How is This Dessert Different From All Other Desserts?

kitchen_at_shomreiSoup, not a problem. Salad, not a problem. Entrée, not a problem. Dessert, now there’s a problem. At Passover time, cooks seem to stretch their creativity to the limits in order to create desserts that imitate what might be on the table at any other time of the year.

However, many of us have finally realized that food at Passover is not so different from what we eat the other 51 weeks of the year. But those desserts can be a challenge.

So here’s a Passover dessert that’s easy to make and sure to please chocolate lovers. These cookies have the taste of chocolate meringue cookies but are far simpler to make and are delicious anytime of the year.

Flourless chocolate cookiesFLOURLESS CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 to 4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 3500. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.
3. Beat in two egg whites and the vanilla extract until the batter is moistened. You’re looking for a brownie-like thick and fudgy batter. If the batter seems too thick, add another egg white-then a 4th one if the batter still seems too thick.
4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds per cookie sheet.
6. Bake about 14 minutes until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked.
7. Slide the cookie covered parchment paper onto wire cooking racks and cool completely.

Variation: For additional texture add about 2 cups chopped pecans, walnuts or even coconut.

I had originally intended to include only one Passover recipe, but I received a special request for Passover Matzah Crunch (sometimes called crack because it’s so addictive). The original recipe was made with saltines and adapted for matzah. The beauty of this recipe is that it has many variations and can be used to finish up those lingering boxes of matzah, free from the supermarket. After all, who can resist somethings that’s free-even matzah? However, Marcy Goldman, author of Jewish Holiday Baking, as well as many other well-respected cooks have made Matzah Crunch into a Passover must. There’s even a Weight Watchers version!

The following recipe can be adapted to different tastes and can be pareve, dairy, or nut-free.

Matzah crunchCHOCOLATE COVERED CARAMELIZED MATZAH CRUNCH
Makes approximately 30 pieces

Ingredients
4 to 6 sheets unsalted matzahs
1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, cut into chunks (or unsalted margarine)
1 cup (215g) firmly-packed light brown sugar
big pinch of sea salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 cup (160g) chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate)
1 cup (80g) toasted sliced almonds, walnuts or pecans (optional)

Instructions
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet (approximately 11 x 17″) completely with foil, making sure the foil goes up and over the edges. Cover the foil with a sheet of parchment paper.
2. Preheat the oven to 375F.
3. Line bottom of sheet with matzah, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill any spaces.
4. In a 3-4 quart heavy duty saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is beginning to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the salt and vanilla, and pour over matzah, spreading with a heatproof spatula.
5. Put the pan in the oven and reduce the heat to 350F. Bake for 15 minutes. As it bakes, it will bubble up but check every so often to make sure it’s not burning. If it is in spots, remove from oven and reduce the heat to 325F (160C), then replace the pan.
6. Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand 5 minutes. Then spread with an offset spatula.
7. If you wish, sprinkle with toasted almonds (or another favorite nut, toasted and coarsely-chopped), a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or roasted cocoa nibs.
8. Let cool completely, the break into pieces and store in an airtight container (or refrigerator or freezer) until ready to serve. It should keep well for about one week or chilled for longer.

Variation: Use white chocolate, dried sour cherries and cranberries. Add coconut instead of nuts. Add a dash of cayenne pepper for extra spark.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be aware that Passover margarine may separate when melted and mixed with the brown sugar. Don’t worry. The recipe will always taste good no matter what it looks like.

Looking for recipes for Passover or any other time? Check out the extensive cookbook section of the Lampert Library. We have it all from soup to nuts and every cuisine you can imagine. Bitayavon!

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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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