Passover is coming up, and with it, Passover baking's tricks and treats. Many of the usual year-round baking staples are prohibited because they produce chametz (leavened or fermented wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt) or are kitniyot (legumes: avoided by Ashkenazi and some Sephardi, including beans, rice, peas and lentils and some seeds) -- or may contain one or the other of them.
Kosher-for-Passover foods used to be few and far between on grocery shelves, but these days you can get almost anything that's KP -- even noodles.
But some people prefer the nostalgia of the oldies but goodies, like sponge and apple cake.
If you can manage early to get your kitchen ready for Passover, you can make things a lot easier on yourself by baking and freezing these delicious delights in advance.
Pesach Chocolate Chip Cookies
This Pesach cookie recipe is very welcome because it only calls for two eggs -- unlike many KLP sweets -- and you don't have to separate them! But watch the ingredients carefully: potato starch is temperamental and can burn easily.
1 and 1/4 cups sugar
juice of 1 orange
5 oz. chocolate chips
2/3 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup oil
1 and 1/2 cups matzah meal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsps. vanilla sugar
Preheat oven to 350° (or see microwave instructions below). Cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Thoroughly combine all ingredients.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes until golden around edges. Remove to a rack to cool.
Freeze in a tightly covered (and hidden!) container.
To Microwave: Arrange 8 cookies in a circle on a microwave-safe dinner plate. Microwave on high for 21/2 minutes. Remove to a rack immediately: cookies will continue to bake. Continue with next batch.
2 cups sugar
1 and 1/3 cups oil
2 and 3/4 cups cake meal
3/4 cup potato starch
1/2 tsp. salt
2 semi-sweet chocolate bars (3 oz. each), broken into small pieces (or chocolate chips)
1 cup walnuts or almonds, coarsely chopped (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsps. sugar
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Beat sugar and oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Combine cake meal, potato starch and salt; stir into creamed mixture.
Mix in chocolate or chocolate chips and nuts.
Form into 2 long oval loaves and place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle the top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Slice immediately in 3/4-inch diagonal slices with a serrated knife and remove slices to a wire rack to cool. Pack and freeze.
Put them in the oven and forget about them until morning! Much tastier than store-bought meringues. Good all year, not just for Passover. Chocolate chips and coconut are all optional: use both or none!
2 egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup flaked coconut
Preheat oven to 350°. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Beat egg whites with salt until frothy. Add sugar gradually, and beat until very stiff. Fold in remaining ingredients. Drop by teaspoonfuls on prepared cookie sheets.
Place in oven and immediately turn off heat. Leave in oven overnight. Do not open oven until cookies are to be taken out.
Passover Apple Cake
4 large Golden Delicious or Gala apples
3/4 cup brown sugar (divided)
2 and 1/2 tsps. cinnamon (divided)
1 cup walnut oil
1 cup white sugar
11/2 cups matzah meal
1/2 cup potato starch
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 9x13-inch glass baking pan with parchment paper.
Peel, core and slice apples. Toss with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 11/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Set aside.
Combine eggs, oil and white sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer.
Stir in matzah meal, potato starch and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until they disappear.
Spread half of dough mixture into prepared pan. Cover with apple. Top with remaining dough. Sprinkle with remaining brown sugar.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until golden brown.
Rivka Tal is a former Minnesotan who has lived in Jerusalem for the past 45 years. She is a food writer and translator. Email her at: [email protected] .