Claire Saffitz’s Honey & Tahini Toffee Matzo. Photo by Peggy Grodinsky

More than 20 years ago, my then coworker and dear friend Mitchell came to my office before the Passover holiday bearing “matzo crunch,” a homemade candy that was new to me.

Matzo has symbolic importance for the eight-day holiday, but let’s face it, it’s a bland cracker made from flour, water and salt. But the treat he introduced me to that day supercharged things, drenching squares of matzo in melted butter and brown sugar, and coating them with melted chocolate. Given the same treatment, an old sneaker would probably taste good.

The recipe for matzo crunch has since made the rounds. In the intervening years, somebody has brought it to pretty much every Passover Seder I’ve attended, and guests’ enthusiasm for it never wanes.

I predict the same trajectory for Honey & Tahini Toffee Matzo, a recipe I ran into in celebrity baker Claire Saffitz’s latest cookbook, “What’s for Dessert?”

I snagged the book, a big beautiful hardback, for just 50 cents (!) at the annual lawn sale last summer of the Dorcas Society in Buxton. And I’ve been patiently waiting to try this recipe for more than half a year. With Passover approaching (it starts at sunset on Monday), I finally gave it a whirl. It is, IMHO, the very definition of moreish, and the amount I managed to consume in just a few sittings was an embarrassment.

The unbearable situation in Gaza has cast a heavy pall over what is generally a joyful holiday. It is heartbreaking, so while dessert can’t bring peace to the Middle East, maybe take the smallest bit of sweet where you can?


Honey & Tahini Toffee Matzo

Recipe from “What’s for Dessert?” by Claire Saffitz. She calls for 4 to 5 sheets of matzo. I found I had enough topping for as much as 7 or 8.

4 to 5 sheets plain salted matzo

3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon Morton kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda


1 cup packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup tahini

Line an 18-by-13-inch sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or cover it entirely with foil, ensuring that the foil extends up and over all four sides of the pan. Arrange the matzo sheets on the prepared pan so they cover the entire pan with no gaps, breaking the sheets to fit as needed. Set aside.

Arrange an oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.


Toss the sesame seeds with the salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Combine the brown sugar, butter, honey, tahini and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, to dissolve the sugar and melt the butter. Once it has boiled, continue to stir often, until the mixture has reduced by about half, teeming with large, slow bubbles and slightly darkened, about 5 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the sesame seed mixture and stir quickly to combine (it may foam). Immediately scrap the toffee mixture onto the matzo in the pan, distributing it as evenly as possible. Working quickly, use a small offset spatula, to spread it over any bare spots on the matzo.

Transfer the sheet to the oven. Bake until the toffee is a deep golden brown and the bubbling has mostly subsided, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan after 20 minutes. Let the toffee matzo cool completely on the pan, then peel it away from the baking mat or foil and break into pieces.

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