I was asked to bring a dessert to my family’s Passover Seder this year. This presented a bit of a conundrum: All use of flour and leavening agents is forbidden on Passover, so needless to say, the baked goods on the holiday table often leave something to be desired. I also needed something that I could make ahead and transport easily on the train from New York to Washington D.C.
Rather than attempting a batch of flourless cookies that go uneaten every year, I decided to embrace the dry, cracker-like, mostly flavorless bread of the holiday and make chocolate matzo brittle. I usually can’t stomach much matzo, but certainly I could improve it by smothering it with molten sugar, chocolate and nuts?
I riffed off of this recipe from a caterer who shared his updated Passover recipes with NPR. The ingredient list for the brittle is short and you probably have most of them in your pantry. If keeping strictly kosher for Passover, you’ll want to use Passover margarine (with a P next to the Kosher symbol on the package). Chances are you’re having meat for dinner; hopefully chicken soup with matzo balls is involved. Margarine is “pareve”, which means it can be served with both meat and dairy, so it’s a safe choice.
I couldn’t find Kosher-for-Passover margarine in my cramped city grocery store, so I used regular, which is cool with my family. Do whatever works for yours: If mixing meat and dairy is not an issue for your Seder guests, go ahead and use butter.
I cooked the margarine with brown sugar to make a faux-buttery toffee, stirring in vanilla and cinnamon at the end (a great touch). This mixture gets poured over pieces of matzo spread out on cookie sheets, then topped with chopped pecans or nuts of your choice.
Eight minutes in the oven allows the nuts to toast and the toffee comes out bubbling hot, so when I sprinkled the whole thing with chocolate chips, they basically melted on contact. After spreading the melted chocolate around, I let it cool for an hour in the fridge.
Honestly, I would eat this stuff year-round. I tried to package it all away to store in my freezer until the Seder, but had to sneak a few bites as I broke the chilled brittle up into pieces. It’s salty, sweet, chocolatey, crunchy…I think matzo has found its calling!