Chocolate Toffee Matzoh with Figs & Pepitas

Matzoh—flat, cracker-like bread—is the traditional food for the Jewish holiday of Passover, when Jews are forbidden to eat bread or other leavened foods.  One of the most delicious and indulgent ways to dress up plain matzoh is to drench it in buttery toffee and rich chocolate. This is a beloved tradition among Passover dessert recipes that Jewish families look forward to all year, especially after eating preserved lemon chicken with almonds and California Figs.

Turn basic matzoh into an elegant, no-bake chocolate toffee matzoh by topping it with traditional Sephardic ingredients such as chopped California Figs and green pumpkin seeds (pepitas). For extra color and a hint of spice, you can also add pink and white peppercorns. This beautiful confection is a fitting way to end a Passover Seder or simply keep it around as a snack to enjoy during the eight day-long festival. It’s almost impossible to resist! When it’s not Passover, this same technique can be used to make California Fig and chocolate toffee with Saltines or other crispy, flat crackers.

Turn your matzoh into chocolate toffee matzoh and you'll tuck this into your favorite Passover dessert recipes file.

Chocolate Toffee Matzoh with Figs & Pepitas

Course Dessert

Ingredients

  • 4 boards matzoh
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup or light corn syrup
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, stemmed and diced
  • 1/4 cup green pumpkinseeds (pepitas)
  • 1 tablespoon pink or white peppercorns (optional)

Instructions

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place two boards of matzo on each baking sheet.

  2. Melt butter in a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan.

  3. Add sugar, water, and syrup to the pan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, do not stir again. (Stirring can cause the sugar to crystallize and make the toffee grainy. If sugar crystals appear on the side of the saucepan, brush them down with a pastry brush dipped in water.)

  4. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and boil until caramel reaches the hard crack stage (300°F) on a candy thermometer), approximately 8 to 10 minutes. You will see the mixture darken, and it will begin to smell like caramel.

  5. Pour toffee mixture over matzoh and spread evenly. Allow toffee to firm up for a few minutes.

  6. While toffee is cooling, place chocolate chips in a glass bowl and microwave on medium power for 30 seconds. Stir. (If chocolate is not completely melted, continue microwaving for thirty-second intervals and pausing to stir until melted.)

  7. When toffee is set, pour melted chocolate over matzoh boards and spread with an offset spatula to coat toffee evenly.

  8. While chocolate is still warm, top each piece of matzoh with chopped figs, pepitas, and peppercorns, if using.

  9. Allow chocolate to cool completely, about one hour. Break into pieces with your hands. Store chocolate toffee matzoh in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

Note: When making toffee, it’s important to add an inverted sugar, such as corn syrup, to prevent the granulated sugar from crystallizing. However, many people do not consider corn syrup to be kosher for Passover. Thus, I suggest using Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which is a British cane syrup for use in Passover dessert recipes. You can find it in better grocery stores or online.

Recipe and photo by Emily Paster

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and tag us @valleyfig —we’d love to see what you’re cooking on Instagram and Facebook!

This Passover, look forward to making chocolate toffee matzoh. It will quickly become one of your favorite Passover dessert recipes, especially topped with chopped California Figs and pepitas.

Preserved Lemon Chicken with Almonds and Figs

Preserved Lemon Chicken with California Figs and Almonds is a perfectly delicious main dish for Passover.

This Sephardic-inspired dish is one of our favorite chicken recipes for Passover Seders. With preserved lemon, a hint of sweetness from California figs, and warm spices of cinnamon and allspice, this dish of chicken with almonds is great the rest of the year too. Serve with quinoa or mashed potatoes to soak up the fragrant sauce.

One of the first fruits to be cultivated by people, figs are as meaningful and symbolic as they are sweet and delicious. Jews consider figs to be particularly holy because they were one of the seven staple foods, known as the Seven Species, eaten by Jews in the land of Israel during Biblical times.

Preserved Lemon Chicken with Almonds & Figs

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 whole cut-up chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 3 shallots, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon diced preserved lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Mission Figs
  • 5 sprigs thyme plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Pat dry the chicken pieces and season well with salt and pepper.

  2. Place the chicken pieces skin-side down in the skillet and cook until the skin is golden brown, about ten minutes. Turn and brown the other side.

  3. Remove chicken to a plate. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan.

  4. Add the shallots, garlic and preserved lemon to the pan and sauté over medium heat until softened, about five minutes.

  5. Add the cinnamon and allspice and sauté a few additional minutes until fragrant.

  6. Add the chicken broth to the pan and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.

  7. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, arranging them in a single layer. Add the figs and thyme and raise the heat to high.

  8. Bring the liquid to a boil, then cover the skillet and turn heat down to low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and registers 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 20 minutes.

  9. While the chicken is cooking, toast the almonds in a dry skillet for a few minutes until golden and fragrant - watch carefully so that they don't burn.

  10. To serve, arrange the chicken and figs on a platter. Spoon sauce over chicken and top with toasted almonds. Garnish with a few additional sprigs of thyme if desired.

Recipe Notes

Note: A staple of Middle Eastern cooking, preserved lemons add a unique pickled tanginess to North African-inspired dishes such as this one. You can find jars of preserved lemons in good grocery stores or Middle Eastern markets or make your own. If you are not able to source preserved lemons, you can substitute cooked fresh lemon. Combine one thinly sliced lemon with a half cup of fresh lemon juice and two teaspoons of kosher salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lemon slices are tender, about ten minutes. Cool and chop.

Recipe and photo by Emily Paster