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MY TRADEMARK, MOST REQUESTED, ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT CARAMEL MATZOH CRUNCH

Recipe background

An outstanding, unique, and easy confection.If you make only one thing at Passover, make it this one.

  • 4-6 unsalted matzoh boards or sheets
  • 1 cup unsalted butter or unsalted Passover margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed firm
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover bottom of pan with baking parchment - on top of foil. This is very important as mixture becomes sticky during baking. Line bottom of pan evenly with matzoh boards, cutting extra pieces of matzoh, as required, to fit any spaces on the cookie sheet as evenly as possible.

Combine margarine or butter and brown sugar in a 3 quart, heavy-bottomed, saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking 3 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour over matzoh.

Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 350 F. Bake 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove from oven, lower heat to 325 F, and replace)

Remove from oven and sprinkle matzoh boards immediately with chopped chocolate or chips. Let stand 5 minutes then spread melted chocolate over matzoh. While still warm cut into squares or odd shapes. Chill in refrigerator until set. This makes a good gift. You can also serve it in confectioners' paper cups as a candy.

VARIATION
You can also use white chocolate, coarsely chopped (or both white and dark) and chopped, toasted almonds (sprinkle on top as chocolate sets).




"MY TRADEMARK" CARAMEL MATZOH CRUNCH

About fifteen years ago I was in a Passover "rut". I made scores of cakes and laboured over all sorts of interesting Passover tortes and pastries. All tasty, but I noticed, as the Seder concluded, everyone was too full to do these desserts justice. I also noticed that people have a tendency to just nibble at sweets after a big meal. Small items had a real appeal. I wanted to make something modest but sweet and for a change, nut-free (since so many Passover treats have nuts). I also was looking for something that was egg-free as a change to offer family and seder guests.

Then I had it! For years, I had made a confection-like recipe that called for nothing but soda crackers, butter, and brown sugar. I believe I got the recipe from an old Farm Journal cookbook but noticed others seem to make the same recipe as well. Some people make a similar recipe using graham crackers. Now, I thought, what could I use to replace those soda crackers? And then it came to me - matzoh boards! How logical, how appropriate. I wondered at first if the matzoh would absorb the sugar and butter as could the soda crackers and happily, I found they did. When I discovered unsalted Passover margarine and kosher-for-Passover brown sugar, I knew I was in business.

Well, the resultant Caramel Matzoh Crunch, aka Matzoh Buttercrunch was an instant hit. It had the perfect one-two punch of ease of preparation and dynamite taste. I printed out copies and copies of it, each year, for friends in my community (I did by the way, credit Farm Journal and the soda cracker concept. Many times readers would write and inform me that the soda cracker version was their special family secret recipe - goes to show you that a good recipe does make the rounds). Each Passover feature I ever contributed to the many newspaper food sections I contributed to: it travelled from Montreal, to the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Buffalo News, Chicago Tribune, Toronto Star, the Detroit Free Press, the Vancouver Sun, and Newsday - and other places I probably don't even recall. I wrote many features on Passover - but the Passover Matzoh Buttercrunch became my legendary recipe.

Once a neighbor gave me a copy of the recipe (printed out on my own printer and photocopied umpteen times!) - unknowing that it emanated from me. I chuckled and told her that the recipe came from my Passover feature etc. etc. "Sure, she said, humouring me, "Sure, that's what they all say!". I have been flattered to see it in other people's cookbooks as well as on the Internet - although on this occasion, it is because I am happy to share with visitors at Kosher Express. I am thrilled to know I have been part of a new tradition. And I thank whoever it was who stumbled on the soda cracker idea. If I knew who you were, I would credit you by name. I would also share with you my version - who knows - maybe you also could also use an easy Passover recipe.

For the last few Passovers, I have made several batches of Caramel Matzoh Crunch, all intended for holiday gifts. To this day, not one batch has ever got that far. Everyone eats it first. Each year, I figure I will outsmart the appetites around me and make EVEN MORE.....but I have not caught up yet. In fact, all the matzoh intended for consumption during Passover week (like breakfast time, etc.) gets pressed into service as Matzoh Buttercrunch. Sometimes it seems that I am stocking up on matzoh for the holidays only to keep my Passover Matzoh Buttercrunch "factory" in operation!

This recipe is sublime made with unsalted butter (and that is what I use when it is not being served at the Seder meals) but still wonderful made with unsalted Passover margarine. If you choose, it can also be made with white chocolate and added chopped toasted nuts, such as almonds. It is pure confectionary delight - but you do not need any special techniques or even a candy thermometer to make it. In fact, if you are terrified of Passover baking, just make this. It is a winner.

This recipe is from A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman and has been reprinted with permission from the author. The book will be available in September, 1998, from Doubleday.
© Marcy Goldman.




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