“Matzah Crack” scores a home run as a sweet treat during the Passover holiday as far as I’m concerned. It is sweet, rich and very decadent. What more can you want in a dessert. Although the seven-day Passover holiday is over for this year, I am guessing that some of us have leftover matzah in our kitchen. Plus, it probably is still available in grocery stores. It can be challenging to think of cakes and pastries to prepare during Passover since wheat flour, leavenings and many other ingredients are forbidden. This dessert — made with matzah — has become a family favorite and now is served every year at the elaborate Seder meal and service.
“Matzah Crack” is made using those square, bland matzah crackers consumed in Jewish homes during Passover. To make the dessert, matzah is coated with a rich caramel layer made of butter and brown sugar. The layer is baked and then topped with melted chocolate. Yum! This recipe is from my daughter-in-law and grandson. They have become inventive and now layer on all kinds of melting candy and allowed nuts in addition to chocolate. This dessert is so addictive — we can continue to make it. No Matzah? Read to the end of this post.
About Matzah and Foods Avoided during Passover
Passover is a seven-day holiday in the Spring commemorating the excape of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Many customs and rituals have evolved over the centuries related to this holiday. For various reasons, quite a few food ingredients are avoided during this period. This includes the leavened and fermented products of five grains, known as hametz — wheat, barley, oats, rye and spelt. So, beer and many liquors are out! Also, in homes of Eastern European descent (Ashkenazi Jews), other foods such as rice, beans, corn, lentils, millet, edamame and some nuts (such as peanuts) traditionally may be restricted. To a non-Jewish eye, many of these restrictions seem quite arbitrary. Nevertheless, there are reasons for all of these rules. It is easiest just to follow along. After all, some of these rules have been in place since the 13th century.
Matzah is a flat, unleavened bread made of wheat flour and water which is eaten during the seven-day Passover festival. The biblical story is that the Israelites left Egypt in such a hurry that they could not wait for their bread dough to rise. In Yiddish, this flatbread means matzah. Although matzah is made with wheat flour (or one of the other forbidden flours) — in this instance it is okay. The bread must be rolled out and baked within 18 minutes from the time the flour becomes wet in order to meet Passover rules.
The highlight of Passover is the Seder meal and service which occurs on the first evening of Passover. The service tells the story of the Exodus of the Isrealites from bondage. Were it not for divine intervention, the Jewish people would still be slaves in Egypt. Therefore, Seder is a celebration of freedom and thanksgiving. It is an important gathering of the extended family and everybody comes. (As a reference point to the Christian religion, this is the service that Jesus was attending when he was betrayed by his disciples.)
Everyone contributes to the elaborate meal which is full or rituals, stories and blessings. Someone brings Grandma’s Matzah-Stuffed Chicken Thighs and Fran’s Brisket, grandma makes Meringue Nests with Frest Fruit. Kristy and Cameron bring “Matzah Crack.” (See blog post references for these and other recipes.)
The Passover period actually lasts for seven days (or eight days according to some references). So, leavened bread and other foods made with the “forgidden” ingredients should be avoided for the entire week. Eliminating all products containing flour is a daunting task. But, matzah is here to the rescue and it can substitute in for bread, pastries, pasta and anything else containing wheat and similar flours. My husband gets us prepared each year by purchasing a cupboard full of matzah. By itself, matzah is quite tasteless. But it is surprising what one can make with matzah — lasagna, stuffed chicken, pizza, peanut butter sandwiches and the little ” Matzah Crack” treats.
Kristy’s “Matzah Crack” Treats Recipe
Kristy is contributing her “Matzah Crack” recipe to this blog post. Grandson Cameron is the “official” cook. He prepares the recipe annually. The recipe is huge — but then our extended family is large. It is easy to scale the recipe to make it smaller. Here are the ingredients. They include lots of butter and brown sugar; matzah (sometimes spelt matzo) and chocolate or other candy chips. Plus Kristy tops some of the dessert with pecans.
To make the recipe, melt the butter and brown sugar in a large, heavy pot. Stir for several minutes using a metal spoon until it becomes thick and bubbly.
Pour over matzah crackers which have been layered onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake just until the caramel begins to bubble.
Let cool for 5 minutes on the kitchen counter. Then sprinkle on chocolate chips and other candy chips. The chocolate will melt, then it can be spread over the matzah squares. If desired, top with pecans.
Refrigerate until chilled. Then break into serving sizes. Enjoy!
No matzah? If you can’t find matzah in grocery stores and can’t wait until next year to make this recipe, there is a way out. We’ve learned that the recipe works by substituting graham crackers for the matzah. It is not appropriate for Passover, but can be served the rest of the year. But, be careful. It is just as addictive!
Kristy's Matzah Crack
- aboout 1/2 box egg matzo (approx 9 squares)
- 4 sticks butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 3 bags chips – milk chocolate, peanut butter, white chocolate, anything you like
- 1 cups pecan pieces
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- Layer matzo onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Leave whole, unless you need to break into smaller pieces to fit onto the pan.
- Using a coated cast iron pot and a long-handled metal spoon, melt butter and brown suger on high heat.
- Bring to a boil and continue stirring. Cook 2 – 3 minutes. Turn off stove.
- Scoop caramel mixture onto the matzo and spread.
- Place in 350 F degree oven for 9 – 11 minutes. Should be bubbly, but not burnt.
- Set cookie sheets onto counter and sprinkle with chips.
- Wait 5 miutes to let them melt. Then using a spatula, spread the melted chocolate (or other chips) over the caramel layer.
- Spinkle with pecans.
- When chilled and the toppings have firmed up, break into bite size pieces.
- Store leftover pieces in container with sealed top, either at room temperature or in refrigerator.
- Chag Sameach!
Past Passover Blog Post Recipes
Here are links to some of my favorite family recipes which are traditionally served during the Seder meal which I’ve shared on my blog over the past several years. These recipes are great, and I enjoy them all year — long after Passover is gone.