March 23, 2009 at 4:36 pm (A (4 stars, love, favorite), Dessert, Jewish, Other, Website / blog)

I’ve been trying out recipes for Passover this month, and came across Marcy Goldman’s “Trademark, Most Requested, Absolutely Magnificent Matzoh Caramel Crunch“.  Given the title, it was hard to resist.  It was pretty easy to make, and came out well, except that the caramel ended up quite shiny and hard–more like a toffee than a caramel.  Hence, Derek dubbed the dish “Toffikomen”, a play on toffee and afikomen.

Everyone liked the dessert, but we thought it really needed a sprinkle of salt.  I used milk chocolate chips, but I think I would have preferred a darker, more bittersweet chocolate, to contrast with the sweet toffee.  Derek disagreed.  On the other hand, Derek claimed he could taste the matzoh even through the toffee and chocolate, but I’m not sure I could.

The texture was nice and crunchy, but the matzohs didn’t look very pretty.  The chocolate chips spread across the top had a matte brown appearance that was simply not attractive.  I think that next time I’ll sprinkled sliced, toasted almonds on top, or coconut, or something else decorative.  Derek said the dessert tasted essentially like a matzoh candy bar, so any type of candy bar ingredient would work well I’d think.

I’d like to make this for Passover, as it was tasty, but it’s not really right for a dessert after a full meal.  It seems more like a snack, or something you’d have with your afternoon tea.

Rating: B+
Derek: A-

Update April 2013: 

This year I more carefully measured the amounts I used, and I added a big pinch of salt and a half teaspoon of vanilla, a la David Lebovitz:

  • 4-6 unsalted matzohs (my cookie sheet fit four matzohs plus a few edges from a fifth matzoh)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 230g) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (215g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • big pinch of sea salt + flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top
  • 1 cup (160g) chocolate chips or coarsely chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (80g) toasted sliced almonds (optional)


1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17″, 28 x 42cm) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).

2. Line the bottom of the sheet with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.

3. In a 3-4 quart (3-4l) heavy duty saucepan (note: I used a 2-quart saucepan), melt the butter and brown sugar together, and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof spatula.

4. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F (175C) degrees. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but make sure it’s not burning every once in a while. If it is burning in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F (160C), then replace the pan.

5. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread with an offset spatula.

6. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs. Let cool completely, the break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week.

My notes:

I sprinkled the whole thing with fleur de sel, and then topped one quarter with toasted pecan pieces, one quarter with cocoa nibs, one quarter with shredded coconut, and left one quarter plain.  The toppings certainly helps the appearance.  I couldn’t really taste the coconut (the pieces were too small) or the nibs (although they added a nice crunch).  The pecans added a nice nutty flavor, but sometimes fell off.  Next time I’ll add sliced almonds to the last quarter.

I served this again at our 2013 Passover seder.  One recipe was plenty for 13 people (along with another small dessert).  The thirteen of us finished off all of the toffikomen and almost all of the almond cookies.

The original recipe by Mary Goldman calls for 3/4 cup corasely chopped chocolate chips, Liebowitz calls for 1 cup, and Smitten Kitchen calls for 1.5 cups.  This time I used about 1 cup (160g) and I thought it was plenty, although I would have preferred a darker chocolate rather than my semi-sweet chocolate chips which were quite sweet in combination with the toffee.


  1. Katrina said,

    Ooh, this sounds like one of Dan’s trademark desserts, except he makes it with saltine crackers, which maybe gives it the salt you thought it lacked…

  2. captious said,

    Besides saltines vs matzoh, is the recipe really exactly the same? Do Dan’s saltines look as unappetizing as my matzoh’s looked?

  3. Vegetarian Passover 2009 « From the kitchen of a captious vegetarian said,

    […] Mignardise:  toffikomen […]

  4. Vegetarian Passover 2011 « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] Dessert: orange, nut, honey cake; lemon bars with a matzoh-nut crust;  toffikomen […]

  5. Passover 2013 | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] toffikomen and almond-lemon […]

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