Chefs and culinary influencers rise to matzah challenge

‘Tis the season of all things matzah, the cardboard-like, square-shaped crackers eaten instead of bread throughout the eight days of the Passover holiday.

But while some shun the flat flavor of matzah, or bemoan its sometimes constipating character, culinary types the world over welcome the challenge of playing with matzah, and inserting it into every kind of meal.

When looking for Passover recipe inspiration, social media is the destination this season.

Influencers, foodies and kitchen cooks are posting their favorite matzah creations, from matzah toffee, matzah bark and matzah fairy toast (matzah spread with white chocolate and sprinkles) to more savory flavors, such as avocado matzah and, of course, matzah pizza.

New York City-based Chef Einat Admony offers an Instagram reel of her matzah kubanah, a take-off of the towering Yemenite bread usually eaten on Shabbat, made this week with 15 sheets of matzah, along with milk, butter, eggs and sugar.

Israeli food blogger Efrat Lichtenstadt swapped out matzah for Israeli biscuit cookies in her chocolate matzah layer cake, made with Roladin’s chocolate-hazelnut spread, the Israeli bakery chain’s takeoff of Nutella, another favorite for spreading on matzah.

Cookbook writer Jake Cohen’s #matzahchallenge avocado matzah. (Courtesy: Jake Cohen)

Cookbook writer Jake Cohen, author of “Jew-Ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch,” and contributor to “Food52,” “Food & Wine” and “Real Simple,” usually posts challah braiding videos and recipes on Instagram and TikTok, but opted this week for matzah pizza and a beauteous bullseye egg matzah toast, laden with curled slices of avocado, red onion and watermelon radish.

Cohen, along with other famous foodies, posted his Passover treats with the hashtag #MatzahChallenge, a project started by UJA Federation of New York.

The Jewish organization created the April 15-23 challenge to raise funds for humanitarian aid for Ukraine, with each social media post matched with $18 by an anonymous donor.

People can post on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook as many times as they like and tag their friends to post as well, raising money to provide food, shelter, transport and emergency medical units funded by UJA partners in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

‘Sababa’ writer Adeena Sussman’s Matzo Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal, created for the eight-day Passover holiday. (Courtesy: Adeena Sussman)

“Sababa” cookbook author Adeena Sussman — who cowrites Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook series — posted several #matzahchallenge ideas, and snared a mention in People Magazine with her “shatteringly crispy crunchy” creation of Matzo Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal for Passover.

Sussman smeared butter on a matzah board, sprinkling it with sugar, cinnamon and some flaky sea salt, then broiling it for 3-4 minutes, letting it cool and then breaking it into pieces and pouring milk over a sweet bowlful of the crunchy stuff.

Adeena Sussman’s Matzo Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal

Make 1 bowl (recipe can be multiplied)

1 matzo board
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons Demerara sugar (Sugar In The Raw), or regular sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt

Arrange a rack in the top third of the oven (about 6-8 inches from the broiler) and preheat the broiler. Place the matzo on a small baking sheet.

Gently spread butter all over the matzo, then sprinkle the sugar evenly over the matzah. Dust the cinnamon over the matzo, sprinkle salt on top, and broil until the sugar bubbles and the top turns a deep mahogany color (checking on it often as it can burn fast!), 3-4 minutes.

Let cool completely, then break into small pieces. Serve in a bowl with milk.

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