Showing posts with label Passover. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Passover. Show all posts

Saturday, April 23, 2011

My Mom's Favorite Ooey Gooey Pecan Bars for Passover

I got to my parents' house Thursday night and the first thing my mom says to me (after the big bear hug, of course) is, "Marni, you have to try these pecan bars." She all but stuffed one into my mouth. It wasn't exactly hard to give in and try one, but it was noteworthy that she was so eager. I mean, I'd just stepped off a plane and all she could think about was feeding me this bar.

Her alacrity was justified. One bite, actually, one look at these bars, and I knew I'd be sleeping happy (and waking up and going to the gym - but it would be worth it).

Just when I thought there'd be no new baking revelations this Passover, my mom drops this on me. Kaboom! Kerpow! And now I am a changed woman. Forever. Can a Passover Pecan Bar do that to a person? Yes, and I can't wait for you to try this. In fact, I urge you to use your leftover Passover ingredients after Passover is over and make this to bring to a picnic, or a work party, or whatever. No one will know it has matzah meal in it, but if they ask what's in it, tell them the truth. It will shock them.

Unfortunately, because my mom had already made these by the time I arrived, I wasn't there to take step-by-step photos. So these few finished product photos will have to do. I think you'll survive!

Ooey Gooey Pecan Bars for Passover
Adapted from a recipe by Marcy Goldman in A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking

1/2 cup matzah meal
1 cup matzah cake meal
1/2 cup ground toasted pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine
1 egg yolk

Gooey Pecan Filling
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup Passover maple table syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Passover vanilla sugar (or Passover vanilla extract)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking pan. My mom used a 9x13-inch and highly recommends it! You can also use an 8x11 (smaller pan) and the bars will be taller, even gooier, and more like the pecan pie you're used to around Thanksgiving.

For the crust, in a food processor or large bowl, stir together the matzah meal, cake meal, pecans, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the butter and pulse in the food processor or use a pastry blender to cut the butter up into small morsels so that the crust mixture is crumbly. Add the egg yolk and stir to incorporate. Use your fingers to squish the mixture together and then press it into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. You'll know the crust is done when the edges are beginning to brown, but are not too dark. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

For the filling, in a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and whisk to incorporate. Pour this filling onto the cooled crust and return to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, then place in the fridge to chill further so that the filling sets. Cut into squares. A little goes a long way because these are so gooey and indulgent, so even bite-size pieces would work well.

Makes 3 to 4 dozen heavenly bars.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Caramel Matzah Crunch Ice Cream: A Passover Dream Come True

Oh yes I did. I just put two of my favorite things (and I know they are also favorites for many of you!) together and it's all kosher-for-Passover!

You can call me a hero. Start celebrating a Happy Go Marni Day in your city. Post cardboard cut outs of me on your lawn. Write me onto the next presidential ballot. I just made Passover dessert more than simply tolerable! Hip Hip Hooray!

Made-from-scratch vanilla bean ice cream gets a Passover-themed flavor enhancement with the addition of tiny pieces of caramel matzah crunch, that chocolate caramel-covered matzah candy that the world can't live without on Passover. A-mazing! Both of these things are things I've blogged about separately before. So all they needed was a little love and marriage.

I knew I wanted to make ice cream for Passover, but I thought it would be more special if it had a distinctly Passover feel to it. I can't toss in regular candy pieces because of the corn syrup or other no-no ingredients. But caramel matzah crunch is something I make annually regardless, and broken up into tiny pieces, they resemble toffee bits! Sort of like Skor or Heath Bar bits.

The result is an ice cream that feels special for the holiday, but if you don't finish the batch by the end of Passover, it's perfectly delicious to continue consuming post-Passover. And you can't say that's true for a lot of other leftover desserts you might have when Passover ends. I see you through the computer screen, nodding in agreement. Try this!

Caramel Matzah Crunch Ice Cream
This recipe is my (very) successful attempt to marry Caramel Matzah Crunch by Marcy Goldman and Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Ice Cream by David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

3 cups heavy cream, or 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk (honestly, 1% will work fine)
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract
Approximately 1 1/2 cups Caramel Matzah Crunch, broken up into little 1/2-inch pieces (see recipe below)

Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 cups cream (or the remaining 1 cup cream and the milk) and the Passover vanilla extract.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use. I recommend straining the mixture into a new bowl because there might be tiny pieces of bark from the vanilla pod that you don't want in the ice cream. Then churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

During the last 3-5 minutes of churning, when the mixture is pretty thick and almost of perfect consistency for soft serve ice cream, pour in the caramel matzah crunch bits and let the ice cream maker incorporate all the pieces. Transfer the ice cream to freezer containers and freeze for a few hours before serving to allow the ice cream to firm up a bit.

