The traditional sweets for Passover are a mixed bag. Sponge cakes are often rubbery, flourless cakes too dense. Passover cake and brownie mixes bought at the store are usually expensive and the end product is not as good as treats made from scratch. Macaroons can be good but many of us are used to the canned Passover variety which, like rainbow colored jelly fruit slices, we mostly enjoy for nostalgia's sake.
Just because it's Passover doesn't mean you have to eat lousy sweets. If Passover gives you matzoh, then why not make matzoh candy?
Here are three recipes for treats to make during Passover. The first two are good for using up matzoh and farfel, which is kind of like matzoh bits. The last is a recipe to make all year round, but just happens to be Kosher for Passover.
Toffee Chocolate Matzoh Crunch
2 sheets of matzoh
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 Cup brown sugar
2/3 Cup chocolate chips
2-3 Tablespoon chopped nuts--any kind but I like pistachios
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the sheets of matzah on a greased sheet of aluminum foil on a cookie sheet. Cook the butter and brown sugar until melted, then pour it over the matzah and bake it until bubbly and slightly toasty looking, maybe 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven then sprinkle the chocolate chips on the matzah. You have to leave it for a minute or two to melt enough so you can spread the chocolate evenly across the matzah. Spread it then sprinkle it with chopped nuts. Put in the fridge until it hardens then break it into pieces and store in an air tight container.
Passover Nut Brittle
makes about 1 1/2 pounds
2 Cups matzo farfel (you can substitute little chips of matzah)
2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons salted butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 Cups chopped mixed nuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread matzo farfel and nuts on a large shallow baking pan (1/2 to 1 inch deep) and toast, until golden, stirring every five minutes. total baking time should be about 15 to 20 minutes. If using some toasted nuts, do not toast them again, but add them to the toasted farfel. Transfer to a bowl, then line pan with a Silpat mat or with foil (shiny side down). If using foil, grease the surface or spray well with cooking oil.
Bring sugar, water, vanilla and salt to a boil in a deep 2- to 2 1/2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring slowly until sugar is dissolved. Boil gently, without stirring until syrup begins to turn golden. Resist the urge to stir, and continue to boil, swirling pan occasionally. The sugar will clump up and get white, before melting into a golden caramel syrup.
When the caramel begins to turn a deep golden color, immediately remove pan from heat and carefully stir in butter with a wooden spoon (mixture will rise up and bubble vigorously). When bubbling begins to subside, immediately stir in toasted farfel and nuts, when combined, quickly pour onto baking pan, spreading and smoothing with back of spoon or heat resistant spatula, before mixture hardens. Spread the mixture as thin as you can, it's fine if there are some holes in the surface.
Transfer baking pan to a rack. If using a foil-lined pan, when cool enough to handle peel off foil and transfer brittle to rack to cool completely. Break brittle into bite-size piece.
This last recipe recipe I found in The Healthy Jewish Cookbook just last year, but it doesn't taste healthy, just crunchy and delicious. I've adapted it a bit based on my experience making the original recipe.
makes about 2 dozen
3 egg whites
1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 2/3 Cup ground almonds
1 Cup brown sugar
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the egg whites until very stiff and dry. Add the cinnamon, almonds and sugar and mix well. Lightly shape heaping teaspoons of the the mixture into balls, set on a greased cookie sheet and bake until set--about 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar before setting aside to cool.