Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.
This week, a breakfast that you will actually enjoy eating during Passover (and that you should make even if you're not observing the holiday).
There are certain things I love about Passover, but trying to find suitable food to eat for breakfast is not one of them. Between the packaging peanuts masquerading as Fruit Loops (you're not fooling anyone, Fruity Rings) and the easily exhausted combination of matzo and cream cheese, it's hard to find something that even comes close to the breakfast foods forbidden during the holiday (cereal, muffins, bagels, most other delicious things). It's easy to cope with Passover lunches and dinners (try to convince me that you don't love a spinach-matzo casserole), but breakfast is where I often lose my resolve.
All of this changed, however, when I discovered Matzolah during my senior year of college. My friends and I found packages of it in the Jewish student center on campus and spent the next eight days hoarding it. We squirreled away as many boxes as we could manage, sheltering them in our dorm rooms after every meal. When our other friends asked us where this mysteriously edible breakfast came from, we feigned ignorance.
More: What else do I refuse to share during Passover? Chocolate-covered matzo.
I'm on my own this Passover for the first time and Matzolah is out of my price range (considering the quantity I plan to consume once Passover begins -- and after Passover ends, too). I grieved at first, but then I raised my head and set out to make my own version, which is actually incredibly easy to do. The innately crunchy matzo gets a sugary, cinnamon-y coating that acts as a magnet, attracting chopped nuts and jammy dried fruit into large clusters. Feel free to use the spices, nuts, and fruits of your choosing. No matter what you pick, this is going to be the best Passover breakfast and snack option available (with the exception, maybe, of matzo brei).
Even if you're not celebrating Passover, I'd still urge you to try your favorite granola recipe with matzo in place of oats. When I tested this granola in our kitchen, it took the editors about 30 minutes to finish the entire batch. And keep in mind that Passover is still a week away.
Serves 6 to 8
cups crumbled matzo
(3 to 4 sheets)
3/4 cup roughly chopped pecans
3/4 cup roughly chopped almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup grated apple
1 pinch coarse salt
1/2 cup (or more) chopped dried figs
1/2 cup (or more) chopped dates
Preheat the oven to 300° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To get 2 cups of crumbled matzo, use your fingers to find the fault lines in the sheets. Crumble 3 or 4 sheets into a large bowl, stopping when you have 2 cups of coin-sized matzo chips. Chop up the dates and figs into small pieces and set them aside.
Add the rest of the nuts and the coconut flakes to the bowl and stir to mix. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the honey, olive oil, brown sugar, spices, and grated apple (if you have leftover charoset that you want to put in place of the apple, that's even better). Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then remove the pan from the heat.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with a big pinch of coarse salt and mix until the matzo pieces are evenly coated.
Spread the mixture onto the baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. When the matzo is dry and toasted and the coconut is golden, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the granola cool completely -- it will crisp up even more as it cools.
Mix in the dried fruit, then enjoy the granola with milk or yogurt, or simply as a snack. Treasure this granola as your Passover survival food.
Photos by Bobbi Lin