Caramel Matzah Crunch
4-6 unsalted matzahs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or unsalted Passover margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large (or two smaller) cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment — on top of the foil. This is very important since the mixture becomes sticky during baking.

Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly with the matzahs, cutting extra pieces, as required, to fit any spaces.

In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour over the matzah, covering completely.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lower the heat to 325°, and replace the pan).

Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chopped chocolate or chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzah. Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set. Break into squares or odd shapes.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Note: Additional photos can be found on my original posts for Caramel Matzah Crunch and Philadelphia Style Vanilla Ice Cream.

After the ice cream mixture has chilled in the fridge overnight, remove it from the fridge...

Strain the mixture into a new bowl to catch the vanilla pod and any tiny pieces of vanilla bark...

Pour into the ice cream maker...

When the ice cream is almost done, and thick but still moving easily in the machine, pour in the Caramel Matzah Crunch bits...

Churn with the candy bits for about 3 minutes, until fully incorporated...

Transfer to a freezer container and place in freezer to allow the ice cream to firm up...

Scoop and serve! You are in for a real Passover treat!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Passover Brownies That'll Fool Anyone: Mwahahahaha!

Abracadabra, hocus pocus, make me a Passover brownie that will fool anyone!

I chanted this spell as I put these Passover brownies in the oven, and apparently I'm quite a good witch. My magic worked! These brownies are, yes, technically kosher-for-Passover, but you would never ever know. I'd bet money on it in Vegas. Even the most discriminating palates and Michelin-rated chefs would have no idea. I am that confident I could fool anyone. There is 1/3 of a cup of matzah cake meal in place of 1/2 a cup of flour in an already certified, tested, heavenly brownie. And because they're so easy to make, it would be a shame, a tragedy, and at the very least, pretty lame, for you to make a Passover brownie mix instead. Please don't.

Bippity Boppity Boo!

Kosher-for-Passover Ice Bath Brownies
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Medrich in Cookies and Brownies
Makes 16 brownies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup matzah cake meal
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8x8 metal pan with foil and drape extra foil over the edges so you can lift the brownies out later for cutting on a cutting board.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth. Be very careful not to burn the mixture. If you think you're not the careful type, use a double boiler or heatproof bowl set on top of a pan of gently simmering water. It's a lot harder to burn chocolate and butter when using a double boiler.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring in each until it is well incorporated. Beat in the matzah cake meal until the mixture comes away from the sides and looks smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts, if using. Pour the brownie batter into the foil-lined pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. The surface of the brownies will look dry but a toothpick inserted in the center will still be quite gooey. That's a good thing!

While the brownies are baking, prepare the ice bath. Fill a roasting pan or large baking pan (a standard 9 x 13" pan works perfectly) with ice cubes and water about 3/4-inch deep.

When brownies are ready, take the pan out of the oven and immediately place in the ice bath. Careful not to splash water from the ice bath onto the brownies! Cool the brownies completely in the ice bath.

When cool, remove the pan from the ice bath and lift the foil edges up and out of the pan and place the foil on the cutting board. Cut the brownies into squares to serve.

Store in an airtight container. Because these are fudgy, they will taste delicious for at least 3 days, and if you're lucky, up to 5 days!

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan...

Remove from the heat and stir in sugar, salt, and vanilla until sugar is dissolved...

Add the two eggs, one at a time...

Add matzah cake meal...

Stir just until combined...

Stir in the nuts, if using...

Spread evenly into the prepared pan...

Bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F...

When done baking, immediately place in an ice bath to cool...

Cut into squares and enjoy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Passover Chocolate Spice Cake

The cakes I'm most familiar with for Passover are sponge cakes. This Chocolate Spice Cake is no exception. If you're ever reading through a cake recipe for Passover and wondering how it will turn out, or what kind of cake it is, check the ingredients list and see if you have to separate a bunch of eggs. Whisking the egg whites to stiff peaks is a sign the cake will be light and airy and spongy.

Be sure also to gently fold those perfectly whipped egg whites into your batter rather than stir them in. If you're going to go to the trouble of painstakingly separating 10 eggs and then stand over the mixer and watch them like a hawk as they whip up and fill with air without overbeating, you'll kick yourself if you then carelessly stir them into your batter, thereby deflating them. So the key is, gently fold! Ok, I promise I won't lecture for the remainder of this post.

I love the flavor of this cake, featuring cloves and cinnamon along with the chocolate. It really doesn't need the toasted almonds, and my sister would actually insist that you don't add them in (since she's adamantly opposed to nuts in baked goods), but I appreciated the element of surprise in getting an occasional crunch in my mouthfuls. You'll see I drizzled a little glossy chocolate glaze on top. It's not called for in the recipe, but I had some left over from making the Macaroon Fudge Bars and I thought it looked pretty.

