Monday, April 14, 2014

Chocolate Caramel Matzoh

 I came across this recipe on David Lebovitz's blog, and was drawn to it insantly. Besides looking fairly straightforward to make, I was intrigued by the idea of using matzoh for a sweet recipe. It's essentially a homemade candy bar in fun, bite-sized pieces. The richness of the caramel and all the calories therein proclaim loudly to a primal part of your brain, "Delicious calories have ARRIVED- stuff your face!". Other reactions include giggling like a schoolgirl, and resisting the urge to fight people (or alternatively, high five them).  
I've made them for friends, and most recently for a Passover Seder. Jordana, my violinist, hosted her first seder at her house with her husband, and it was a lovely affair. Also, when substituted with Kosher ingredients, these are perfect for Passover! You can sprinkle slivered almonds, toasted coconut, or anything your heart desires on the chocolate before it sets. 
 David Lebovitz made the interesting point that for this recipe, it would be better to use chocolate chips rather than chopping up a nice chocolate bar. The reason is that chocolate chips are made to hold their shape after melting, and would have a better snap to them than bars of chocolate.

Adapted from the marvelous blog of David Lebovitz
8 to 12 sheets unsalted matzoh
2 cups unsalted butter, sliced up
2 cups firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
2 cups toasted sliced almonds (optional)
2 cups lightly toasted coconut (optional)
light sprinkling of fleur de sel (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with foil (make sure you wrap it up and over the edges of the baking sheet). Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper, and then cover a layer of matzoh, breaking up pieces of matzoh to fill in the pan.

In a medium sized saucepan put the butter cubes and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter melts and the mixture boils. Boil for three minutes, stirring constantly. Take off the heat, add the vanilla extract and salt, stir. Pour over the matzoh, one tray at a time, spreading it over the matzoh with an offset spatula, or other heat-proof utinsel.

Put back in the oven, and reduce the heat to 350F. Bake for fifteen minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure that the caramel isn't burning. If it looks like it is browning too quickly, lower the heat to 325F.

Take out of the oven after fifteen minutes, and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Wait patiently for five minutes, and then spread to coat the matzoh/caramel with an offset spatula. This is the fun part. Now you can add any toppings your heart desires- flaky sea salt, toasted almonds, toasted other-nuts, roasted cocoa nibs...

Leave at room temperature until the chocolate sets, before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep for one week, but I wouldn't know anything about that. Sometimes when you put the chocolate in the refrigerator, it might "bloom" from the temperature change. This means that the milk solids in the chocolate separate and float to the top of the chocolate. Is it still delicious? You bet! It is just an aesthetic. This article describes bloom in more detail, with suggestions on how to prevent/minimize bloom.      

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