Why matzo granola? Simple. It’s the Passover version of granola.
During Passover, Jews do not eat the grains from which matzo may be made: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt, (collectively called “chametz”) except limited ways that involve making sure they don’t rise, nor do we use yeast. In addition, some Jews do not eat rice, seeds or legumes.
I’m quite fond of granola. So when Passover arrives and I have to give up my favorite granola for a week, I’m not a happy camper. I can give up pasta, and I’m alright substituting matzo and Passover rolls for bread, but abstaining from oat-based granola had been a sacrifice, at least up to now.
This year I decided to create a matzo granola that would go well with my morning yogurt during the 7-day observance of Passover. My daughter (visiting for the holiday) pronounced my new recipe a success. Coming into the house just after a batch came out of the oven, she asked what the lovely aroma was. When I answered that I had just made some matzo granola, she grabbed a spoonful to taste, then went back for more to eat as an afternoon snack. This recipe makes 2 pounds, which I’m betting won’t last through the week.
This matzo granola is easy to make and the recipe is versatile.
Some matzo granola recipes call for what is called matzo farfel. If you’re a cheapskate like me, don’t buy it. Farfel is more expensive than an equivalent amount of matzo (particularly if you bought a multi-carton pack of matzo), and it is just broken up pieces of matzo. Why not save some money and break the matzo yourself? It’s not hard work and takes just a few minutes. You can even do it while talking to your mother on the phone. (Just kidding – you should pay full attention to your mom while conversing with her 🙂 .
The ingredients are simple: matzo; spices; nuts; sweetener; unsweetened coconut; and the optional dried fruit; .
Matzo granola is a perfect Passover breakfast or snack. This recipe is a template - switch up the ingredients to make it your own!
- 6 sheets matzo
- 2 cups nuts, roughly chopped
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1/4 cup Ashenazic charoset or finely chopped fresh apple
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup canola or similar (flavorless) oil
- 2-3 cups dried fruit, chopped
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Break the matzo over the bowl into small pieces approximately the size of your thumb up to the first joint (i.e. slightly larger than your thumbnail.) It’s worthwhile to break one sheet of matzo at a time to keep the pieces relatively uniform and avoid making a huge pile of crumbs. There is no need to obsess over the size of each matzo piece – just make them small enough to vaguely resemble cereal pieces.
Add the coconut and chopped nuts and mix all those dry ingredients.
Put all the sweeteners and spices (maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and charoset or chopped apple) and the oil into the small pot and cook them under a low heat until combined, stirring occasionally.
Add the liquid to the large bowl and toss until all the dry ingredients are coated.
Spread the granola on 2 cookie sheets. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, turning the granola over with a spatula about halfway through so that the granola cooks evenly. Either bake the cookie sheets one at a time or reverse them on the oven shelves halfway through. Watch the progress of the baking after about 20 minutes, because the granola can go from lightly browned to burned in a short time.
The granola will still be a bit soft when it comes out of the oven. Let it rest on the cookie sheets for at least 10 minutes and the granola becomes crunchy. After the mixture has cooled, stir the chopped dried fruit into the baked granola.
I love Ashkenazic charoset in this granola, but diced apple works as well.
For the fruit, I often go simple, using just dark and yellow raisins and cranberries. If you are using larger fruits, such as dried apricots, cut them into bite-sizes pieces.
Happy Passover or chag sameach as we say.