Potato starch is not the easiest thing to work with when greasing and "flouring" a pan during Passover as it tends to clump and not shake off if you hit the bottom of the pan. That was a frustrating experience. But all the more reason I decided to add that chocolate glaze on top to hide some of the pockets created by excess potato starch. I used a pastry brush to flick away some of the extra but at a certain point you just have to say c'est la vie and move on. Your guests won't even notice. It's good practice in the kitchen to turn off your perfectionist tendencies now and then (oh, am I describing myself?). Good luck with that!

Passover Chocolate Spice Cake

Recipe by Marcy Goldman in A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking
Makes 10 servings

10 eggs, separated
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup Passover wine or warm coffee
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups matzoh cake meal
1/4 cup potato starch, plus extra for pan
1 1/4 cups finely chopped toasted almonds

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 10-inch tube or angel food pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease and dust the sides with potato starch.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1 1/4 cups of the sugar until very thick and pale yellow, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the wine or coffee, the cocoa powder, salt, cloves, and cinnamon. Stir in the matzoh cake meal, potato starch, and the chopped almonds.

In another large bowl, with clean, dry beaters, gently whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt to break them up. Increase the speed to high, and, gradually dusting in the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, beating until the whites are stiff and glossy but not dry. Briskly and thoroughly fold about one third of the beaten whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Then, in 2 separate batches, fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to deflate the egg whites but to blend the batter properly.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently touched. Cool by inverting onto a serving plate. Cake will unmold itself as it cools.

Step-by-Step in Pictures

Beat the egg yolks with sugar...

Stir in the wine or coffee, cocoa powder, cloves, cinnamon, and salt...

Stir in the matzoh cake meal and potato starch...

Add the toasted almonds...

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the remaining sugar until they form stiff peaks...

Fold about one third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten the batter...

In two stages, gently fold in the rest of the beaten egg whites to the batter...

Pour the batter into the prepared pan...

Bake for about 50 minutes at 325 degrees F...

I tested for doneness by inserting a sharp thin knife...

Let cool completely by inverting onto a cooling rack or serving tray...

Drizzle chocolate glaze if you want...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kosher for Passover Macaroon Fudge Bars

Here is a delicious, fun way to use up your leftover Passover macaroons. Every year I buy a container because it's tradition, but 8 days later, Passover is over and I usually have more than half the container left. No more waste! I love repurposing ingredients. Marcy Goldman came up with this genius recipe where you basically make a Kosher for Passover brownie and then fold in chopped macaroons. It tastes even more delicious if you use her glossy fudge frosting on top. These are dense, not light, so I'd recommend cutting the brownies into bite-size pieces. And if you really want to keep things interesting, try using other macaroon flavors than chocolate. Doesn't Manischewitz make a toffee flavored one? And a banana split flavored one! Mmmmm.

Extraordinary Macaroon Fudge Bars
Recipe by Marcy Goldman in A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking
Makes about 30 squares

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or unsalted Passover margarine
1 1/4 cups granulated or brown sugar
1 tablespoon Passover vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
3 eggs
3/4 cup matzoh cake meal
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lightly packed quartered or coarsely chopped Passover macaroons (any brand or flavor)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x10-inch or 7x11-inch brownie pan or (in a pinch) a 9x9-inch baking pan will do.

In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter or margarine over low heat. Cool to room temperature. Stir in the brown and vanilla sugars, eggs, cake meal, potato starch, and salt. Stir in the macaroon pieces.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top seems set and is beginning to take on a crackled appearance. Do not overbake. The brownies should be set and seem dry to the touch, but there should no be a dry crust around the sides.

Cool the brownies in the pan until serving time or, let them cool to room temperature if frosting. Cut into squares.

Glossy Fudge Frosting
2/3 cup water or brewed coffee
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or Passover margarine, softened

Heat the water or coffee in a small saucepan. As it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Remove the pan from the stove and stir until the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Whisk in the softened butter or margarine and spread the frosting on top of the cooled brownies. Decorate the top by running the tines of a fork through the frosting.

Step-by-Step in Pictures

Melt the chocolate and butter together, then cool to room temperature...

Stir in the sugar and vanilla...

Add the eggs...
Then add the matzoh cake meal, potato starch, and salt...

Add the coarsely-chopped macaroon pieces into the chocolate batter...

Spread into a prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees F...

Cool completely...

Prepare the Glossy Fudge Frosting and spread over the cooled brownie surface...

Let the frosting set, then slice and serve!

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