The Almond Cookie and Matzah Caramel Mashup You Didn’t Know You Needed

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April 4, 2022

3 min read

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Florentines and Toffee Matzah Crunch merge for the most unbelievable new Passover dessert.

Let’s face it, Passover desserts often leave something to be desired. No matter where you’re from, you’ve likely had a matzah meal sponge cake made with a dozen eggs that somehow tastes more like cardboard than cake or tinned macaroons that may or may not have expired several decades ago after getting through your Passover meal.

Why are Passover desserts so challenging to master?

The problem lies in the matzah meal, a heavy ingredient that makes it difficult to mask its texture and taste. Matzah meal typically takes the place of flour in baked goods during Passover, which can result in dry and dense pastries. From updating old classics to using more novel ingredients, like almond flour, we can make Passover desserts great for the first time!

If you’ve attended a Passover Seder since the 1980’s, chances are you’ve had your fair share of two things: Matzah Meal Bundt Bakes and Chocolate Toffee Matzah Crunch, or “Matzah Caramel Crunch”. I spend 363 days trying to forget about the former, and 365 days thinking about the latter. Chocolate Toffee Matzah Crunch was created in the 1985, by Marcy Goldman, the author of “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking”, this Passover staple was inspired by the soda cracker and graham cracker version of the treat. Apparently, Marcy whipped up the recipe in an effort to please her toddler’s picky palate when it came to Passover, and by some miracle, it went viral (in the 80’s that meant it was published in newspapers and magazines but imagine the engagement it would get now!). This addictively delicious Passover treat that has since been nicknamed “Matzah Crack” in my house, has been making an appearance all year round, with recipes doubled, tripled and even quadrupled due to its ability to magically “disappear” every time.

When thinking about my own Passover menu, I like to think outside the matzah box and put a modern spin on the classic dishes I grew up with. Sure, they’re delicious, but the recipes of the past don’t always appeal to the palates of today. From dry brisket to crumbly brownies, upgrading the Passover Seder is long overdue, and it’s been a fun and exciting challenge to make a Seder that my Bubbe would be proud of, and a menu that gets me excited to give up my beloved bread for a week. This year, it means that I’m leaving the taste of the 80’s for Elijah when it comes to my dessert table, and I’m marrying this North American Passover dessert staple with a taste of a popular Israeli cookie made with sliced almonds. Because when it comes to desserts, I’m a firm believer that more is always better, and why limit yourself to just one?

So, what’s the secret ingredients to make Matzah Caramel Crunch even more addicting? Blending them with a crunchy, nutty cookie that you likely know and love! Whether you call them crackle cookies, Florentines, or lace cookies, almond cookies are traditionally made of nuts and cooked with sugar, butter and oftentimes eggs. Some are eaten as is, and others are drizzled with chocolate and nuts. These almond cookies popular in Israel all year round, and are naturally Passover-friendly, making them another stand-out recipe option that can wow your Passover crowd.

I’ve remixed the naturally gluten-free, almond based cookies with the Passover dessert of my childhood for an addictively nutty caramel crunch that magically disappears soon after being made. I strongly recommend doubling or tripling the recipes, because it will take you longer to read the Haggadah than eat a batch. The best part? It’s insanely delicious and deceptively simple to make. While the classic rendition is a fan-favorite, there’s no denying that change can be a good thing.

Almond Crackle Matzah Crunch

Serves: 1-10

Sick of dry as cardboard Passover sponge cakes, questionably flavored tinned macaroons, or sickly-sweet jelly rings? While I love my Bubbe, but when it comes to her matzah meal Bundt cake, it is time to rethink our post-Seder treats!  Inspired by the Matzah “Crack” of my childhood and my love for nutty Florentine cookies, this recipe is for you!

This candy-like treat requires no special equipment or candy thermometers, just a sheet pan and the will to not eat it all in one sitting.

  • 4-6  sheets unsalted matzos
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate chips
  • 1 ½  cup sliced almonds, divided
  • Sea salt, to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a tray with baking paper. Arrange matzos in an even layer.
  2. Combine butter and brown sugar in a small pot. Bring to a boil and let boil for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture overtop the matzos, and sprinkle with 1 cup of almonds.
  4. Reduce heat to 350F and bake the matzo for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with chocolate chips, waiting 4-5 minutes, and spread chocolate using a spatula.
  6. Top with remaining almonds and sprinkle with sea salt.
  7. Let harden.
  8. Break and eat!

 

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