Tuesday, May 13, 2008
If You're Anything Like Me
If you are anything like me, you probably bought way, way too much matzoh for Passover this year, as you do every year. If you’re also anything like me, you don’t really even like matzoh all that much. If you’re nothing like me, then I suggest you go to the store right now and buy up whatever matzoh might still be hanging around the shelves on super sale, because what follows is pure deliciousness.
I usually use Passover as an excuse to eat a pretty piss-poor diet for a week. Yes, there will be a salad in there every once in a while, but for the most part, it’s all eggs, meat, potatoes; cholesterol, fat and sodium. It’s also a time to play around with some desserts. I’ve said it before: I’m not the biggest dessert person out there. Ice cream, yes please, any day. Cakes, eh. But once a challenge is posed to make something deliciously sinful without flour, well that’s when it gets fun.
The following recipe has everything you’d possibly want in a real treat. It is crunchy, crackly, sweet and salty. But beyond all that, it is addictively amazing. It’s incredibly easy, takes no real effort, and leaves you with an incredible amount of chocolate-caramel covered matzoh. I found myself pawning it off on friends, who were, to say the least, not displeased with the copious amounts of chocolate covered matzoh that had been forced upon them.
Everything in this candy works incredibly well together. I can usually eschew chocolate rather easily, and caramel is often too sweet for my blood, but this, this I could not physically pass without reaching in for some more. But I would only take little, teensy pieces, because, you know, it’s not bad for you that way. Or at least that’s what this candy required I convince myself was true.
The chocolate covered matzoh you can buy pre-made usually tastes pretty bad. The matzoh is still matzoh, bland, flavorless and always almost stale. Simply putting chocolate above something that doesn’t really taste too good to begin with isn’t going to all of a sudden make it taste amazingly. But add a half-pound of butter, an equal amount of sugar, nuts and some salt, it’s a whole new ballgame. The caramelization moves the matzoh into wow-territory, giving it a real bite and crunch, well beyond the feeble excuse for crispiness with which it is usually endowed. By the time Passover was over, I had made about four batches of this stuff, and I am impressed with my self-restraint in refusing to make any more since the holiday has ended.
David Lebovitz’s Chocolate-Caramel Covered Matzoh
Recipe also here
The matzoh burned for me at 375 degrees, so I started my oven at 350 and lowered it if I caught it starting to get too dark, which was almost each time. I really enjoyed stowing these in the fridge and eating them cold.
4-6 sheets plain, unsalted matzoh
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract (NOTE: if you happen to make this for Passover next year, be advised that not everyone considers vanilla to be Kosher for Passover. Since the vanilla ferments in the production of extract, it poses a potential problem for this holiday usage)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (Note: if making for Passover, make sure that your chocolate doesn't have corn syrup in it)
Toasted, chopped pecans
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, ensuring that the sheet is completely covered and the foil is wrapped around the edges of the pan. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the foil. (NOTE: I forgot to use parchment every time I made the recipe; oops! The foil only stuck once to a teensy part of the matzoh, so I didn’t cry over the piece I threw away)
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the butter and sugar until the butter is melted, stirring frequently until the mixture begins to boil. Allow the mixture to boil for about three minutes, stirring constantly.
4. Remove caramel from heat and add salt and vanilla. Pour the caramel over the matzoh and spread evenly to coat using a heatproof spatula.
5. Put pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. If it starts to burn, remove the pan, lower the heat to 325 and then replace the pan.
6. Remove from oven after 15 minutes and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread the chocolate over the matzoh with a spatula.
7. Sprinkle with sea salt, pecans, or whatever else you so desire.
8. Let cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container. I like mine in the fridge.