By avoiding all-purpose flour, home bakers can accommodate a number of dietary guidelines: gluten-free, grain-free, low-carb, keto — and kosher for Passover.
The Jewish holiday that begins April 5 at sundown restricts a number of foods, one of them being leavening agents that give rise to baked goods. In place of bread, observant Jews eat the crackerlike matzo, which is made from wheat flour (and no yeast). In baking, the only wheat flour permitted is the pulverized meal from those boards of matzo.
But matzo meal can lend a distinct flavor and texture to desserts. Some bakers avoid it, and grain-based flours, altogether. Hence the popularity of the ubiquitous coconut macaroon on Passover tables.
With gluten-free and grain-free baking growing in popularity, finding flourless dessert recipes that also fit the Passover mold has become easier than ever. By folding eggs, nuts, starch and sugar into magical combinations, all-purpose flour has no purpose in a variety of satisfying sweet treats. Here are three that do double duty as gluten-free and kosher-for-Passover desserts.
This classic Passover dessert is chewy and toasty all at once. A little chocolate gives it an added oomph.
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ cups shredded unsweetened coconut
- 3 ¼ cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 1/3 cups chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips, optional
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment.
In a medium bowl, mix together the sweetened condensed milk, egg whites, vanilla, salt and both coconuts until thoroughly incorporated.
Scoop the dough into 2-tablespoon mounds onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch of space between them. Leave the macaroons as rounds, or use your hands or the flat side of a bench knife or dough scraper to shape the balls into pyramids.
Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until they're a light golden brown on top.
Remove the macaroons from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking sheet.
To make the optional coating, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave in short, 10-second increments, stirring until smooth.
Dip the bottoms of the cooled macaroons into the chocolate, then transfer them to a cooling rack or back to the baking sheet. Let rest until the chocolate sets.
Makes 2 dozen.
Recipe from "The All-Purpose Baker's Companion," by King Arthur Baking Co. (Countryman Press)
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These easy and bright four-ingredient cookies make use of the egg yolks leftover from baking macaroons.
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 ¾ cups coarsely chopped walnuts
- Zest of ½ lemon
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until very thick and almost white. Mix the chopped walnuts and lemon zest into the yolk mixture. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter onto ungreased baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between them. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are dry and firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet.
Makes 20 cookies.
Recipe adapted from "The New York Times Passover Cookbook," edited by Linda Amster (Morrow)
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These ultrarich brownies benefit from a stint in the refrigerator for extra chewiness.
Fudgy Passover Brownies
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup potato starch
- ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup walnut halves, chopped, optional
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving 1 inch of overhang on two opposite sides.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, potato starch, instant coffee and salt. Add the walnuts (if using) and toss to coat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until fully combined. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and, using a rubber spatula, fold together until just combined.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Gently lift up the ends of the parchment and transfer the brownies to a cutting board and cut into 16 pieces.
Makes 16 brownies.
Recipe from "The Jewish Cookbook," by Leah Koenig (Phaidon)