Today’s recipe is inspired by 2 wonderful spring events that are both happening right now. The first is the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival, which started last Wednesday, March 20th. For someone like myself who has spent nearly a decade in Washington, D.C., the Cherry Blossom Festival is the official-unofficial start of spring. The month long festival is packed full of events like the signature Blossom Kite Festival, a rugby tournament, and a parade. The festivities, though, expand beyond the official Cherry Blossom Festival with restaurants and bars throughout D.C. celebrating with special menus and drinks. M Street Bar and Grill, for example, has a special Cherry Blossom drink menu with 14 themed drinks like Cherries and Roses and Jack & Jim Pickin’ Cherries. Charlie Palmer Steak also has a cherry themed menu with their torchon of Hudson Valley foie gras with cherries and whipped Moscato.
The second event, which begins tonight at sundown tonight and lasts until April 2, is the Jewish Passover holiday. This holiday celebrates the delivery of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is a pretty food-centric holiday, with families hosting the traditional, multi-hour Seder dinner, usually on the first or second night, which requires that every adult present consume 4 glasses of wine. Observant Jews are also forbidden from eating leaven bread for the length of the holiday in recognition that their ancestors left Egypt in such a hurry that they did not have time to let their bread rise. Matzo, which is an unleavened bread much like a cracker, is a vital symbol throughout Passover.
With the intersection of these to events, I’ve been thinking alot about cherries and matzo. So, when I saw Buzzfeed’s collection of foods you could make with matzo, I immediately pinned some of my favorite ideas, including this awesome recipe for matzoh toffee crunch. It is a very simple recipe that leaves alot of room for customization. So, using this recipe as a base, I created my own tribute to Passover and the National Cherry Blossom Festival.
Matzoh Chocolate Cherry Crunch
- 4-6 matzoh crackers
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 12 ounce bag dark chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped dried cherries
- 2/3 cup roughly chopped toasted almonds
1) Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Arrange matzoh on cookie sheet, cutting crackers as necessary to keep the crackers tight together.
2) Melt butter over medium-low heat in medium or large sauce pan. Add vanilla and brown sugar to butter and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
3) Pour caramel sauce over matzoh and use a spatula or wooden spoon to spread it evenly over the crackers.
4) Bake candy covered matzoh until the candy begins to bubble, about 10 minutes.
5) Remove matzoh from oven and immediately sprinkle chocolate chips and let sit for 5 minutes, until the chips are softened. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to spread the chocolate evenly over the candy.
6) Sprinkle matzoh crunch with cherries and almonds. Place in refrigerator for about and hour to let the candy set.
7) Once the candy has set, break it into small pieces and store in an airtight container.