Friday, April 27, 2012

Charoset Recipe

Even though Passover has come and gone, I have been thinking about my recipes that were successful and those that were not.  One of the recipes that I use every year is my charoset recipe.  Charoset is an apple-nut mixture that symbolizes the mortar that the Israelites used to attach the bricks together when they were slaves in Egypt.  Charoset is a very important dish during the Passover seder.  

There are many different variations for charoset.  Some recipes are made into a paste while some are made with pieces.  Some recipes contain dried fruit while others do not.  This recipe was given to my mother when I was in middle school, and I have not found one that I like as much.  Here is my recipe.    

Charoset Recipe

6 apples (~1.5 lbs)
6 oz mixed dried fruit, chopped
4 oz dried dates, chopped
4 oz walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 cup kosher wine

Dice the apples into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a big bowl.*  Add the dried mixed fruit, dried dates, and walnuts.  Then mix all of those ingredients together.  Add the allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the apple-nut mixture and mix together.  Lastly, add the kosher wine.  I used about 3/4 cup of wine, but I always eyeball it.  It is not necessary for this to be an exact measurement.  Then mix together one last time.  It is ready to be served.  

* Cook's Notes:  I have found that it is important to have a really big bowl when you are making this recipe.  There needs to be enough room to mix all of the ingredients together without spilling over the side.  I personally make a mess in the kitchen, so I prefer an over-sized bowl or stockpot.  

Also, I used my fruit and veggie chopper by Progressive to cut the apple for this recipe.  I love many kitchen gadgets, but I have been exceptionally happy with this tool.  It comes with three different blades, and I use all of them.  I have cut many different kinds of fruits and vegetables including:  pickling cucumbers, onion, peppers, and apples.  

I hope you enjoy making this for your next Passover seder.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gluten Free Coffee Cake Recipe for Passover


One of our favorite Passover breakfast treats is a Honey Pecan Swirled Coffee Cake.  It is so yummy, but it is not gluten free.  So, I decided to try to adapt this recipe to be gluten free.  Below is my adaptation of this recipe.  If you want to make the regular version, here it is.  I have made it many times, and it always comes out beautifully.  You can substitute any nuts for the pecans, and I used matzah cake meal instead of plain matzah meal.  The matzah grains are finer in the cake meal, so there is less of a grainy taste for the coffee cake.

Gluten Free Honey Walnut Swirled Coffee Cake

1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup honey
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
6 eggs, separated
1 cup almond flour
6 tablespoons potato starch

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a bundt pan with shortening or oil.  Place a small metal mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer until you are ready to beat the egg whites.  (I have found that this will shorten the amount of time it will take to beat the egg whites into soft peaks.

In a medium bowl, mix together 1/2 cup honey, walnuts, cranberries, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder.  (This does not seems like a large enough volume to put in a medium bowl but you need the space to mix these ingredients together.  It is very sticky, so it is nice to have a larger bowl to prevent overflow.)

In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup honey, egg yolks, almond flour, and potato starch.

Remove the small bowl and whisk from the freezer.  Place the egg white in the bowl and beat until they form soft peaks.  I like using my free-standing mixer, but a handheld mixer will work fine too.  When the egg whites have formed soft peaks, add the whites into the yolk mixture and mix together.  

Spread 1/3 of the batter on the bottom of the bundt pan and then spoon 1/2 of the walnut mixture on top.  Spread another 1/3 of the batter into the pan and top with walnut mixture.  Finish with the last of the batter.  Take a spoon handle, and gently swirl the filling around the batter.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a metal knitting needle comes out clean when inserted near the center.  

Let sit and cool until you can touch the bottom of the pan.  Remove from bundt pan.  Serve warm or room temperature.

I found that this version of the coffee cake stuck to the pan a little more.  I really greased my bundt pan, but it still had trouble coming out of the pan.  I think I might need a new bundt pan.  Even though this did not come out of the pan as I would have liked, the coffee cake was light and fluffy.  It was sweet but not overpowering.  It is something that you could eat during Passover or all year long.  I hope you enjoy making this in your kitchen.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Fudge Brownies Recipe for Passover

Passover is a special time where we are supposed to remember what it was like to be a slave in Egypt, and rejoice that were are free.  We are never supposed to forget, so something like this never happens again.  My husband and I feel that this is a very important lesson to teach our children.  So, we try to set this week apart from the rest of the year.  We remove all of the chametz, bread or other leavened foods, from our refrigerator and cupboards.  Since we do not feel the need to throw away perfectly good leavened food, we just put the chametz in our freezer or in the back of the closet.  It remains out of sight until the end of Passover.  We also try to do a whole house cleanse before Passover begins.  It helps remind us how Passover is different from all other nights.

Since there are many foods that we have to abstain from eating, I try to make some special foods that are only made for Passover.  One of those recipes is a special fudge brownie.  It is not gluten free, but it has become a tradition in my family since the kids have been born.  So, I made it for my husband and children.  I am going to make macaroons for me.  I personally feel that I am getting the better end of that deal!

Front Cover

This recipe is from "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking"  by Marcy Goldman (p.298).  I could not find my version of this book at Amazon, but here is a newer edition.

Decadent Fudge Brownies with Glossy Fudge Frosting

2 cups sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 tablespoon coffee
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup matzah cake meal

Glossy Fudge Frosting:
2/3 cup coffee
7 ounces chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 7x11 inch casserole dish.  

Melt the butter in the microwave in a small bowl.  In a medium sized bowl, mix the sugar and butter together.  Then add the eggs, coffee, cocoa, salt, and matzah cake meal.  Mix all of the ingredients together.

Scoop the batter into the prepared dish.  Then bake for 20-25 minutes.  (The brownies only took 20 minutes in my convection oven).  Do not overbake them.  The brownies should be set and seem dry to the touch, but there should not be crust around the edges.  Then let them cool.

For the frosting, heat the coffee in a small saucepan.  As it comes to a boil, add the chocolate chips and reduce the heat.  Remove the pan from the heat, and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Whisk in the softened butter and spread the frosting on top of the cooled brownies.  Cut into squares and serve.

These brownies are really rich, but my family loves them.  I hope you and your loved ones enjoy them as well.