Tonight marks the first night of Passover. Passover, like so many Jewish holidays, is a commemoration of our ancestors overcoming the indescribable odds stacked against them so that we, their descendants, could sit around and kvetch about the poor Wi-Fi service at our aunt’s house.
In actuality, Passover celebrates our escape from slavery in Egypt. We tell the story of Passover with a ceremonial meal called a seder which, depending on your family’s level of religiousness, can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to several hours. But that’s not to say it can’t be fun. A few years ago, my parents had grown tired of the hagaddahs (prayer books) that we had used since my cousins and I were in preschool, and the decided it was time for an upgrade. They found… The JDate Hagaddah. I kid you not. Interspersed with the Hebrew prayers are texts between Moses and the Pharaoh, and excerpts from God’s Facebook page. It’s an unorthodox choice, to say the least. My family of thirty found it pretty comical, and it’s now been used for several years.
This is the first time I will be spending Passover with another family. Adam’s family invited me to their seder, which I’m really excited for. Having been exposed to many different interpretations of Judaism throughout my life, I always like seeing how other families celebrate the holidays, and even more importantly, how they cook for the holidays (because you know we’re all really just here for the food). Though there are some Passover staples, like gefilte fish or brisket, every family has their own take on the menu.
I wanted to contribute something to Adam’s family’s celebration, but was having trouble thinking of what to bring. After all, I didn’t think that TSA would take too kindly to me schlepping a pot of matzoh ball soup with me on the plane to Florida. I needed something that would be easy (due to time constraints), portable (due to travel constraints), and delicious (due to ego constraints). I settled on Matzoh Crack.
Matzoh Crack is a snack that I think most people have probably seen before in some iteration. You cover sheets of matzoh with molten caramel, and then from there you can go crazy with whatever additional toppings your heart desires, such as chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit. During the rest of the year, it can be made with saltines or Ritz crackers, but during Passover, Jews everywhere find a way to take a cracker called “The Bread of Affliction” and smother it in sugar. More like “Bread of Addiction,” am I right? This, perhaps, is where the name Matzoh Crack is derived from.
I found a recipe earlier this week on Salt & Serenity and pinned it to make when I got home from work Wednesday night. I wound up getting back from the Ruth Reichl discussion that night even later than I expected, but thankfully, this recipe took very little time to put together. After assembling everything, you pop it into the refrigerator overnight, break it up into pieces in the morning, and try not to eat a slice of caramel and chocolate-covered matzoh for breakfast (easier said than done).
Serves as many as you’re willing to share with
- 6 boards of matzoh
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter (I never said this was going to be healthy)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the teeny-tiny mini ones, 1 full bag should do it)
- 1.5 cups white chocolate chips
- Coarse sea salt, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil, then with parchment paper. Believe me, this recipe involves crumbly matzoh, gooey caramel, and two different kinds of melted chocolate, you do not want to mess around with lining your cookie sheet.
- Lay the boards of matzoh on the baking sheet in one flat layer. You may have to break some of the boards to fit, in which case, use a sharp knife to help you, and try not to send matzoh shards flying everywhere. This was a bit of a failure on my part – I will be finding tiny bits of matzoh shrapnel everywhere for the next week.
- Heat the butter and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium, stirring constantly. Seriously, I mean constantly. I stopped for a minute because I got distracted talking to Adam and the butter/sugar mixture at the bottom of the pot nearly burned. It will take about 5 minutes for everything to come to a boil, at which point, you should keep cooking and stirring for another three minutes.
- Carefully – really guys, I mean it! – Carefully take the pan of caramel off the stove and pour it over the matzoh. Use metal spatula or the back of a metal spoon to smooth it out.
- Put the sheet of caramel-covered matzoh in the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until everything is deliciously golden and bubbly. Your kitchen will start to smell amazing sometime around minute 2.
- While the matzoh is in the oven, put your white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe glass bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes. If your microwave is strong, err on the side of caution and take it out after about a minute to stir the chips. They won’t look completely melted at this point, but as you stir, they’ll magically liquefy. You don’t want to over-microwave them, because you’ll wind up with really gross scorched parts that resemble tree bark. Not that I’m speaking from experience. When you have a bowl full of white chocolate soup, transfer it to a piping bag or a Ziploc.
- Take the caramel matzoh out of the oven and set the tray on a cooling rack. Immediately sprinkle the semi-sweet chocolate chips on top, but let them sit for a couple of minutes before trying to spread the chocolate – the heat from the caramel will melt them and practically do your job for you.
- Once the semi-sweet chips are melted and you’ve spread the chocolate out, covering the caramel, cut the tip off of your piping/Ziploc bag and draw on top of everything with the white chocolate. I mimicked what (BLOG NAME) did with hers, drawing two sets of intersecting diagonal lines and then dragging a toothpick (confession: I improvised with an unused takeout-chinese food chopstick) through them to create a lovely marbled effect.
- Put the tray in the refrigerator overnight and let the magic happen
- In the morning, take out any of your subconscious frustrations on that matzoh. You can hack at it with a large, sharp knife, or you can use my preferred method: a small mallet. Break the matzoh into small pieces with your preferred weapon – I mean, kitchen utensil – and store in an airtight container, preferably in the fridge.