Matzah Minus the Meh
As most of you know, Passover is the time of year when Jews celebrate the liberation of the Israelites from slavery. Our ancestors had no time to leaven their bread before fleeing Egypt, so in their honor we forgo fluffy dinner rolls in favor of dry and flat matzah.
Now here’s what I don’t get – I love me some baguettes and brioches, but unleavened bread can be fantastic in its own right. Tortillas, flatbreads, crackers – none of these things need to rise, yet they are all way more delicious than simplistic and flour-heavy matzah. So yeah, I can handle unleavened bread, but why can’t we go with a more exciting variety? Naan? Roti? Ritz crackers? Wheat Thins? One of Rachael Ray’s crazy triscuit concoctions? What about pita? That one’s even Jewish. OK, so maybe I’m no rabbinical student, but as far as I can tell, each of these types of unleavened bread would make for an infinitely more exciting Seder table than matzah, without technically breaking the rules.
Many people claim to love matzah, but it’s more likely they really just love whatever tasty topping they put on matzah to cover up its meh flavor. Because it tastes like nothing, you can really put anything on it. There’s the grade-school-nostalgic peanut-butter-and-jelly matzah, the bagel-imitating everything matzah, even fancy-pants smothered-in-nutella matzah. In an attempt to unite my Irish and Jewish heritage, sometimes I spread an ample serving of Kerrygold over matzah. It’s delicious, but of course it’s really just the butter I love. There’s even a Passover game where the adults hide the matzah throughout the house and the kids spend the evening searching for it. Honestly, I think everyone’s hoping it never gets found.
Seriously people, if we ever want to be as big as the Christian holidays, we’re gonna have to come up with more than this second-rate Easter egg hunt. I mean, these people have Cadbury’s creme eggs for Christ’s sake – we can’t compete with that! I’m not trying to offend anyone, but it’s been a few thousand years now, and we really need to come up with a more exciting matzah.
Wait, wait, wait. Hold the phone. Forget everything I just said. I’m getting word that matzah can be made into candy. A-mazing.
Explanation after the jump.
I stumbled upon this recipe for Chocholate Caramel Matzah Crunch aka Matzah Crack over at The Kitchn. I basically doubled their recipe, and amped up the caramel quotient since I’m not the biggest chocolate-lover. Also, I felt it could use just a little more crunch, so I threw in a littler freezer action. Here’s my slightly modified version of their recipe:
– Preheat the oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with wax paper and spread sheets of matzah across each; breaking to fit when necessary.
– In a large sauce pan, melt two sticks of butter and 1 cup of brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the mixture reaches a boil, continue to cook for an additional three minutes, still stirring, until thickened and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and pour over the matzah, spreading an even layer with a heat-proof spatula.
– Put the baking sheets in the oven, then immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn. If it looks like it is starting to burn, turn heat down to 325.
– After 15 minutes, the toffee should have bubbled up and turned a rich golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle 1 bag of chocolate chips over the whole thing. Let sit for five minutes, then spread the now-melted chocolate evenly with a spatula.
– Let cool completely, then break into smaller pieces, store in an airtight container and place in the freezer overnight.
– The next day, if you haven’t already eaten all of the matzah pieces, return them to a baking sheet and cook up another batch of caramel.* Pour the caramel over the matzah, so that you now have a caramel-chocolate-caramel layered thing going on. Let this cool and put the pieces back in the freezer for another few hours.
Take that, Jesus Bunny.
*Food Blogger’s Inside Tip: Sometimes it can be embarrassing to write up a recipe that is overly unhealthy, so you’ll have to move your text around a bit. For example, if you end up using four sticks of butter, just write, “two sticks of butter,” and then later in the recipe write, “repeat.” No one will ever know the difference!