want to actually go buy some matzah and make this…that’s normal, right??

    thank you, riese’s mom!

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    Thank you for posting this recipe. My first foray in using matzo as an ingredient, I made it for my Easter table, and it was hugely successful! The instructions were excellent. I doubled the amount of nuts (pecans) and lightly toasted them before sprinkling them on the chocolate layer. Next time, I’m going to add some shredded coconut. ~Grateful Gentile

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