Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Passover Crack for Easter (Chocolate-Covered Matzo Buttercrunch) from Cleo Coyle

Yes, you read that right. My post today is Passover Crack for Easter. Allow me to explain: This recipe for chocolate-covered buttercrunch is so deliciously addictive that people have jokingly called it crack. It was created a few years ago for the observance of Passover (which is why it uses matzos), and yet it makes an especially wonderful and poignant addition to an Easter celebration, too. Why do I say that? Well... 

Cleo Coyle, who eats Easter
eggs and matzos is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Here in New York City, we live on top of each other, so the idea of "interfaith interaction" is more than just some abstract PC concept. It’s a way of life. Not that every corner of my fair city is filled with sweetness and light.

Certainly, when we don’t know much about a neighbor’s heritage, culture, or faith, we tend to feel wary of that person. But learning leads to understanding, which is why food can be such a great first step toward bringing us together.

Almost everyone enjoys food (talking about it, eating it) and food is often a window into a person’s nationality, heritage, and/or beliefs. As I put it in Holiday Grind: "A diversity of cultures means a diversity of foods. Eat with tolerance, I say."

Below you’ll see one of my favorite examples of New Yorkers with a great sense of humor about food, faith, and culture. Click the arrow in the window to see-- 

20 (Other) Things To Do With Matzo:

And now for today's recipe...

MY PASSOVER INGREDIENT: Monday evening marked the first night of Passover, one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays of the year. An important food custom that’s followed during this week is to eat no yeasted bread, only unleavened bread. Why? Because this is a time when Jews all over the world celebrate the story of Exodus, in which the ancient Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. They left Egypt so quickly that there was no time to bake yeasted bread. During their journey through the dessert, they took the raw dough and baked it in the hot desert sun into hard crackers called matzos.

MY EASTER INGREDIENT: The Christian holiday of Easter, also one of the most important holidays of the year, is closely tied to Passover. The crucifixion of Jesus took place during Passover and biblical scholars believe that the Last Supper was a Passover seder. To prepare for Easter, many Christians observe 40 days of Lent in which they fast and make sacrifices to prepare for the celebration of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Giving up treats like chocolate and candy is a common custom. That’s one reason why chocolate is consumed with joy on Easter Sunday. Christ is risen, Hallelujah! Lent is over and it’s time to celebrate with feasting and favorite foods, including chocolate.

MATZOS + CHOCOLATE = AN INTERFAITH TREAT: Over the last few years, the basic recipe for Matzo Caramel Buttercrunch has been posted all over the Internet, but it was originally created by Marcy Goldman, author of A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking. You can see Marcy's famous, original version at her website here. David Lebovitz also adapted her recipe here. Today it’s my turn! I hope you enjoy my version, too.

Love and peace to you. Happy Passover, Happy Easter, Happy Spring! And may God bless us, every one.

~ Cleo Coyle

Cleo's Passover
Crack for Easter

Black-and-White Chocolate-Covered
Matzo Buttercrunch (An interfaith candy :))

Adapted from Marcy Goldman's
Matzo Caramel Buttercrunch

To download a PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here. 


1 half-sheet pan, jelly roll pan, or large cookie sheet
   + Aluminum foil
   + Parchment paper
1 saucepan (nonstick if possible, and a silicone spatula is helpful, too)
2 tablespoons (for spreading the melted chocolate chips)


5 boards of unsalted matzos (see my matzo note below)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine (see my butter note below)
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (nuts are optional)
1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted pistachios (measure after removing shells)

(a) Matzo note: If you're not observing Passover and you can't find matzos, try Saltines or another cracker.

(b) Butter note: I've done this recipe with butter and margarine. Both work just fine as long as you boil the mixture for the length of time noted in the recipe. I've also used salted and unsalted butter, both taste great.

(c) Sugar note: I prefer the dark brown sugar, but if all you have on hand is light brown, that's fine, too.

(d) Chocolate note: If you don't like white chocolate, simply double the amount of mini chocolate chips. I find the mini chips melt much faster and easier than regular chips. If you prefer chopped block chocolate, that's certainly an option, too.


Step 1 - Prepare pan: This recipe is easy but can be messy so cover your baking pan with aluminum foil first and then a sheet of parchment paper; otherwise, the caramel will stick to the foil. 

Step 2 - Prep oven and nuts: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. If you're topping your chocolate buttercrunch with sliced almonds (or walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts), then toast the nuts for better flavor. To save time, I'll throw my sliced almonds onto a cookie sheet and toast them in the already preheating oven. Nuts generally toast up in 8 to 10 minutes. Stir them once to prevent scorching. When you can smell the scent of toasting nuts, you know they're done or very close to done.

You'll also want to finely chop the shelled pistachios. To finely chop any nut, simply place it in a resealable plastic bag and bang it with a hammer, rolling pin, or back of a heavy spoon.

Step 3 - Lay out matzo boards:  In the half-sheet pan you see in my photos (13 x 18 inches), I fit 5, full matzo boards. You can break the boards into pieces to fit them into the pan.

