Before we get to our Coconut Almond Mazto Crack, let me tell you how I gained 15 pounds the winter of my sophomore year in college. Firstly, it was cold. Much colder than the 60 degree winters of Southern California that I had grown used to. I didn’t want to do anything except eat Banana Bread PB&J sandwiches. (Damn you, Bon Appétit catering.)
Secondly. On my way to an 8 am class, I slipped on black ice in the parking lot of the business school, trying to shave a minute off my commute since this professor docked you every minute you were late to class. A kindly old lady helped me limp to class. When I got to class, 3 minutes late and with 3 points docked off my daily participation grade, I realized that my knee felt damp and cold. Looking down at the dark patch, I pushed aside the ripped fabric and saw that I was indeed bleeding, profusely. I raised my hand to ask if I could go the restroom since you were also penalized for this act. (What is this? Second grade?) The Professor, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, haughtily asked why, only 5 minutes into class, I needed to leave. You would think, “I’m bleeding”, would be good enough, but I needed a classmate to glance over and corroborate my story. I was excused to clean myself up and find a band-aid. (Fun fact. Nowhere in the business school is there a first aid kit.) So, I hobbled all the way back to the Student Health Center, which really isn’t a long walk, but when you’ve got a bum, bleeding, and extremely painful knee on black ice, it does elongate the journey. A nurse was nice enough to “irrigate” my large & deep abrasion. That’s a nice way of saying “I’m going to pour saline all over your knee, over and over again and then start picking out the gravel with tweezers.” Bandaged up, I limped back to my dorm and got to enjoy and extremely swollen and stiff knee for the next month. As one can image, the knee and its skin are pretty useful day to day. Say, for example, climbing stairs to your dorm or working out to combat the extra pounds. Needless to say, I was extremely sedentary for that period of time, unable to expend my excess caloric intake.
Ah and of course, the pièce de résistance. We had just celebrated Passover and two of my roommates, Daniella and Shelly, had just spent a whole day making Matzo Crack. A WHOLE DAY! Look, you don’t need a whole day, this stuff only takes 15 minutes to make. The rest is just cooling time. This should give you an idea of how much they made. There was peppermint mazto crack (my favorite), original, butterscotch, white chocolate with festive sprinkles, peanut butter, and many more. I had to try all of them, of course, and would just keep hopping over to our mini fridge for more. One before class, one on the way to class, one to eat during class when I felt myself falling asleep, one as an after lunch dessert, one for that late afternoon hump, one after dinner, one during homework, and one before bed. You get the idea. I got real fat, real fast.
So. Maybe I lost you in my digression, but now you know why it’s called Mazto Crack. I can’t say I’ve been addicted to anything else, but this stuff probably came pretty close to the medical definition. This year, I decided to test myself self-restraint and make a batch of Coconut Almond Mazto Crack with leftover, stale mazto. I can proudly say I only let myself eat a single piece, immediately packing away the highly habit-forming chocolate caramel crackers for friends as a sweet little holiday gift.
Coconut Almond Mazto Crack fast, easy, and pretty much foolproof. Cover a sheet pan completely with tin foil as the caramel gets very greasy so you want a little extra help in the cleanup department. Place a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper on top so your caramel crackers easily release once finished. You don’t want pieces of tin foil stuck to your lovely Coconut Almond Mazto Crack, do you?
Arrange the matzo to cover the pan in one layer. Chances are, you’ll have to break up some sheets to fill the pan, and that’s OK. You can also use saltines if you don’t have matzo, just omit the salt from the caramel.
Now its time for the sticky stuff. Melt your sugar and butter in a heavy saucepot. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat so it can simmer for 3 minutes as you continually stir. Once it thickens up, take it off the heat and add the salt and vanilla. Pour that golden caramel over the mazto, spreading with a rubber or offset spatula to even coat the crackers, and be quick about it! Once it cools, it will be too viscous to move around.
Stick that pan in 350 F oven and bake for 15 minutes. If you see the caramel starting to burn (it’s more likely that you’ll smell it first), reduce the heat or remove from the oven. While the pan is hot, sprinkle your chocolate over the crackers. Let the chips hang out for a couple minutes until the residual heat from the crackers and pan melt the chocolate. Spread the chocolate until it even coats the crackers. If you are just crazy for more chocolate, you can always put another cup or two on top. It will just increase the thickness (and therefore, tastiness) of the Coconut Almond Mazto Crack.
Sprinkle the toasted almonds and coconut on top and then give the pan a little side to side shake to make sure all the toppings are touching the melted chocolate that will glue them to the Mazto Crack. Let it cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge until the chocolate has set. The Coconut Almond Mazto Crack will have solidified into one big hunk, but the silicone mat or parchment paper should easily peel off the bottom. Now’s the fun part! Break up that huge crackers into smaller pieces. Eat them all yourself, or be generous and get others hopelessly hooked on this aptly named, crack.
And by no means do you have to make Coconut Almond Mazto Crack. You can mix peanut butter chips with the chocolate chips, top with salted, roasted peanuts for a Reese’s inspired Mazto Crack. Or top with crushed candy canes for a festive, cool, and extra crunchy Peppermint Mazto Crack. (That one’s my downfall.) Maybe you’re fancy and want to put candied orange peels and crystallized ginger on your adult Mazto Crack. I’m 99% anything you want to put on Mazto Crack will not disappoint. (Candied bacon, anyone?) The possibilities are endless, so go out and make your family and friends both love and hate you. Huh, kind of like a drug dealer…
P.S. Good news; I have since lost the aforementioned pounds. Probably because Daniella and Shelly can no longer leave platters of this crack around my apartment. <3