We’re in the thick of it here with Passover preparations. Andrew’s mother is at the butcher’s picking up kosher meat for tomorrow’s seder. We caramelized shallots this morning – they will be combined with roasted asparagus come tomorrow. There will be two types of haroset at the table. And tomorrow night Andrew’s family will host over thirty guests for a festive and boisterous first seder.
I like to think of Passover as an Jewish Thanksgiving – a loud, boisterous affair that, on the one hand, is big and chaotic, but on the other hand, has a linear order – what happens when you have to follow a script of sorts. In this case, it is a Haggadah. We will read from it, then we will eat, the read some more, and so on.
And for someone who loves schedules and order and planning (you should see my google calendar sometime) – I adore the chaos that is created when large groups of people congregate. The buzz of chatter, conversation piercing another conversation, snippets of someone’s exclamations. At some point, as Andrew’s mother said this morning, you have to let go of it – it becomes a thing of its own with a life, a rhythm, a pulse all its own.
And at the end of the meal full of salted water and potato and egg and, let’s not forget, maror (the biting, bitter horseradish root) there is dessert. Macaroons, perhaps, chocolates, an almond torte with strawberries. And perhaps some of this matzo toffee.
Firstly, I know I am not the first (or the last) to write on this magical, addictive, and altogether Passover altering experience. Deb from Smitten Kitchen who dubbed it as “crack”, adapted it from David Lebovitz, who in turn, adapted it from Marcy Goldman. I’ve been making this matzo toffee for a few years now and I honestly can’t recall where I’ve seen it first. My version here is heavier on the salt, but then again, I’ve always been a sweet-contrasting-with-salty kind of girl. When you sprinkle it on, it seems almost like you’re overdoing it – but trust me, you aren’t. It all comes together in the end, and the result is a deliciously dangerous one.
I can tell you this much – after Passover, my jeans might fit a little bit more snugly, and even though I hold this matzo toffee responsible, with this sweet treat by my side, I will hardly miss the doughnuts and cake.
Matzo Toffee with Almonds
5 sheets whole wheat matzo (broken into large and small pieces to fit the pan)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
1/3 cup toasted, slivered almonds.
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place matzos in an even layer on a 13×17-inch jelly roll pan. You may need to break some matzos to fit the pan, and you should have extra matzo left over.
3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and immediately reduce the temperature to low. Cook, stirring, until sugar has completely dissolved and beings to bubble. Drizzle toffee over matzo and spread evenly to cover using a spatula.
4. Transfer toffee-covered matzo to oven and bake until the toffee gets shiny for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, and spread melted chocolate over matzo to cover. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds and sea salt.
5. Transfer matzo to the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours.
6. Break chilled matzo toffee into pieces. Matzo toffee will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days at room temperature, but it tastes much better, and keep longer (though it’s not likely to last long) in the refrigerator.