Step 4 - Make a quick caramel: In a medium saucepan (nonstick is best), melt the butter or margarine and add your brown sugar (dark or light), stirring to combine ingredients. Because the mixture is sticky, I use a nonstick (silicone) spatula. When the mixture begins to boil, start your timer for three (3) full minutes. Keep stirring to prevent scorching and continue boiling. The mixture will foam up as it boils, just keep stirring.

Step 5 - Cover: Pour the caramel mixture over the matzo boards. Work quickly with your nonstick spatula or the back of a spoon to spread the caramel as evenly as you can. As the mixture cools, it will be difficult to work with so spread fast!

Step 6 - Bake: Place the pan in the oven for 12 to 13 minutes. Rotate the pan once in the middle of this baking process to prevent hot spots from burning your candy. The cooking is done when you see bubbles have formed over the entire pan.

TIP: For a delicious buttercrunch (without chocolate)
you can simply stop at this stage and slide the pan into
the refrigerator for thirty minutes. Break the matzos
into pieces and you have Caramel Matzo Buttercrunch.
(See photo below . . . )

Step 7 - Sprinkle chocolate chips and melt: As you can see below, my black-and-white version of this buttercrunch covers half the caramel-topped matzos with semi-sweet chocolate and half with white chocolate. Sprinkle the chips as you see in the photos then place the pan back in the oven for another minute or two. Take care not to allow the chocolate to burn but make sure it's melted enough to easily spread . . .

TIP: Larger chocolate chips may appear
to keep their shape, but if you gently press
down with the back of your tablespoon, you will likely
see they've melted. Once you press them flat, begin to
work them with your spoon, spreading the chocolate as
you would cake frosting. Keep extra chips on hand, ready to
cover any bald spots or you may have trouble getting
an even layer of chocolate.

Step 8 - Finish and chill: Toss your nuts onto the melted chocolate.

Now slide the pan into the refrigerator for thirty minutes. That should harden up the chocolate nicely. When the candy is firm, use your hands to gently break up the big pieces into smaller shapes, and . . . 

Eat with joy!

White Chocolate-Pistachio


Happy Passover!    Happy Easter!
Happy Spring!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

To get more of my recipes, win free coffee,
or find out more about my books, visit me
 at my *virtual* coffeehouse:

Click on the book covers above
to learn more about Cleo's culinary mysteries.


  1. Holy moly! Is this stuff really legal? What a great recipe. My mouth is watering. Somehow my oatmeal brekkie is going to feel like a letdown.

    Thanks, Cleo!

  2. Haha! MJ just "cracked" me up! This looks absolutely gorgeous and way too delicious to be legal. Amazing, Cleo! Can't wait to try this!

  3. HA HA MJ you are too funny. It should be illegal ha. Cleo you know I always love your recipes and the ones with pistachios are my absolute favorite. This will be made this weekend. Good thing I am going to the store today.

  4. Love, love, love! Must make some of this for my next staff meeting.

  5. Terrific post! Wow. My husband will love this.


  6. I'm with MJ. Everything in my house is boring by comparison. Ooh, yum, Cleo!

  7. What a fascinating recipe. Looks delicious!

    ~ Krista

  8. Chef Connor made this afternoon!!!! He used saltines (I love the whole sweet/salty thing) on half of the pan and graham crackers on the other half (I need to go to the store!!); they are wonderful. Needless to say this is not on WW...but what is life without breaking of the food laws???!!!
    We all thank you from Chez Phillipe ;-)

  9. Cheers to everyone for your lovely comments today...

    Wendy - I was thinking of you when I made a version of the buttercrunch with margarine. I'm glad to report that it tastes just as good with margarine as it does with butter!

    MJ, Elizabeth, Avery, Julie, and Krista - Thank you all for dropping in today!

    Babs - TY. If you give it a try, I hope you and your adorable boys enjoy it, too.

    Nanc - I'm thrilled to hear Chef Connor took a *crack* at the recipe already (pun intended :)) TY for letting me know.

    Have a great week, everyone. Happy Passover! Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

    ~ Cleo Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  10. Passover is not going to be a long stretch of days of boring matzoh this year--I've got Cleo's Matzoh "Crack" to look forward to! Thanks, you brilliant woman - can't wait to try it.

    That video is one of my annual favorites - hilarious!

  11. OMG,this looks good! Thanks, Cleo! MJ wins awards for cracking us up! Happy Passover/Easter, everyone!

  12. Wow!! They're BEAUTIFUL! Great job! I am soo craving some right now! Can't wait to try them, thanks so much for sharing, I can't get over the pictures! =]

  13. This is so similar to something my Mom used to make with saltine crackers.....also like crack!! Looks delicisous enough to eat as a meal!

  14. Had this today at Wellness House. Delicious!

    Not sure who provided--maybe Whole Food, which donates unsold flowers. So glad to know what it was and to be able to forward recipe.