Sunday, April 20, 2008

Naughty Naughty Matzoh Crunch

Here's the recipe...or you can find it almost anywhere on the web, from folks who've nibbled on a piece, likely at Passover, and found they had a sudden sassy compulsion to tuck away a few know...far far from the madding crowd..."just in case."

Even if you're not eating for two, doing extreme sports with your blood sugar levels, or trying to invent the first edible chocolate mortarboard for graduation, you'll enjoy trying this, truly! It's just so easy to make.

A little TOO easy...

Here's the site where I nabbed the recipe, which was sequentially nabbed prior to that by millions who decided Marcy Goldman was onto a great thing. David Lebovitz tweaked it with the addition of vanilla and a pinch of sea salt...other than that, it's pretty much the real McCoy.

Here 'tis:

Matzoh Crunch

4 to 6 sheets of matzoh
2 sticks butter
1 cup (firmly-packed) light brown sugar (I used dark because that's what I had)
optional: pinch of coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds or other nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Line a 11" x 17" baking sheet completely with foil (cover the sides) and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then line with parchment paper over the'll help everything be easy to remove.

Line the bottom of the sheet completely with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.

In a medium-sized heavy duty saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and cook over medium heat until the butter begins to boil.

Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof utensil.
Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the syrup darkens and gets thick. (While it's baking, make sure it's not burning. If so, reduce the heat to 325 degrees.) I just set the oven right on 335 degrees, a good compromise.

Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips or chunks. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread smooth with a spatula and sprinkle with nuts or desired topping.

Cooling can be expedited by placing in fridge in single layers till set, or briefly in freezer. Break into pieces and store in sealed containers. Will keep for up to a week. (As if they'll last that long...!)

Sounds pretty straightforward. I do have to give credit where credit is due, since this recipe survived my every attempt to thwart its success. And I do have a few suggestions to make...

First, when toasting the chopped nuts, you MIGHT want to not get lost in a pleasant reverie, humming to yourself (as they sit in the pan roasting), sentimental about how your kitchen is smelling nostalgically like pan-popped popcorn...remember the days when you made it in a pot on the stove??

Yes, mmmm, that smell takes you back...and back...and then you start to also remember that some of those popcorns in days of yore DID scorch now and then. Hmmm. Yes, and they smelled a bit back to the present), well DRAT. Yes, they smelled exactly like that nice little pile of chopped nuts that's now charred into a lump of coal in the bottom of your pan.


Secondly, when measuring ingredients, you MIGHT want to actually READ the measurement amounts on the utensils instead of PRESUMING that anything in the miscellaneous junk drawer utensil drawer is going to be a standard measure amount. That way, you'd avoid assuming the measuring cup hold a cupful, after all, instead of 2/3 of a cup. Theoretically...

Thirdly, you might (and this is only a suggestion) NOT want to procrastinate making 6batches of a recipe you've never tried, with a cooking deadline of only 4 hours till quittin' time. 'Cause when shabbat gets here, it's quittin' time! and you MIGHT not want to be left with multiple layers of Matzoh Crunch cooling in your fridge just then, especially when you notice there's a strata of nut, chocolate, and cracker crumbs layering all your countertops and every crevice of your might need to excavate before your husband walks across it all and bestows baking compost throughout the house. Except for the bits that are STUCK onto the floor and wont come off without scrubbing, of course.

All this before DON'T want to leave EVERYTHING for the last minute, do you, huh, huh?? (bit o' sarcasm at my failed lack of planning in that department and its habit of repeating itself now and then...) :)

And of course, fourthly, you might want to set your timer for the CORRECT times to cook this and that, instead of panicking about 10 minutes into a step and wondering just HOW long that thing was SUPPOSED to boil?? My timer is shaped like a chicken, and is slightly deformed due to an unfortunate past misjudgement in stovetop-proximity ( a fact I try to subtly mask by taking blurry, overexposed pictures of it)

In moments of cooking duress, such as when I find I never SET the chicken timer, I confess all to the chicken timer. The chicken timer is myfriend. The chicken timer knows MUCH. Or maybe it's a rooster? Even if he's androgenous, he hears my most dire kitchen confessions, and he never tells. (But he sits a little uneasily the closer I move him to the hot stovetop these days...)

Before this gets any more disturbing, back to the food...

This treat is basically a sort of brickle or toffee in its hot liquid form before being poured over the matzah crackers and finished in the oven. The chocolate layer spread over it can be very thin. Here's a pic of the chocolate chips getting melty before being spread. They're going through that awkward teenager phase, sort of like chickens do between chickhood and adulthood. Not. So. Pretty.

Never fear...It looks like a mess while you're making it, but it finishes off nicely!

And thankfully, it's hard to mess up....even when you TRY :)

The only downside is the 42 pounds you can amass on your hips in a single night if over-indulging in this dessert. Don't even try to hide them...(remember, the chicken timer KNOWS...)

But if you're looking to store up some heat reserves in case winter really DOES last well into July this year, this is the recipe for you!



ilex said...

Ok, I do dislike me some matzoh (and have no reason to eat it being a schiksa, but the opportunity has presented itself on many a cross-cultural occasion), but these look incredibly, deeply fabu. Way to bust it out at Passover-time.

You know, when I was putting im my peas this weekend, it suddenly occured to me exactly what the name of your blog means, as in: "omg, of course- it means doing all this gardening/homesteading stuff after the age of 40!". Clearly, I think way too much about other people's blogs.

Hiya, Jack!

Robbyn said...

Ilex, you're totally cracking me up! I'm not so hip to the matzoh myself. I find it (er, um, how to say) rather "binding"...

I'm glad you caught the meaning behind the Back Forty thing...I don't feel 42 is OLD but as far trying this lifestyle overhaul at this point in life, I do sometimes feel outnumbered by all the savvy 20 and 30-somethings out there. But we want to live our best life, so there you are...I think we're always going to be on that journey to a best life and that for us is much of what falls under the all-inclusive term "homesteading."

There is a third possible meaning for the blog title, which has occurred to me on occasion, such as after indulging in so many sweets for the holiday... that the title could refer to my ever-increasing backside...but we won't go there...

Stephanie said...

fun as always. As a thirty something trying this new lifestyle I don't exactly feel savvy about it either. It is a learning process at any age.

burekaboy — said...

LOL, just made a batch of this today :)) looks like you beat me to it. marcy is a great baker and is actually from my 'hood' ;) i've never made it with butter because i don't have dairy dishes for pesach but it must be really good that way.

Robbyn said...

It can be made with margarine. Did I do an oops using dairy at Pesach? I'm still a-learnin'... :)