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How I (Almost) Made My Way Through 5 Pounds of Matzo

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With the end of Passover rapidly approaching, it’s possible that you might have more matzo on hand than you’ll eat in the next few days.

And, although I don’t celebrate Passover, due to an impulse Amazon purchase, I am now familiar with having more matzo on hand that you’re sure what to do with—5 pounds of it to be precise. Thanks to longtime Food52er witloof, a new matzo-focused cookbook, and today’s featured recipe from the community, I’ve (mostly*) made my way through my first-ever matzo stash. Here’s how:

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Photo by James Ransom

Witloof told me about an 8-layer matzo freezer cake that involved briefly dipping matzo in concord grape wine and icing the matzo “cake” layers with an egg, sugar, margarine, and chocolate mix. She candidly stated, “I don't think I'd enjoy eating this anymore, but maybe someone will!” She also also steered me to try Caramel Matzoh Crunch. My sentiments echoed witloof’s on the cake, but I was thrilled I'd chosen to make a double-batch of the caramel and chocolate–covered matzo—so good, it made me upset that I hadn’t been introduced to matzo earlier. She then walked me through making matzo brei, a dish so good I barely shifted an inch from the pan I’d cooked it in—I just ate it standing up in the kitchen.

From Matzo: 35 Recipes for Passover and All Year Long, I made Matzo Spanikopita, and applied the book's idea of deep-frying matzo pieces for nachos to making tostadas, by deep-frying whole sheets instead.

Chocolate-Covered Matzo

Chocolate-Covered Matzo by Sarah Jampel

Matzo Spanakopita

Matzo Spanakopita by Sarah Jampel

I’ve enjoyed all of the savory applications (and I’ve eaten more than one sheet slathered with butter and topped with flaky salt), but I’ve found I enjoy matzo most in desserts. Which is why I’ve also made more than one batch of butter, sugar, flowers' Sweet Sesame Matzo Bars—I love the mix of almond, sesame, and citrus flavors. Here’s what butter, sugar, flowers has to say about them:

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Growing up, we'd sometimes find ourselves with extra boxes of matzo around the house. The surplus felt like no surprise, thanks to matzo’s infamous bland and dry qualities. I have vivid memories of making matzo-crust pizzas, matzo-speckled omelets, and peanut butter and jelly matzo-wiches (crunch!).

As an adult I fell in love with baking and dessert-making, creating recipes with oft-unusual ingredients, and sharing them on my blog. With my constant eye for dessert potential, it wasn’t long before matzo lured me in again with its blank-canvas quality and distinctive browned edges.

For this recipe, I wanted to transform a good amount of matzo into something flavorful and luscious using a rather easy process. The result has become a springtime favorite which a friend of mine calls “matzo baklava” because of its lightweight crunch, honey, and nuttiness.

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Sweet Sesame Matzo Bars

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Makes a 9x13 pan (32 bars)
  • 1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
  • 10 ounces plain matzo (about 8 cups once broken, loosely packed)
  • 14 ounces almond paste (OR 7 ounces almond paste plus 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter**)
  • 2 medium oranges
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

*I still have just over one box left. I’m planning to make matzo meal pancakes and a fattoush-type salad. Let me know if you have other suggestions, as one box goes a surprisingly long way!

Know of a great recipe hiding in the Food52 archives that uses an overlooked kitchen scrap? Tell me about it! Send me an email ([email protected]) or tell all in the comments: I want to know how you're turning what would otherwise be trash into a dish to treasure!

Tags: cooking with scraps, matzo