I love celebrating Passover for so many reasons. But the highlight for me is using food symbolically to retell the story of Passover (freeing of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery). For example, we dip parsley in salt water. The parsley represents the coming of spring and the salt water represents the tears that were shed; we eat a fruit and nut mixture called charoset which represents the mortar the Israelite slaves used for brick-building. We eat matzo crackers to symbolize how quickly the Israelites fled, leaving no time for the bread to rise. Instead, they baked it unleavened and hence the flat, crispy matzo crackers. (Given my history with yeast breads, I would have excelled at this baking task!)
As if we don’t already consume enough calories and carbs during the multi-course symbolic traditional seder meal, one of my family’s favorite desserts is chocolate covered matzo. I originally found the recipe when I was searching years ago for simple holiday recipes for cooking with kids.
But don’t stop reading if you’re not Jewish – this is a great cookie/bar type of sweet to have around for lunches, impromptu gatherings, and to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee any time of day.
Chocolate-covered Matzoh with Toasted Nuts and Sea Salt
(adapted from Stephanie Gallager’s recipe)
non-stick cooking spray
3-4 boards of matzo (plain or egg matzo will work)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) of margarine or butter (I use butter)
1/2 cup of brown sugar (light or dark)
1 1/2 cups of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup of chopped nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, or almonds (I also toasted them*)
1/4 tsp. of your favorite salt such as kosher sea salt (you can use more or less salt, to your personal taste)
*You can toast nuts by placing on a baking sheet in a toaster oven or in a regular oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them – they go from deliciously toasty to burnt rather quickly.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line a cookie or baking sheet (approx 12 X 17 inches) with foil and spray it with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Bake for about 10 minutes (it will be bubbling), turn the oven off, and remove the matzo.
7. Remove after two minutes and spread the chips with a spatula or some type of spreading implement.
I have read many different recipes for chocolate-covered matzo and some don’t tell you how to proceed from this point at all and some say to cut them immediately. Here is what I do: I put the whole tray in the fridge and let it cool for an hour or longer. You can then do one of two things:
Either remove the foil with matzo in tact, place on a cutting board and cut into small squares or whatever shapes you want.
Alternatively, you can just randomly break up the matzos (similar to bark) in serving size pieces.
If you cut the matzo when they are warm, you risk cutting through to the pan, because they are too fragile to remove from the pan at that point.
Other topping choices – you can add toasted coconut, dried fruits, sprinkles, really whatever fits your family’s Passover dietary restrictions or satisfies your family’s sweet tooth. The richness of the chocolate, the sweet caramel flavor contrasting to the salt and crunch of the matzo is just a wonderful synergistic combination. And yes, many people have said – OMG! Yummy – after their first bite. It’s true. But don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself – it’s a big flavor payoff from relatively little work. Just my kind of recipe.