candy recipes

It’s Passover. And That Means …

I have an excuse to make this incredible stuff:

Now, let’s be clear. I don’t like matzoh. I’ve never liked matzoh, even way back in the days when I was eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on it in the lunchroom of my elementary school (well, maybe especially then). And this year, thanks to our near-abandonment of carbs around here, I didn’t have to eat any (except for a piece I coated in milk chocolate for our chocolate seder; post to come!).

But when you cover matzoh with caramel and chocolate, oddly, it’s not bad at all.

It is, in fact, scrumptious.

The original of this recipe comes from Marcy Goldman, from her book A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking. She calls it My Trademark, Most Requested, Absolutely Magnificent Caramel Matzoh Crunch.

And her version is delicious.

But then David Lebovitz stepped in, and as with everything he touches, it got better.

Try it. It’s that good.

I topped some of mine this time with toasted coconut. Experiment!

Chocolate-Covered Caramelized Matzoh Crunch (by David Lebovitz, adapted from a recipe by March Goldman)

4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzohs
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 cup (215g) firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (160g) semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate)
1 cup (80g) toasted sliced almonds (optional)

  1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17″, 28 x 42cm) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.
  3. In a 3- to 4-quart heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F (175C) degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F (160C), then replace the pan.
  5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.
  6. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.
  7. Let cool completely, the break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week.

Note: If making for Passover, omit the vanilla extract or find a kosher brand.

boys candy Dorie holidays

And Again, No Tuesdays With Dorie

But I bring you another in what seems to be a series of ethnic holiday dishes (although this one, technically, is not my ethnicity, nor is it the ethnicity of anyone on either side of my family, or my husband’s; that’s got to make us pretty unusual.)

First, if you want to read about French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze (which sounds heavenly, I must say), check out all the other TWD blogs, most especially My Cookbook Addiction, where Liliana (who chose the recipe for us this week) will have the recipe for you. You should definitely also buy Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, the founder of our weekly feasts.

So today is, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. We like all things English/Irish/Scottish/Welsh around here (although again, no family history in any of those places), and so we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day the same way we celebrate everything else: with food.

#2 Son made the Irish potatoes (such as they were) this year, and being #2 Son he did them his own way (and in the process learned that there is a very definite difference between regular cinnamon and Penzey’s Vietnamese cinnamon). For those of you who don’t know Irish potatoes — you poor deprived souls — they’re not potatoes at all, or Irish. They’re a mix of cream cheese and butter and powdered sugar and coconut, rolled into little balls of heaven and coated in cinnamon. I’ve heard that they’re a Philadelphia thing, not widely known outside the city; I can’t confirm or deny that. But if you haven’t ever tried them, do it now.

He started out making potatoes:


But he quickly decided that potatoes just wouldn’t do. There was a famine, after all, and all the potatoes turned black.

So he made some other shapes:

Celtic cross
Celtic cross
Snake, in honor of St. Patrick
Snake, in honor of St. Patrick
Bottle of Guinness (yes, he's 11)
Bottle of Guinness (yes, he’s 11)
And what turned out to look like a standing stone, even though it wasn't meant to be
And what turned out to look like a standing stone, even though it wasn’t meant to be

Later tonight I’ll write about the Irish stew and soda bread we’re having for dinner. But for now, here’s our recipe for Irish potatoes, originally provided by Donna Pilato at Entertaining (my comments in parentheses):

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
  • 4 ounces regular cream cheese, softened (Donna says don’t use low fat or whipped, but we used Neufchatel with no problems)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, plus extra for coating hands
  • 7 ounces sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (we have also used allspice and nutmeg, both of which were delicious)

With mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. Mix in sugar and vanilla, being careful to add sugar slowly to avoid creating a large sugar cloud. Stir in the coconut flakes. Put cinnamon into a small bowl. (If you discover that you have accidentally used extraordinarily strong Vietnamese cinnamon, mix in some powdered sugar to cut it.) Coat dry hands with a little powdered sugar, and using your hands take small pieces of mixture (about 2 teaspoons apiece) and form into potato shape (or as you wish!). Drop potatoes into cinnamon and roll to coat. Place on baking sheet. When all the potatoes have been formed and dipped in cinnamon, refrigerate for several hours until firm. (Or eat right away. Whatever.)