Tuesday, March 26, 2013

salted caramel matzo bark

Growing up The Ten Commandments was, like, one of my favorite movies.  Passover was my favorite holiday.  These two facts are odd.  What's more odd (maybe) is that for most of my life I thought these two events went together.  

Wait, that is not odd at all!  Of course the The Ten Commandments is on the tube for Passover.  That seems really obvious to me.  All of my Easter-celebrating friends should be saying to themselves right now, "Crap, that is really confusing for a young Jewish child with a strange affinity for this old Charlton Heston-as-Moses classic and a holiday about plagues, blood, slavery, and depravation."
Passover Seder, 2013

I swear it was only about seven years ago that my Catholic grandmother told me that The Ten Commandments is broadcast every year for Easter, not Passover.  I think I was too shocked to have a theological conversation as to why, or, a cultural conversation as to why this seems done to intentionally confuse the small members of Tribe. 

So, yeah, I grew up in a multi-faith family with a much heavier leaning towards Judaism considering I'm a Hebrew school dropout whose favorite holiday is Passover.    However, as a historian of Western Civilization I have to know a damn lot about Christian theology.  Also, I spent a few years of college required to read the Old and New Testaments multiple times for my English degree (for all the biblical references in Western lit.), and I actually very much enjoyed going with my roommate to her evangelical Bible study group to talk about the text.  For me, that was purely an extension of my literary studies, but did I mention they were evangelicals?  No sweat, my first time being cornered with a serious three-hour conversion attempt by born-again evangelicals was when I was fifteen.  No joke, but story for another post, perhaps. 

Anyways, here's what I've learned from all that religious hubbub: 1) I may not be Christian, but Jesus is just alright with me and generally people of all faiths should be more Christ-like (progressive rebels who want to be bit poorer so that the poor are less poor and who love and accept all humans), 2) I still don't know a sound theological reason why the story of the Hebrews fleeing Egypt turned into a film epic should be shown for Easter. 

DVR set for next Saturday's airing of The Ten Commandments.  Happy Passover.
Salted Caramel Matzo Bark: (makes two baking sheets)
  • 4 sticks of butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 6 pieces of matzo, broken into large pieces
  • 2 12-oz bags of chocolate chips (one dark, one milk)
  • 1/2 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two deep baking pans ("jelly roll pans") with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Break up three pieces of matzo for each tray and disperse them evenly on the parchment.
Make the caramel.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter and sugar together.  Stir consistently until the sugar dissolves, the mixture bubbles, lightens, and thickens.  This will take 10-15 minutes.  You'll know its done when the caramel pulls away from the sides and bottom as you stir.  When it is done, add 1/2 tbsp. of sea salt.
Pour this evenly over the two trays of matzo.  Don't worry if it doesn't spread out fully, that will happen in the oven.  Place both trays in the oven for about five minutes.  The caramel will spread and get bubbly.  
Remove the trays and sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top.  I made one sheet of dark and the other of milk chocolate.  Place back in the oven for a minute.
To finish, remove from the oven and use a cake froster or spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the caramel and matzo.  Sprinkle your toppings on each sheet.  I only used coconut for the dark chocolate, figuring the milk chocolate was already sweet enough. 
Place the trays in the freezer for a few hours to fully harden.  Break apart by hand to eat.

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