Monday, 15 April 2013

Chocolate Covered Caramelised Matzah Crunch

There's something about the sweet salty combination that I just can't go past. Popcorn and M&M's, salted caramel and chocolate tart, chocolate brownie cookies and salted caramel cream, anything with salted caramel in it...the list goes on. Basically, if I see something with sweet and salt in it, I can't resist, and I blame my cousin Alexandra (or Bic as I call her) for this as she was the one who first forced me to combine popcorn and M&M's together. Totally her fault!

On a completely separate note, you guys know I'm jewish but not very religious, as evident by the large amount of pork based recipes on this blog. Apart from Chanukah, the only jewish holiday I have much to do with is Passover, and that could partly be because of the food (namely Matzoh Ball Soup). During Passover, we remember and commemorate the jews escape from Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. When they escaped they left in such a hurry they didn't have time to wait for their bread dough to rise so instead, they made matzah, or unleavened bread. Now, if you're religious, which I'm not, during Passover you're not allowed to eat anything leavened, so you eat a lot of matzah instead of bread. Even though I don't cut out leavened products during passover, I do have matzah in the house, and usually too much of it. Inevitably, about three months after Passover, I end up throwing out a couple of boxes that just aren't good any more.

But what does this have to do with my sweet and salty obsession?? This year I discovered the perfect use for left over matzah: Chocolate Covered Caramelised Matzah Crunch from David Lebovitz. And when I say perfect, I mean perfect and delicious and moreish and addictive. It's the sweet caramel, the bittersweet chocolate and the sea salt that makes it irresistible. And so simple to make.

4 - 6 sheets unsalted matzah (or plain crackers, but omit the additional salt in the recipe)
230g unsalted butter, cut into chunks
215g light brown sugar
big pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
160g semisweet chocolate, either chips or chopped quite finely

This is one of those dishes that you need everything pre-prepared for because a few steps need to happen immediately. So start by measuring, weighting and chopping everything up. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius, and wait for it to be almost hot before you start melting the butter and sugar.

Next get your baking tray ready. You need to line the tray with foil, making sure it goes up and over the edges, and then cover with parchment paper. The foil and the paper basically catches all the melted sugar etc, to make sure it doesn't make a big mess, and also to make sure it coats the matzah. If the tray isn't big enough, do two trays. I have these fantastic big, flat baking trays that I use for things like cookies, so I used one of them and just folding the foil up to make edges. A bit haphazard, but it worked. Line the tray with matzoh, breaking pieces up to fill any spaces.

In a small saucepan, melt the 230g butter and 215g sugar together. From experience, it's a bit quicker if you put the butter in first, then the sugar. Cook the mixture over a medium heat until the butter is melted and beginning to boil. Continue to boil it for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Take it off the heat and add a big pinch salt and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and mix it in well. Pour the mixture over the matzah, and spread it out well to cover as much of the matzoh as possible.

Put the tray in the oven, and turn it down to 175 degrees celsius, and make for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble, but you have to be careful not to let it burn as that can happen quite quickly. I checked mine ever 5 minutes, to make sure it wasn't burning. If it starts to burn in spots, take it out of the oven, reduce the heat to 160 degrees celsius and put the tray back in.

Take it out of the oven, and sprinkle over the chocolate immediately. Leave it for 5 minutes, which will melt the chocolate.
Once it's melted, spread the chocolate with an offset spatula. If you want a bit of extra salt, you can also sprinkle on a bit of flaky sea salt, which I did, and then leave it to cool completely. I didn't use cooking chocolate, so mine needed 10mins in the fridge to cool completely. Break it up and enjoy, but be you start, it's very hard to stop. If there's any left, pop it into an airtight container, and it should last about a week.

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