Chocolate Matzoh Farfel Clusters
These little joy-filled clusters are crowd-pleasers. They up the happiness quotient at any Passover dessert table. The original recipe comes to us courtesy of Judy Zeidler and her wonderful book, The Gourmet Jewish Cook. For those of you not acquainted with matzoh farfel, they’re simply matzoh that have been all broken up, placed in a box and sold for your use in all manner of Passover dishes – from a dizzying variety of kugels to these little wonders.
Judy Zeidler melts chocolate, then combines it with toasted matzoh farfel and toasted pecans.
I also like to add some raisins to make my family happy, especially Bill, my brother-in-law (more like the best brother I could hope for). I’ve also tried this recipe with other kinds of nuts, coarsely chopped almonds or walnuts. Sometimes I use unsweetened coconut as in the version below.
I’ve tried cut-up apricots too, but I’d rather dip the ends of dried apricots in good melted chocolate. The flavor and texture of the apricots comes through a lot better that way.
Once you try these you just might jump up and down and yell Matzoh Farfel repeatedly until you find yourself screaming FATSO MARFEL!!
Okay. Who is Marfel and why are you calling him a fatso? And on a holiday about physical and spiritual redemption, no less!
Never mind. Have another and take your seat so we can get back to the Seder.
CHOCOLATE MATZOH FARFEL CLUSTERS
Ingredients:14-16 oz. good semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate 2 c. matzoh farfel, toasted 1 c. chopped pecans (or walnuts or almonds), toasted 3/4 c. raisins, dark or golden 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut (optional)
Note: If allergic to nuts, up the amount of raisins to 1 1/2 cups.
If not making for Passover, broken-up saltine-type crackers (toasted?) would probably work as a substitute for the matzoh farfel.
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast matzoh farfel on a large, ungreased baking sheet for 5 minutes. Add nuts, toss with matzoh farfel and place in oven for 5 more minutes, or until nuts are fragrant. Don’t leave the kitchen, as nuts have an uncanny tendency to burn the minute you turn your back on them.
Coarsely chop the chocolate with a sharp knife. Do this by holding the knife by both ends and slowly pushing down as you gently rock the knife back and forth. Have I made you crazy? I apologize. It’s actually fun to watch chocolate break off in shards. Who knows? You may be inspired to take up ice sculpting.
Put half the chocolate in a large glass bowl and microwave at half power for 1 minute. Stir vigorously with a spoon and add the remaining chocolate, continuing to stir. If not fully melted, place in microwave at half power for 30 seconds more. Stir until smooth. It may need an additional 30 seconds, however the rapid stirring of the melted chocolate is a very gentle way to fully melt the chocolate without it turning an ashen shade of gray. That we don’t want. Add matzoh farfel, nuts, raisins and optional coconut, and mix thoroughly. Spoon mixture onto a waxed paper or foil-lined baking sheet, or into ruffled paper candy cups. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes. To serve, peel clusters off the waxed paper and place on platter, or simply serve in the candy cups.
Optional: Once the clusters are on a baking sheet or in cups, sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt over the tops (and/or a little grated unsweetened coconut -I found some this year that was much finer than the shredded variety). The sea salt was a BIG hit and the coconut looked very pretty.
Makes about 40 clusters. Will keep in fridge for at least a week, but chances are they’ll mysteriously disappear long before then.