Who Invented The Matzo Toffee Recipe?

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and matzo toffee is certainly a product of necessity. In this case, however, "necessity" came in the form of a picky toddler. Matzo toffee, which is sometimes called matzo buttercrunch or matzo crack, is the creation of Jewish mother and food writer Marcy Goldman. The recipe dates back to Passover in 1985, when Goldman attempted to fulfill the limited taste preferences of her toddler son without straying from the dietary restrictions of the holiday. The now Smithsonian-recognized solution was to transform plain, bland matzo into sweet, buttery toffee.

Goldman drew inspiration from a classic soda cracker toffee recipe she had seen, reasoning that matzo is, after all, essentially a giant cracker. Her original recipe combines butter and brown sugar in a pot to boil into a thick caramel, which she immediately pours over squares of matzo before baking to crispy perfection. She graciously shared her Passover-friendly take on soda cracker toffee with the world, first through her contributions as a freelance writer to numerous national and international newspapers and later in a cookbook she wrote entitled "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking."

Nearly 40 years later, Goldman's simple recipe is as well-known as classic Passover recipes like flourless chocolate tortes and matzo brei. It's been shared, enjoyed, and craved by each new generation of Passover observers. Matzo toffee is an easily executed, perfectly crunchy, sweet, and decadent dessert that is downright addictive.

Adaptations on the original matzo toffee recipe

Goldman's original recipe is a simple three-ingredient toffee, but even she has made upgrades and adaptations over the years. Just as there are countless toffee flavors, you can similarly add your favorite dessert flavors through extra layers of sauces, jams, and garnishes. A simple upgrade would be to add vanilla or almond extract to the butter-toffee mixture as it bubbles.

You can adorn toffee-covered matzo with chocolate chips, dried fruit, chopped nuts, or sweetened shredded coconut before baking it. You can also drizzle melted chocolate over hardened matzo toffee. For a take on black and white cookies, you can dunk matzo toffee into dark chocolate and drizzle with white chocolate or vice versa. Coat matzo toffee with white chocolate and top with candy canes for a refreshing and extra-crunchy iteration of peppermint bark.

Another idea is to incorporate matzo toffee into other dessert recipes. Break bits of matzo toffee over scoops of ice cream, chocolate mousse, or vanilla custard. You can also place matzo toffee in plastic bags and whack them with a rolling pin to create moist, makeshift crusts for flourless chocolate tortes or bases for kosher cheesecakes.