If you’re Jewish, or even if you’re not but you’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a Passover Seder, you’ve probably already fallen in love with matzoh toffee. This classic recipe is ubiquitous during the Jewish holiday Passover. It’s outrageously delicious and utterly addictive. I find that I cannot stop myself from eating this crunchy, sweet, chocolatey, nutty confection. Luckily, I only make it once a year for Passover.
But there’s something else that I love about this matzoh toffee recipe and that is that it illustrates a really important fact of recipe development. You’ve probably heard it said that there is nothing truly new—in art, in music, or in cooking—and in a way that’s true. Everything is derivative. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t create something new and exciting—and original—out of an old idea.
The Original Matzoh Toffee Recipe
The original matzoh toffee recipe was created by Marcy Goldman, a baker and cookbook author. It was the mid-1980s and Marcy was looking for a treat she could serve to her family during Passover—meaning it couldn’t have any leavening, among other forbidden ingredients—that even her picky toddler would eat. Her solution to this conundrum was what we now know as matzoh toffee: matzoh sheets turned into a delectable candy with layers of toffee and chocolate. It was brilliant, delicious, and, yes, quite original. You can find Marcy’s recipe in her book A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.
Except that it wasn’t truly original. People had been making a cracker-based toffee candy recipe for decades. Saltine crackers were layered with buttery toffee and chocolate. Saltines, though, have leavening in them, so they aren’t suitable for eating during Passover (for Jews who observe).
Was Marcy’s idea genius? Absolutely. She found a solution to a dilemma that no one else had thought of before (at least as far as we know). Did Marcy just rip off the inventor of the recipe using Saltines? Definitely not. She used the idea—a cracker-based layered toffee-and-chocolate treat—but she turned it into something new.
This is what makes recipe development so exciting and challenging: Figuring out how to put a truly original spin on certain cooking techniques or combinations of ingredients, all of which have been around forever.
Our Very Own Passover Toffee Recipe
This is our spin on Marcy’s now-famous recipe. We added chopped hazelnuts and a pinch of flaky sea salt to the toffee layer. Is our version original? Certainly not. Marcy Goldman and whoever invented the original Saltine toffee recipe get the credit for that. We just gave it our own twist.
More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love
- Sufganiyot or Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah
- Potato Latkes for Hanukkah
- Classic Chopped Liver
- Vegetarian Chopped Liver
- Matzoh Fattoush
- Matzoh Toffee
- Honey Cake
- 4 or 5 matzoh sheets
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or Passover margarine
- 1 cup (packed) brown sugar
- pinch of flaky sea salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a large rimmed baking sheet with layer of aluminum foil topped with a layer of parchment paper.
- Place matzos in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet, breaking as necessary to fill the pan completely with a single layer of matzo.
- In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, stirring constantly, bring butter, sugar, and salt to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to thicken, about 3 to 4 minutes more.
- Pour mixture over the matzo on the baking sheet, smoothing with the back of a spoon or a heat-resistant spatula, to spread distribute evenly and cover the matzo completely.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes (check frequently to make sure it isn’t burning and reduce heat if necessary to keep from burning).
- Remove from oven and immediately turn oven off. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the top and put the pan back into the turned-off oven for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and spread the chocolate out into an even layer.
- Sprinkle chopped hazelnuts over the top.
- Chill in freezer until completely set, then break into pieces.
- Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
Amount Per Serving Calories 217 Total Fat 16g Saturated Fat 8g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 7g Cholesterol 27mg Sodium 13mg Carbohydrates 20g Fiber 1g Sugar 15g Protein 1g