By Kendra Vizcaino-Lico
Move that matzoh! Don't pass up the opportunity to use your extra matzoh for more than snacking. Charoset may be the traditional representation of mortar at Passover, but you can build this festive abode using other edible construction materials like kosher candies, chocolates, and peanut butter. This craft is fun for the whole family and makes a beautiful decoration for your hametz-free home.
Ingredients & Equipment
A rectangular piece of cardboard (about 12 by 14 inches)
5 sheets of matzoh
2 cups peanut butter (see Editor's Note)
A pastry bag or resealable plastic bag
1 cup matzoh meal
Assorted kosher-for-Passover candies and chocolates, such as fruit slices, marshmallow twists, and jelly rings
Editor's Note: Some denominations of Judaism forbid consuming peanuts and peanut products during Passover. Feel free to swap in another variety of nut butter, such as cashew or almond, or make an inedible version of this matzoh home using craft glue.
Create the Base
Before you start crafting, cover your work surface with newspaper or a plastic drop cloth to protect it from spills. Wrap the cardboard base in aluminum foil to make a nice, clean foundation for the house. Next, spread a thin, even coat of peanut butter on the surface of the foil.
Construct the House Walls
First, fill a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag with about 1 cup of peanut butter and snip off the tip to form a quarter-inch opening. To begin building, stand two pieces of matzoh, with the edges forming a right angle to one other, upright on the cardboard base. Using the pastry bag, pipe a line of peanut butter along the seam where the two pieces of matzoh meet. Repeat with two more pieces of matzoh to form a square. Then pipe peanut butter into the inside corners and along the inside of the base to reinforce the structure.
With the four walls intact, sprinkle the matzoh meal on the peanut butter surrounding the house, to create the appearance of sand. Carefully transfer the entire structure into the refrigerator to chill and set for 1 to 2 hours.
Assemble the Roof
Place a sheet of matzoh on a plate (for easy transfer to the fridge at the end of this step). Spread the matzoh with a thin layer of peanut butter, then place your choice of chocolates or candies on top of the peanut butter to fashion the roof "tiles." We opted for chocolate-covered marshmallow twists, but you can use other kosher candies or create a shingled look by layering matzoh crackers.
Refrigerate the roof for 1 hour until it's chilled and set. If your roof is particularly heavy, you can build some extra support into the house structure. In that case, remove the house from the refrigerator briefly and place an additional support sheet of matzoh vertically inside the square base, securing it in place with additional peanut butter. The house does not need to be refrigerated again and the roof can be placed securely on top of the structure.
Decorate the House
Take your pick of the suggestions below, or let your imagination run wild as you customize the appearance of your abode:
Windows: Cut round, flat, kosher jelly candies into squares to create four-pane windows; attach them to the sides of the house using peanut butter. Alternately, create circular windows by attaching chocolate-covered jelly rings to the house walls.
Door: Create the perfect entryway by placing two chocolate-covered marshmallow twists vertically, side by side, on the front of the house.
Fence: Pipe a line of peanut butter along the outer edge of the base and place jelly fruit slices, cut side down, on top of it.
Path: Secure two matzoh crackers with peanut butter to the base as a walkway to the door.
Flowering bush: Place small, green jelly fruit slices in a cluster and adorn them with cut-out pieces of red and purple jellies.
Palm tree: Stack about 10 round jellies on top of one another, securing them with a toothpick to hold the trunk of the tree together. Using toothpicks, attach green fruit slices to the top of the trunk to form leaves. Anchor the palm tree to the base in front of the house with additional toothpicks.
Once you've finished adding the decorations, return the house to the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours to chill and set.
Attach the Roof
Anchor the roof to the house by piping a line of peanut butter around the top edge of the house walls, and then carefully place the roof on top. Display your matzoh house in a cool, dry place, out of reach of small children and pets. Remember to store the house in the refrigerator when it's not on show for everyone to enjoy. Your ultimate matzoh home will keep for up to 5 days...if you don't start snacking on it first.
Photos: Kelly Senyei, styling by Kendra Vizcaino-Lico