Tuesday, March 26, 2013

matzo toffee for real.

My most vivid memories of Passover are most likely a little different than most. At my house we always used the children's Haggadah which meant that a) our Seders lasted about twenty minutes b) there was a lot of "chanting" and "rapping" and noises involved ie: "let's rap about the seven plagues" and "let's all pretend like we're very tired after walking as long as the Jewish people did". So I've never actually been to a full-blown Seder dinner. Don't get me wrong, I'd totally enjoy every minute.

My love of Jewish culture comes from my mom's side of the family. Although the extent of my Jewish knowledge only reaches as far as knowing what's on a Seder plate, the prayer for lighting the candles on Hanukkah, and having the ability to throw around a few Yiddish phrases every now and then, my respect and love for the culture is more than abundant.

Which brings me to this recipe (PERFECT FOR PASSOVER. YES.). This is matzo toffee. The easiest "candy" you'll ever make and also probably one of the greatest things in the universe. After having to go to three grocery stores to find a box of matzo, I knew this just had to turn out in my favor. It did. Duh.

Let's do this.

We arrange matzo crackers on a cookie sheet, breaking some up to fill in all the spaces. We need to make good use of space, friends.

Butter is melted together with brown sugar, boils, and eventually thickens up to become the loveliest of caramel-like-substances.

Brown sugar butter heaven mixture gets a little vanilla extract mix-in and then is spread over dem matzo crackers.

After being in the oven for a short amount of time (NEVER SHORT ENOUGH), chocolate chips are dropped and scattered right on top. After they have time to melt, they get spread ALL. OVER. Matzo toffee love concoction is dressed up with anything your matzo-loving heart desires. I chose toasted almonds and coconut. 

Cool in the fridge. Break it up. Risk getting a stomach ache and eat all of it.

Matzo Toffee (hardly adapted from David Leibovitz)


1 cup butter or margarine or vegan butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4-6 matzo crackers
1 cup chocolate chips 
optional: toppings (toasted nuts, coconut, spriiiiinkles)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange matzo crackers on baking sheet, making sure to fill in any spaces with broken crackers.

Over medium heat, melt butter and sugar together. Let come to a boil and while still boiling, stir constantly for three minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour butter-sugar mixture over matzo and spread evenly using a rubber spatula.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, scatter chocolate chips on top, wait five minutes and spread melted chocolate evenly over crackers.

Top with toppings, if desired. Let cool in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. Break up and EAT.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

vegan peanut butter and jelly cookies.

I don't usually make cookies because I feel like I need to eat them all. I usually make cookies because I crave the process. It's comforting and familiar and I'd choose my house to smell like cookies rather than moth balls any day.

Something I do crave...constantly....is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (see what I'm getting at here?
Did you read the title of this post?). I'm a firm believer in the healing power of a really good PB&J, especially if someone else makes it for you.

We've got the best of both worlds here: a crazy easy cookie recipe and the comfort that ever popular
peanut butter and jelly combination.

Vegan Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies:


1 cup crunchy or creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

1/4 cup jam (any flavor)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all cookie ingredients together (minus the jam). Place one inch balls of dough on a prepared cookie sheet. Using your index finger, make a well in the middle of the ball, making sure to repair any major crackage that may result.

Fill wells with jam.

Bake for 12 minutes and let cool on pan.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

in a week and the greatest raw brownies.

It's been a week, you guys.

Between a mega Hispanic Linguistics exam, auditions for next year's classes...basically I was just nervous for the test.

I just wanted to make some brownies.

It's important to visit your local co-op on the weekends because weekends mean samples and samples mean FUN. I just needed a couple things this morning and was pleasantly surprised when I was treated to TOMATO SOUP. GRILLED CHEESE. TANGERINES. PEARS. COFFEE. THREE KINDS OF CHEESE. And a small man sampling his "genius" creation. Raw macaroons. I tried them, of course, and then said "These are real good, what's in them?" He froze up. He didn't want to tell me what was in those lemon poppy seed macaroons. "It's basically just coconut, lemon, and poppyseeds." I call bullshit on you, sir. And I will go home and make my own.

But not today! Because today was dedicated to the raw brownie!

"Why are you making us eat raw brownies, Danie?!"

Because I can. And I will. And they're delicious. And they're easy. And it's fun to pretend you're on a raw foods diet for about an hour (that's about all I can handle).

This recipe comes straight from My New Roots, a seriously stunning blog.

Rev up your food processors, friends.

What. This dark and squishy looking landscape isn't appetizing to you? Think again, suckers. They sure don't taste dark and squishy. Because they taste good.

The Raw Brownie (very slightly adapted from My New Roots)


2 cups whole walnuts
2.5 cups medjool dates, pitted (unless you want to crack your tooth in half. then don't pit them.)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Grind walnuts in food processor until fine. Add cocoa powder and salt to walnuts and process together. 
Add dates and vanilla to the walnut and cocoa combination and process until a dough forms. 
Mix almonds into dough.
Press into a 8x8 pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before slicing. Store in refrigerator.

By the way, I'm going to California in seven days to see SeƱor Mickey. Excited would be the underest of understatements.
By the way way, Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 Day Meditation Challenge starts tomorrow. Yes, Oprah. Yes, Deepak. Why aren't you signed up, silly?