March 16, 2013

Chocolate Matzo Toffee

vegan Passover desserts

Matzo toffee bark is one of those traditional Passover desserts that is always so much more delicious than you expect it to be. The crisp texture of matzo lends itself so well to the layers of caramelized sugar and dark chocolate creating a wonderful treat for any time of the year.Most recipes for matzo bark are technically dairy free for the sake of keeping them kosher, but they call for large quantities of margarine and brown sugar. I started off on this particular version by attempting to use coconut oil in lieu of margarine and coconut palm sugar in lieu of the brown sugar, both in lesser quantities. I cooked the oil and sugar together as I would in any sort of caramelization process only to find that the longer it cooked and the hotter the sugar became, the more the ingredients completely separated as if they were oil and water. After a couple of attempts and a blistered fingertip from tapping the molten sugar--NEVER ever touch hot sugar, I came up with something that worked out quite well.

Regardless of the fact of learning that coconut oil does not emulsify with sugars of any sort, I was still able to make it work by mixing a very small amount of it with the caramelized sugar as I drizzled it over the matzos. In the future, I will go back to using a non hydrogenated butter such as Earth Balance. It just works out better. With this recipe, you will be using considerably less fat and sugar than most matzo toffees (My original recipe called for more than twice the amount of either ingredient). The end result will be insanely delicious and no one will think you have reduced anything. (See note below)

This recipe also works great using graham crackers in place of the matzo.

**ps.  I gave the recipe another try with margarine while preparing my passover meal, and hated the result so much that I made it again. The flavor of margarine is just something I do not care for. The good news is that it forced me to figure out how to get the sugar and cocnut oil to blend. This recipe has been further modified as a result so you can enjoy the absolute best flavor possible.

Matzo Bark

Serves 8-12

12 squares of matzo, gluten-free matzo is now widely available (or try graham crackers)
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup coconut palm sugar, date sugar, or light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
24-30 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (mini chips spread best)
1 cup chopped nuts, I like pecans, but pistachios, walnuts, or almonds are also great choices

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Fit the matzo pieces onto 2 baking sheets lined with non-stick aluminum foil or silicone mats so they cover the surface completely.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the coconut oil and the sugar of your choice. Stir to combine and melt the ingredients. Reduce the heat and carefully add 1/4 cup of water. The mixture will splatter and boil when you do this, so do it with caution and stand away from the pan. Heat the mixture for 4-5 minutes to dissolve any sugar that has hardened after adding the water and it coats the back of a spoon. Don't touch it!

Brush or drizzle the caramelized sugar mixture over the matzos and put them into the preheated oven for 3-4 minutes.

Remove the trays from the oven. The sugar mixture should be bubbly.

Sprinkle the the sea salt and chocolate chips over the molten sugar as evenly as you are able, and return the trays to the oven. Bake for about 1 minute longer.

Remove the trays from the oven and use a spatula or knife to spread the chocolate onto the matzos.

Sprinkle with chopped nuts of your choice, and put the trays in the refrigerator to cool completely. 

Once the bark is cold, break it into pieces. Store at room temperature in an airtight container. It is best to make the matzo toffee no more than 3 days in advance as after a couple of days the chocolate tends to bloom.

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Categories: Cookies, Brownies & Bars, Desserts, Gluten Free, Kids in the Kitchen, Vegan Desserts

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