Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Matzah Almond Roca
Passover is my favorite holiday – I love its timing with the spring season, the telling of the Passover story of the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt, the eight days of creative cooking, and the celebration of freedom. Each year, I clean and remove leavened foods from our kitchen in preparation for the holiday. When the Israelites escaped from Egypt there was not enough time to wait for the bread to rise so we commemorate this by abstaining from leavened foods. Which leads me to matzah ...
Over the eight days of Passover, we will eat a lot of matzah. We slather it with cream cheese and jam, spread tomato sauce and mozzarella on it for pizza, stuff it with feta and mashed potatoes and fry up sandwiches, and crumble it with eggs to make sizzling matzah brie (served with maple syrup it’s like pancakes). Let me tell you the best way to enjoy matzah, though: Matzah Almond Roca.
Simply stated, Matzah Almond Roca is unbelievably addictive. Crisp matzah is coated in rich, buttery toffee and topped with a layer of chocolate and a sprinkling of almonds. The matzah helps off-set the sweetness, allowing you to enjoy even more.
This has been our family’s favorite Passover treat for almost 20 years (the recipe is stained and torn and comes from a cooking class at the synagogue). We keep a stash in the fridge all week, perfect for sneaking nibbles or downright indulging in. Even if you don’t celebrate Passover I recommend you pick up a box of matzah and give this a try!
When planning my Passover menu, Matzah Almond Roca is first on my list to make (ahead of the brisket, gefilte fish and flourless chocolate cake). And when Passover ends and we have leftover matzah, well - there’s no better way to empty that box.
Matzah Almond Roca
From a synagogue cooking class
4 squares of matzah
8 ounces (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, plus extra to butter the foil
1 cup brown sugar
12 ounces of chopped chocolate (your choice of milk or dark)
1/2 cup unsalted almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and butter the top well. Lay the 4 squares of matzah in a single layer on the foil (you’ll have to break a couple to make them fit).
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the 8 ounces of butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer and stir. It should be bubbling but not a rapid boil. Let it cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times, until it thickens and is golden brown. Pour the toffee evenly over the matzah spread so it is coated. Pop the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.
Remove and immediately sprinkle the chocolate pieces over the toffee topping. When the chocolate has softened a bit, spread it evenly with a knife. Scatter the chopped almonds over the top. Place the baking pan in the freezer for 1 hour.
When completely chilled, break into pieces and store in a covered container in the fridge.