Posts Tagged ‘Matzo’

The Ultimate Chrismukkah Cookie

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Candy Cane Toffee Crisps

Candy Cane Toffee Crisps

I actually detest this new, made-up word “Chrismukkah” for too many reasons to list here. But in a culinary sense, I just experienced it in its purest form when I created a cookie of sorts inspired by my favorite Passover treat but flavored for Christmastime to share with friends. I am a huge fan of matzo brittle, praline strips, matzo toffee, or whatever you like to call it. I make it every year for Passover, and I just love the flavor and texture of a thin, crisp matzo covered in toffee, chocolate, and nuts. What could be bad? Matzo for Christmas, though, probably would not be the biggest hit.

My Grandpa Ted had pointed out to me many years ago that matzo and Carr’s Water Crackers taste and feel the same. A Carr’s Water Cracker, however, has the aesthetic advantage of being perfectly round. He loved to make super-chic-but-not-at-all-pesadich matzo brei hors d’oeuvres with them for this reason. Then it dawned on me: I could make matzo brittle year-round with Carr’s crackers! Once I got going, I knew I was on to something: use crushed candy canes instead of nuts. I never loved candy cane bark as much as the idea of it. But if candy cane bark could be on a toffee coated cracker, well, that I could learn to love. And, boy, do I!

I served these Candy Cane Toffee Crisps Saturday night at my annual holiday party, affectionately called “Matzo Ball & Mistletoe.” They were truly the perfect December fusion sweet treat, and one that both Tara and Jen have asked me to share. So, here it is:

Candy Cane Toffee Crisps

1 sleeve Carr’s Water Crackers
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup crushed candy canes

Bubbling Toffee Toffee Coated Crackers Melted Chocolate Chocolate Coated Crisps

Preheat the oven to 325F.

Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the crackers on the sheet pan in a single layer and set aside.

In small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It will bubble and look frothy. Pour the mixture evenly over the crackers to coat them completely. Place the sheet pan in the oven for 8 minutes.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and sprinkle the crackers with the chocolate chips. Turn the oven off and return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes, until the chocolate chips are soft and melted to the touch.

Remove the sheet pan from the oven and gently spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee-coated crackers. Using a small offset spatula, remove the individual crackers to a cooling rack. Sprinkle with the crushed candy canes and cool for 30 minutes before storing in the refrigerator.

Matzo Brei Isn’t Just for Breakfast

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

Most people who grew up eating matzo brei know it exclusively as a breakfast treat, enjoyed only eight days a year during Passover. A French Toast of sorts, matzo brei is made of broken pieces of matzo soaked in water, then drained, and finally scrambled with egg, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and perhaps drizzled with maple syrup. It is truly delicious, I think. For the record, there are some who do not like it (my father, for example, is not a fan). But there are other ways to enjoy matzo brei than merely as your best effort to tell your taste buds that the deprivation of bread, pasta, and rice (for all you Ashkenazis like me) isn’t so tough.

In my family, we eat matzo brei as an hors d’oeuvre. Yes, four courses of food isn’t enough for us. We like to get started with some herring, and just to make sure we can survive the abbreviated seder and don’t faint, we first feast on pieces of matzo brei topped with chopped liver or chopped eggs and onions, the princely pates of Eastern European cooking.

My grandfather, Ted, perfected this dish. Since matzo brei is traditionally a scrambled mess (in my father’s defense, it certainly is not the prettiest dish you’ll ever see), he thought to break matzo pieces into same-sized squares to create the perfect base for the chopped liver and eggs and onions. He soaked the pieces in water (so they become tender and flexible like a noodle), then stacked them in threes before dipping them in egg and rolling them in matzo meal (a course flour of ground matzo). The matzo meal coating transforms standard matzo brei into something extraordinary. Then frying the whole thing in schmaltz (chicken fat) imparts that extra depth of flavor and exceptional golden brown color.

Breaking the matzo pieces in perfect squares can be challenging. Check out this amusing video from Japan of all places on how to do it easily.