Next-Level Matzah Buttercrunch, Vol. 1

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Okay, it’s Day 8 of Passover, and I’m guessing that you are tired of gnawing on bland cardboard at this point. Even dressing it up with pizza sauce and mozzarella is getting a little tired, yeah? I’ll tell you what NEVER gets tired: matzah slathered with caramel and chocolate. I cannot think of a better use for the leftover matzah that I’m stuck with every year; I always have grand visions of creative matzah dishes that I’m going to finally make this year (cue eye-roll), but inevitably, I am tired of cooking after the Seder, and half of my giant 5-pound package of matzah languishes on the countertop for weeks, until I finally admit that I’m not going to eat matzah *ever* on the 357 non-Passover days of the calendar…. But since last year, I’ve had to buy *extra* matzah because matzah buttercrunch inspiration took hold and I just couldn’t stop. Classic matzah buttercrunch consists of lining a rimmed pan with matzah sheets, spreading hot caramel over said matzah, then baking it, and finally slathering chocolate all over it, and maybe adding some nuts. And believe you me, it is good stuff; but I took it a few steps further this year to create this Next-Level Matzah Buttercrunch. Since I’ve been experimenting so much this year with different flavors of shortbread bars, babka, and rice crispy treats, I decided to dress up my plain matzah buttercrunch too. Because Passover desserts need all the fun they can get!

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My standard recipe (no surprise here) is from Smitten Kitchen, which she adapted from David Lebovitz, who adapted from the original from Marcy Goldman. On top of the base recipe, I used four different types of chocolate and a variety of toppings to create a quartet of new flavors to mix things up: Salted Chocolate Tahini Halva, Blonde Chocolate Coconut, Rocky Road, and Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter. (And I’ve got already got ideas for Vol. 2 next year…)

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Next-Level Matzah Buttercrunch
Yields approximately 36 pieces

For the base matzah buttercrunch (adapted from Smitten Kitchen):

  • 4-6 sheets matzah
  • 1 cup (2 sticks/225g/16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup (215 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed half-sheet pan with aluminum foil, making sure to cover the rim, and then cover the bottom of the pan (on top of the foil) with parchment paper.

Line the bottom of the pan with squares of matzah, edge to edge, covering the entire pan. Break pieces to fit any extra spaces– this can be tricky because matzah doesn’t always behave when you try to break it along its perforations, but do the best you can. Bottom line, cover the entire pan with matzah pieces!

Combine the butter and brown sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and melt it over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until it begins to boil. Once it has started boiling, let it bubble for 3 more minutes, continuing to stir (make sure to get into the corners of the pan). Remove it from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla, then quickly pour it over the matzah. Working quickly, spread it with an offset spatula to cover all the matzah; it will start setting as soon as it is poured.

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Transfer the baking sheet to the oven for 15 minutes, watching carefully to make sure the caramel doesn’t burn; it will bubble vigorously. Turn down the heat a little if it gets too brown.

Take the pan out of the oven and immediately follow the instructions below for your desired flavor.

After adding the toppings, let the matzah buttercrunch cool to room temperature, and if the chocolate has not firmed up yet, place the pan in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Break the buttercrunch into shards and store it for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.

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Salted Chocolate Tahini Halvah Sesame

  • 2 cups (340g) bittersweet chocolate (about 61%), roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup (60g) tahini (pure sesame paste)
  • 1 cup (200g) vanilla or marble halvah, chopped or crumbled
  • 2-4 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, to taste

Sprinkle the chopped chocolate evenly over the hot caramel. Let it stand for 5 minutes, and then spread it evenly across the caramel with a large offset spatula– it should spread out smoothly. Drizzle the tahini in swirls over the chocolate and pull the tip of a small offset spatula through the tahini to blend it into chocolate; do not combine it completely– you want to have a swirly look. Scatter the halva pieces and sesame seeds evenly over the chocolate/tahini and gently press the halva to adhere it to the chocolate. Finish with the flaky sea salt. The texture of the tahini stays more firm in the fridge, but it’s also fine to keep at room temperature.

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Dulcey Coconut

  • 2⅓ cups (400g) blonde chocolate, such as Valrhona Dulcey, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (60g) unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

Scatter the chopped blonde chocolate evenly over the hot caramel. Let it stand for 5 minutes, and then spread it evenly across the caramel with a large offset spatula– it should spread out smoothly. Sprinkle the coconut flakes across the surface of the wet chocolate, and gently press to adhere it to the chocolate.

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Rocky Road

  • 2 cups (340g) dark chocolate (about 72%), roughly chopped
  • 1 cup (115g) walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted (kitchen torch will toast them further)
  • 10 ounces mini marshmallows

Sprinkle the chopped dark chocolate evenly over the hot caramel. Let it stand for 5 minutes, and then spread it evenly across the caramel with a large offset spatula– it should spread out smoothly. Scatter the walnut pieces and marshmallows across the surface of the wet chocolate, gently pressing to adhere them to the chocolate. Use a kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter

  • 2 cups (340g) milk or semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup (67g) smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup (140g) salted peanuts, chopped and toasted

Sprinkle the chopped milk/semisweet chocolate evenly over the hot caramel. Let it stand for 3 minutes, then drop dollops of peanut butter over the chocolate a few inches apart all over the surface. Let it sit for another 2 minutes. Spread the chocolate and peanut butter evenly across the caramel with a large offset spatula– it should spread out smoothly. You can blend it all together or leave it somewhat swirled. Sprinkle the chopped peanuts across the surface of the wet chocolate. The milk chocolate will be softer than the dark chocolate varieties.

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© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2018.

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