Satisfy Your Passover Sweet Tooth


And now for something totally different — no really — for dessert for Pesach.

There will be no long article about how those cans of macaroons have a half-life comparable to one of the dinosaur ages or how if you beat enough egg whites meringues will magically appear and your cakes will never fall.

I’m giving you some knock-their-socks-off, these-can’t-be-Pesach recipes that will be guaranteed to have everyone asking for the recipes and wanting to make them year-round.

Fudge-Tastic Hazelnut Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

  • cups chopped hazelnuts (9 ounces), toasted
  • cup mini chocolate chips
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips. Add the vanilla and egg whites all at once and beat until the batter is just combined but not over mixed. Using a tablespoon, place 12 rounds onto each cookie sheet. (You can make them bigger and only spoon nine on each sheet, if desired.)

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes and turn the pan 180 degrees, front to back. Bake another eight to 10 minutes until the tops of the cookies are glossy, slightly crackly and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven immediately. Slide the parchment paper with the cookies still on it on to a cooling rack. Cool for 30 minutes before you remove them from the parchment paper. These can be made up to four days in advance.

Apricot Macaroon Bars

Makes 30 to 36 bars

Most apricot bars have a cookie crust, but these are a cross between a light coconut cake and macaroons. You can use raspberry or cherry jam if you prefer.

For crust:

  • ¾ cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • cups matzah cake meal
  • 1 cup coconut

For filling:

  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white wine
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • cup toasted coconut

For the crust: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan.

In a mixing bowl or food processor, combine the margarine and sugar and mix or process to combine. That should take about 30 seconds. Add the eggs and almond extract and mix to combine. Add the cake meal and coconut and mix to combine. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake it for 25 minutes.

While baking in a pan, combine the jam and the wine and heat until just simmering. Remove the crust from the oven and gently spread the apricot jam on top of the warm crust. Sprinkle the top with the toasted coconut. Bake for 10 minutes more, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in a pan on a rack. Cut into bars.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping

For the cake:

  • sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder

For meringue topping:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave until foamy. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. (If necessary, it’s fine to pop the bowl back into the microwave for 20 seconds.)

Add the sugar and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the eggs. Whisk in the cocoa powder in three separate additions, using a folding motion at first so it doesn’t fly out of the bowl. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is set.

While the cake bakes, make the meringue topping. Bring a half-inch of water to a boil in a small saucepan, then lower the heat so that the water just simmers.

Combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer (or any large heatproof bowl). Set the bowl over the pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk gently for about three minutes, until the egg whites are hot to the touch and the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the bowl from the pan and attach it to the stand mixer. (Alternatively, a hand mixer can be used.) Fit the mixer with the whisk attachment (or beaters if using a hand mixer) and whisk on medium speed (or high if using hand mixer) until the meringue is cooled, glossy and stiff, about five minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you lift the whisk out of the bowl and the meringue holds a firm peak that curls over. Set it aside until the cake is done.

When the cake comes out of the oven, give the meringue a quick whisk, then pile it onto the hot cake, leaving a 1-inch border around the perimeter (it will spread and you don’t want it to touch the sides of the pan). Use a small spoon to swirl it into dramatic peaks.

Place the cake back into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until the peaks are lightly browned.

Let the cake cool on a rack, then run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen any meringue that may have stuck to the sides. Carefully remove the sides of the springform pan. Transfer the cake to a platter and serve at room temperature.


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